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Vol 20, No. 11, November 2016   |   Issue PDF view/purchase
Microsoft with RingMD, Oneview Healthcare, Vital Images, Aruba, and Clinic to Cloud: The Ecosystem of Healthcare Solutions Providers in Asia
APBN was recently invited to experience "the Future of the Patient Journey with Microsoft & various partners" in the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre on 28th September 2016.

The atmosphere was bustling with the latest technology and innovation at the Microsoft Asia Booth where we were given the exciting opportunity to a walkthrough on how Microsoft works with its partners to provide the best and most convenient health services. Below are the highlights of the Q&A session that transpired after the walkthrough of how these services may work in a given scenario. (Refer to the article "From Home to Hospital: Digitisation of Healthcare")

Microsoft Asia Pacific, represented by Callum Bir (Director for the Health and Social Services Industry)

“At Microsoft, as we plan to accelerate the digital transformation to happen in healthcare, we want to talk about 4 key pillars which are important for us. First: How do we engage the customers, how do we improve the customer experience, and their impulse on the patients. There are different ways that we do that (e.g. wearables), different engagements in healthcare - before hospital, in hospital and post-hospital - is extremely important for us.

Second, is to empower everybody in the care continuum. How do we empower all the healthcare workers? Empowering the system with AI bot; reducing the burden of the workforce and the capacity challenges in healthcare; to advance visualisation through 3D; to provide precision medicine to patients. Decision-making processes that take place, all the way to collaboration, to devices that we have in the platforms such as Skype.

Third, optimizing both the operational and administrative aspect. For example, how we optimize the operation before you enter the hospital? We have many examples through IoT, analytics, etc., to optimizing the operation, in order to provide high-end quality of care.

Lastly, how do we transform healthcare and the care continuum? Using IoT, wearables, telehealth, artificial intelligence bot, remote monitoring... Each of these different types of technology used to look at how we transform care."

“From Microsoft’s point of view, we are trying to provide affordable technology. How do we do that? Cloud is just one of the examples of that. Public cloud is what provides the economy a scale that allows technology to innovate extremely fast, how do we accelerate innovations, and how do we deploy innovations. Everyone wants to life longer, at the same time, they want to have high quality of life. Nobody wants to go to hospital unnecessarily. Hopefully, with the right management, we can reduce hospitalization.”

RingMD, represented by Justin Fulcher (Founder and CEO)

“We are home-grown Singaporean company, started about 4 years ago, with the mission to connect every platform of planet to coordinate affordable healthcare. We look at a market place, where patients can log on, select a doctor, and talk to them actually. We promote window video chat on mobile phone, tablet, etc. As we are headquartered in Singapore, we have a pretty solid proliferation around Asia. A lot of interesting things are happening, such as connecting patients and doctors online through video chat.”

“Chatbot, such as Cardea, was just launched by RingMD, using AI on Skype. It is an artificial intelligence board/platform where you can converse a virtual healthcare worker. On the backend, it is actually complicated algorithms, picking up keywords. Assumptions is based on database when somebody is asking about the conditions. Pretty intensive algorithms, and also characterise different descriptions as being severe, intermediate, and there is always a recommendation to speak to a doctor. It’s up to users to decide whether they want to speak to a doctor. You can get a lot more customised and tailored personal information. RingMD is one of those ways where we empower patients to seek care remotely through video chat.”

Oneview Healthcare, represented by Sean Osborne (Business Development, MENA & APAC)

“We have our offices in Dublin, Dubai, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Sydney and Melbourne. Irish (Ireland) is where our global headquarter is. Chicago is where our U.S. headquarter is. We are currently in the process of supporting an operation in Singapore, and expected to run in six months. If you look at our position worldwide, our focus is always targeting the top hospitals in the region.”

“Our company does interactive patient care and patient engagement, so it is more about engaging patients in the healthcare. Educating patient about care, and let them interact with doctors, and from home, before being admitted to the hospital, in the hospital and post-discharge. All this improves outcome and keeps patients coming back to the same hospital because they are engaged with it. This application is very attractive to elderly parents, especially for setting the alarm/using Whatsapp messaging to remind them to take medications."

Vital Images, represented by Dr Ravi Shrestha (General Manager, Asia Pacific)

“We are preliminary 3D, 4D visualisation place in the world. We work in diagnostic imaging across multiple layers, including primary care, secondary care and virtual care. The predominant system we have is the Vitrea system, which is used in over 5000 hospitals all around the world. Within Asia Pacific, the market that I control, over 1000 installed, and we are making a difference everyday to patients from all countries in Asia. The Parkway Hospital is one of our main site in Singapore where across the 4 institutions of Parkway Hospital, there is consolidated imaging that is done across every single department within Parkway.”

“We specialise in diagnostic imaging. We got about 5000 hospitals around the world. What our solutions allow you to do is the ultrasound/CT scan/MRI scan. This HoloLens is augmented reality, whereby you have multiple different screens/ different HoloLens that you can paste all around. There is a few seconds delay. My head is the ‘cursor’ and my hand is the ‘mouse’. In terms of surgeons, I can then plan various other things further. There will be a window that allows me to do plenty things on screen that I can share with the surgeons. I can interact with surgeons, and interacting with group of 200 persons as part of the patient course at the same moment. For example, looking into a case about stent, I am trying to identify which stent is best fix into the patient’s vessel. As I know the standard length of stent is 20.1 mm, so I can quantify the sizing, making the pre-surgical plan almost complete.”

Vital Images is also exploring the potential application of the Microsoft HoloLens* as an extension of its enterprise visualization solution providing clinicians an immersive view of a patient’s anatomy, while extending that visibility to remote team members, consulting physicians or healthcare informatics partners. (*https://www.vitalimages.com/resource-center/press-releases/2016/08/25/8-25-2016)

Clinic to Cloud, represented by Rafic Habib (CEO)

“Clinic to Cloud is a family care application that helps family care physicians to run their business/practices, making from scheduling, all the way to train their patients, managing and remotely monitoring their patients. These are two great technologies, built on Microsoft platform—the morbidity and the patient portal. Today, our service is mainly on patients in Australia, but we are expanding to Southeast Asia.”

“Clinic to Cloud is an electronic record system that is cloud-based. Grown very quickly in Australia, grown from zero to over millions of patients currently using the system and medical records. And we are one of the first that increase the mobility of clinicians, so that they are not sitting behind the desk anymore. We have different levels of patient care, chronic disease management through basic consults.”

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, represented by Alan Ni (Director of Vertical Marketing)

"We have various platforms (wireless and wired). One of the theme of this conference has been around negotiations of the mobile phone service platform. In the past, the wired or wireless, just the pure connectivity, but what you saw in the demo here, we are actually leveraging a lot of contexts: location context, IoT sensors, wearable devices, and all different kinds of devices that rely on mobility to Microsoft.”

“It’s about augmented patient services through wireless locations. E.g. A patient walks into the room, you can see who the doctor is. The Oneview system can pop out and say ‘Hey, it’s Doctor Lee.’ Or a picture matches the person who walks into the room will appear. Various technologies whether they are wearables, IoT sensors that doctors and patients are wearing. The network that we have is very contentionally sensitive. The other really dynamic piece of context that is really unique, the first healthcare vertical we are pushing to is this indoor navigation up to 1-meter accuracy. As a patient, when you go into hospital, you can turn and turn, navigate using a specific device. We are leveraging location context, the automatic check-ins and indoor wayfinding in various locations.”

The dynamics in which they now operate was not forged overnight. It had taken years of trial and error and reliance on past technologies and case studies to come up with these advanced solutions. With these powerhouse technological companies working together for the betterment of healthcare—and this ecosystem will become operational eventually—the future of patient journey is looking very bright indeed.

by Catherine Domingo Ong

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