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Analytics to enable healthcare’s higher purpose

When people think of healthcare, they mostly think of what is visible to them – the doctors, nurses, medicine, clinics, hospitals etc. But there is a whole lot more happening below the surface, which can determine a person’s and a population’s health.

This is where Sygeny comes in, with its digital health analytics and solutions that provides solutions for population healthcare data analytics and visualisation. Being able to visualise population health is only the start. It places power in the hands of relevant parties to allocate resources and mobilise them to where they are needed.

But that’s not all.

Sygeny’s managing partner, Anita Navaratnam firmly believes that healthcare should not only be treating diseases, but also promoting wellness. She also believes the whole community should be involved in promoting wellness.

Enterprise IT News has a chat with Anita, who is also a social entrepreneur.

EITN: Could you briefly explain what Sygeny does?

Anita: Healthcare data can only provide about 20-percent of insights on a person’s health and well-being while the 80-percent of the insights are dependent on socio-economic factors (40-percent) environmental factors (10-percent), health behaviours (30-percent).

And yet the healthcare systems concentrate on the 20-percent of the insights that is available to them.

In order to understand the overall picture/health of a person or population, we must look beyond health and clinical data. We need to be able to build better preventative models – get to the population before they get sick. This would save money in the long run as well as improve health outcomes

A screenshot of Halo, Sygeny’s solution that visualises the health of a population based on different indicators like health behaviour, demographics, and socioeconomic factors.

Sygeny provides healthcare planners with the ability to combine the different sources of data and information. We build the 80-percent of the insights (mentioned above) with different predictive models to enable better healthcare planning. With our predictive models, it would help healthcare planners to pinpoint the determinants of health that would then help build better preventative actions.

Healthcare data can only provide about 20-percent of insights on a person’s health and well-being while the 80-percent of the insights are dependent on socio-economic factors (40-percent) environmental factors (10-percent), health behaviours (30-percent).

EITN: What is the role of analytics and health economics? What are their impacts to the healthcare ecosystem and industry, and ultimately their impact on patients (if any).

Anita: We need to understand what are the social determinants of health as mentioned above.

Why are people getting sick in a particular area? How can we reduce hospitalization/visits to ER?

How can the healthcare system provide better care with lower costs? Analytics can play a significant role in providing the needed insights to the questions above. However, we still need human ingenuity and perseverance to convert the insights to actions.

Insights from the analytics can help healthcare workers with reducing their workload, providing better care and also reaching out to the most vulnerable population before they get sick. Apart from the healthcare system, analytics can also help drive businesses such as pharmacy’s, grocery shops, etc in providing better services for health and well-being.

Insights from the analytics can help healthcare workers with reducing their workload, providing better care and also reaching out to the most vulnerable population before they get sick.

EITN: Can you share about some Finnish health tech innovations that have caught your eye?

Anita: We worked very closely with the Malaysian Ambassador here in Helsinki to understand how Malaysia can leverage the healthcare innovation in Finland. We have met with MPC (Malaysia Productivity Corporation) and Ramsay Sime Darby to understand what their unmet needs are so that we can bring in the right innovation for them. We also brought in the UN Technology Innovation Labs (UNTIL) in the discussion with MPC. Unfortunately we met them right before the pandemic and didn’t get the opportunity to work on this further.

We have to understand that something that works in Finland does not necessarily work in Malaysia. In order to understand the problem of Malaysia’s healthcare, we need to dig deeper as to what problems they are trying to solve.

How much are the problems attributed to policy, mindsets, systemic issues, etc. What are the key outcomes that they are trying to measure? Once we know all of this, we can then map out how to solve the problem-whether it’s a change in policy, low tech or high tech solutions.

This is what we were trying to establish with MPC last year.

On a personal issue (as my parent live in Malaysia), one area that Malaysia needs to address is the growing elderly population. As elderly population attributes to the high cost of public healthcare, we need to be proactive in reaching out to them on a timely manner.

There should be a way to provide healthcare access with different means; it can be via tele-health, mobile healthcare stations or even utilising the local GPs/private hospitals in neighborhoods to provide basic needs like lab testing, renewing short-term prescription, etc on behalf of government hospitals.

The government should examine how to best utilise the local GPs and private hospitals to help with healthcare promotion and also with delivery of care in cases where they are not able to do so. We also need to invest more in geriatric medicine as it would be more efficient to holistically treat elderly patients under one care provider.

We need a better Electronic Health Records (EHR) system to collect healthcare data from both private and public entities. Currently each healthcare player has an independent system and a lot of key information is lost. In Finland, we have a really good electronic health record system where I as an individual can also access my health records and its visible to my healthcare providers.

The government should examine how to best utilise the local GPs and private hospitals to help with healthcare promotion and also with delivery of care in cases where they are not able to do so. We also need to invest more in geriatric medicine as it would be more efficient to holistically treat elderly patients under one care provider.

EITN: I think many in Malaysia would be interested to know about the healthcare/healthtech startup scene in Finland. What would you say is the health of the healthcare /heathtech startup scene over there?

Anita: The healthcare start-up scene is quite active in Finland. For starters, we have a very strong tech education and experience and  a very innovative life sciences research community here. In addition, there has also been governmental support in terms of funding and internationalisation of health tech.

Some of the stakeholders in healthcare like municipalities and hospitals are also keen on running test-beds of the innovation, which is great to test out the innovation in a live environment.

So in summary, there is a very robust ecosystem in place to grow the health-tech start-ups here in Finland. A lot of companies here are looking to expand their business aboard.

EITN: What do healthtech startup founders and healthtech investors need to think about to create impactful, inclusive and sustainable businesses?

Anita: Healthcare is a long-haul business meaning that those going into this business should not think of short-term gains/profits. In order to build a sustainable health-related business, we need to think of a longer-term societal impact. Both investors and founders need to have a higher purpose on the business they run or invest in.

Healthcare systems should also be more open in addressing unmet needs and not to be afraid of changes. Its not only the government’s responsibility but it takes the effort of a whole community from schools, employers, local businesses, transportation, grocery shops, restaurants, pharmacies, etc to keep its citizens healthy.

In order to build a sustainable health-related business, we need to think of a longer-term societal impact. Both investors and founders need to have a higher purpose on the business they run or invest in.