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Healthcare Services, the Thriving Industry in Malaysia

>Services>Healthcare Services, the Thriving Industry in Malaysia

MIDA Insights – Services

Healthcare Services, the Thriving Industry in Malaysia

Demographic shifts and urban lifestyle changes demand innovative responses for new directions in the delivery of healthcare from the Government and healthcare providers. In supporting the growth of healthcare services, MIDA continues to position Malaysia as the healthcare hub in the region. Thus far, MIDA has facilitated a total of 77 private healthcare facilities since 2012. This amounted to investments of more than RM10 billion and have created over 15,000 job opportunities in the healthcare industry.

According to Rhenu Buller of Frost & Sullivan, total healthcare expenditure in Malaysia is expected to reach RM80 billion by the year 2020 with rapid development prevailing in pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical technology manufacturers, digital health vendors and healthcare service providers.

Increased consumer sophistication concerning healthcare-related technologies is helping the industry to grow significantly. This creates opportunities for new care models beyond traditional hospital setting whereby Malaysian consumers are becoming more aware of their priorities in healthcare. The awareness of consumer demand is seen to be one of the contributors to the technology innovations on the services front. The high requirements and expectations are driving data and information to be accessible from multiple health providers for better decision making on how consumers should be treated.

Private healthcare providers realise that innovation and healthcare technologies are crucial to enhance accessibility, affordability and quality healthcare to meet patient needs across different stages of healthcare services. KPJ Healthcare Bhd., the largest private healthcare services provider in Malaysia has embarked on the IBM Watson Technology for Oncology in five selected KPJ hospitals. This system combines leading oncologists and experts in cancer care with the speed of computer technology to help clinicians decide on individualised cancer treatments.

Healthcare technology has enabled practitioners to consult patients by using video-conferencing tools. Telemedicine is one of the areas that has rapidly emerged from the advantages of healthcare technology. Telemedicine or well known as “medicine at a distance” refers to the provision of healthcare and health-related services using telecommunications, information and multimedia technologies to link a spectrum of participants in the healthcare system.

Current use of telemedicine includes home cardiac monitoring system, home rehab, chronic illness monitor and hotel guest medical consultation. Telemedicine has also reached rural, airline, marine and offshore economic segments, where doctors and specialists access patients from two different geographical locations. In Malaysia, there are few telemedicine applications developed by young talents such as BookDoc and Doctor2U. With a simple registration process using smartphones, the user can choose and request for a doctor to come to their doorstep within 60 minutes. The application will also allow them to opt for a live consultation with doctor and ambulance services.

The benefit of early diagnosis is the reduction of medical complications. Diagnosing at an early stage enables early treatment and reduced the number of morbidity and mortality. This has also led to further innovation in telemedicine, incorporating technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and See What I see (SWIS) video conferencing applications via Tele Mentoring and Tele Robotics. These applications, being fully connected and automated, provide new healthcare experiences in every interaction. It is predicted that AI will transform Malaysia’s healthcare and increase the demands of skilled data professionals for specific medical courses to fit into the industry.

Facing these realities, regulatory bodies are looking to realign health schemes and regulations to address the safety challenges in this new age of healthcare. MIDA continues to have numerous engagements with the relevant Ministries and agencies to further develop and promote the industry. With emerging new areas on existing healthcare services, Malaysia should now embrace the opportunities and utilise its infrastructure capabilities, domestic consumption base, medical tourism weight and diverse population to create sustainable economic transformation for the healthcare industry.