Unrecognizable patient talks with doctor via video call

Zoom APAC Healthcare Summit: The Post-Event Summary for APAC

On 18 April 2023, Zoom held its annual Asia Pacific (APAC) healthcare summit, exploring the exciting scope and possibilities of the hyper digitalisation of healthcare in the region. Across the various sessions, flexibility emerged as key to the future of healthcare for both patients and healthcare providers. The event featured a keynote by Ricky Kapur, Zoom’s Head of Asia Pacific, as well as perspectives from the industry, including representatives from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), CareSpan Asia, and Caring For You, among others.

Key takeaways of the event include:

The state of digital healthcare in APAC

  • According to Sash Mukherjee, Vice President Industry Insights at digital research and advisory company Ecosystm, the healthcare industry in APAC has been disrupted by the pandemic.
  • The rapid adoption of technology in healthcare has led to changes in processes, the mindset of clinicians and administrative staff, as well as priorities that healthcare providers and hospitals now have.
    • Raising employee productivity, reducing costs and driving innovation are now focus areas for healthcare providers.
    • Where innovation used to be more reactive to solve immediate problems, healthcare organisations are looking to drive more systematic innovation that covers all aspects of their delivery model.
  • This is important for the future of healthcare as a lack of healthcare access and chronic disease management across the entire population remain a challenge for many APAC markets.
    • Governments are under pressure to achieve universal and equitable healthcare for all, regardless of social and financial status or location.
    • Meanwhile, patient expectations have evolved. Providers have to look at patients as ‘consumers of healthcare services’ who want to access healthcare in their own space, time and at their convenience.
  • As such, operational efficiency is necessary for healthcare providers with limited resources to deliver the best healthcare outcomes for their patients.
  • Collaborative care also becomes critical as healthcare providers across the care continuum must now work together across the entire patient journey – underpinned by technology.

Advancing innovation for the future of healthcare

  • When it comes to driving innovation in digital healthcare, Ricky Kapur, Head of Asia Pacific at Zoom, notes that the first priority for many healthcare organisations is to improve convenience and simplicity for patient experience.
    • A patient’s experience goes beyond telehealth and extends to the entire patient journey from triage to post-follow-up procedures.
    • Healthcare teams can leverage automated workflows and intelligent skills-based routing to match the patient with qualified staff quickly and efficiently to receive timely care.
      • Technology solutions like Zoom Virtual Agent, for example, could help collect patient data before being passed on to a live agent.
  • The second priority is mitigating the rising costs of healthcare.
    • Digitalisation can help to reduce unnecessary trips to emergency rooms, perform automated medication dispensing and appointment bookings, and even provide remote monitoring for patients with chronic diseases.
    • This translates to reduced costs passed on to the patient and a more efficient healthcare system to cope with burnout and staff shortages.
    • Virtual technologies can also help healthcare workers to connect and communicate with their colleagues and peers, attend medical training, and oversee surgery procedures, while overcoming geographical constraints.
  • The third priority is enabling accessibility for patient care.
    • This involves addressing the gaps in geographic and financial accessibility to healthcare, especially for low-income communities.
    • For example, CareSpan, a leading digital healthcare platform in the Philippines, leverages Zoom’s Video SDK with its Electronic Medical Records (EMR) platform to enable quality video consultations in both high and low speed internet environments – many of these rural areas.
  • Hybrid models of care that offer both online and offline options will become the core delivery model for healthcare organisations in the near future, said Kapur, as patients expect the flexibility to be able to consult in whichever modality they prefer.

Empowering the digital transformation of healthcare

  • The event also featured a panel discussion featuring Zoom customers  from Singapore General Hospital/ SingHealth Group Nursing (Singapore’s largest healthcare group which includes Singapore General Hospital), CareSpan Asia (healthcare technology company based in the Philippines), and Caring For You (Australia’s largest and leading service provider of nursing personnel). The panellists discussed the challenges and opportunities offered by technology for the industry, and how their organisations have sought to reimagine the way they work.
  • The panellists agreed that the healthcare industry could benefit from a hybrid work model that combines virtual and on-site care, such as telehealth appointments and flexible work arrangements for healthcare professionals.
    • Torben Wick, Business Analyst at Caring For You, said that the adoption of technologies like Zoom Phone, and most recently Zoom Contact Center was especially crucial in helping them communicate with customers and members across localities. He noted that leveraging Zoom had helped Caring For You to scale quickly, allowing the company to reach 33,000 calls a week.
    • Nonoy Colayco, Chairman of CareSpan Asia, highlighted that ending healthcare poverty begins with affordable healthcare technology. One of the biggest public health challenges facing the Philippines, he noted, is the accessibility of network connectivity across the market. Having a digital integrated care platform that is stable and works under low bandwidth environments is central to providing patients with both remote and in-person access to primary care at low cost.
  • In addition, the shift towards virtual care and technology in healthcare has led to a need for low-touch technology that is easy to use and improves workflow efficiency. This allows healthcare professionals to spend more time on high-touch patient care.
    • Ang Shin Yuh, Deputy Director of Nursing Research, Transformation and Informatics at Singapore General Hospital and SingHealth Group Nursing said that with Singapore being a small nation, its biggest challenge moving forward is an insufficiency of healthcare workers and resources. Patients and family members thus need to be empowered and take on a more active role in their own care and treatment. “It is then about how we can use technology to make it affordable, and more importantly available to a large majority, so that we can sustain the standard of healthcare for years to come,” added Ang.
  • While each market may face unique challenges in healthcare, technology and innovation will ultimately be key in addressing these challenges.