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How Digital Tech Enables Power to the Patient?

16 Jan 2020, by Informa Connect Insights

Dr. Google will see you now.” Does this sound too distant to be true? Sooner than you’d expect.

2019 saw a slew of up-and-coming health tech start-ups being acquired by Big Tech – Fitbit being acquired by Google, Amazon’s healthcare portfolio expansion with its acquisition of virtual pharmacy PillPack, and Microsoft recently outlining its healthcare plans in a recent keynote address among IT professionals.

Across the entire value chain from drug research, clinical trials, market access and clinical trials and down to drug dispense, technology is increasingly seeping into every one of these stages.

The increase in population and incomes signals an escalating need for expanded access of healthcare in rural/remote areas across the country, as well as for higher-quality treatments. Today’s consumers are also more educated and empowered to take charge of their own health. Coupled with the nature of the healthcare industry whereby inefficiencies can mean the difference between life or death, these factors have driven us to look to digital technology to transform the traditional, institutional care model.

Over the years, we’ve gathered huge amounts of data over the years and the advent of AI has helped us to process these unstructured data into key insights for medical decision-making. The machine becomes better at what it does as it’s being fed with more data- Recently, the DeepMind’s medical AI system reported higher accuracy (i.e. lower false positive and false negative rates) in identifying breast cancer from X-ray images, compared to real human radiologists.

With greater amount of data and now made more readily available through our mobile devices, this tilts the power balance between the healthcare provider and the patient. The ability for patients to access data empowers them to be much more self-sufficient to make decisions without clinical involvement. The democratization of this expertise and knowledge also provides them with more choices; thereby allowing access to a larger variety of treatments at a lower cost.

With Natural Language Processing (NLP) which helps to process unstructured data into normalized, structured data for analysis, this cuts down the time that doctors and researchers spend to extract and filter data and channels their attention towards the identification of new diseases. As more information is gathered on the context around an individual’s health, this creates an opportunity for personalized treatments; henceforth, paving a new era of patient-centric, value-added care models.

The downsides of technology application in healthcare surround the privacy concerns of consumers, and the cybersecurity of healthcare systems. The availability of big data facilitates price discrimination by payers and insurers through dynamic information about patient usage such as zip codes that could potentially deny access to care.

Achieving balance between human and robot remains a concern as any sector becomes digitally-transformed. Cooperate or substitute? The overdependence of technology may lead to the deskilling of human experts overtime. Therefore, it’s important to sort of think about the future and how some of our skills as human workers will evolve amidst these changes.


Thian Si Ying
Conference Producer, IBC Asia



Asia’s healthcare market is transforming at the highest rate, healthcare spending is projected to reach US$4.3 trillion and surpassing the U.S and Europe. Upbeat prospects for private and public healthcare facilities investment and expansion in the region, intensified demand for data, analytics, AI application and overall process digitalisation. Besides, economic growth, the demand for better healthcare and safety has been surging, and how are health insurers optimising the full market potential?

Demonstrating continued success year on year, Informa Connect’s 6th Asia Healthcare Week returns better and rejuvenated. This umbrella event spans three co-located conferences that will address a wide variety of aspects regarding the direction of healthcare and what it takes to revamp and prepare healthcare businesses for emerging priorities in the sector.



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