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Healthcare gets a dose of IT

Inaugural event spurs rally for faster adoption of better clinical systems, as part of a regional effort to improve patient care.
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At the inaugural Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) AsiaPac 2007 conference this week, Singapore's Minister for Health Khaw Boon Wan urged healthcare institutions to pick up the pace and implement more information technologies that improve patient care. Khaw's vision for the island-state is "One Singaporean, One EMR", where patient medical records are consolidated in a centralized database to enable the information to be shared securely between doctors from both the public and private sectors in the country.
Photo credit: HIMSS
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Offering a sneak peek into the industry's future, Professor Tan Ser Kiat, group CEO of SingHealth and CEO of Singapore General Hospital, talked about "interactive intelligence", where IT investments go beyond information archival. He demonstrated an EMR application that is currently piloted at Singapore General Hospital, where doctors need only to click on an icon in the e-healthcare record to access internationally-recognized evidence-based medical databases such as OVID and Cochrane Collaboration. Doctors and nurses can gain more information on a particular illness and be guided to find the right treatment by gaining instant access to these reference sites while attending to a patient.
Photo credit: HIMSS
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Industry practitioners throw their weight behind the call for better clinical systems and healthcare administration applications, as part of a broader effort to improve patient healthcare across the Asia-Pacific region.
Left to right: Tong Ming Shen, director of InfoComm, Ministry of Health; Prof Tan Ser Kiat, Group CEO of Singapore Health Services and CEO of Singapore General Hospital; Khaw Boon Wan, Singapore's Minister for Health; H. Steve Lieber, HIMSS' president and CEO; Dr Kwak Yun Sik, organizing committee chairman of HIMSS AsiaPac 07; and R. Norris Orms, HIMSS' executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Photo credit: HIMSS
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Dr Rosnah Hadis, director of planning and development for Malaysia's Ministry of Health, shares her perspective on the country's journey to transform the healthcare industry using IT. Describing the ministry's vision for Malaysia as "simple", Hadis said the goal is "to make the population healthy through whatever means".
Photo credit: Isabelle Chan, ZDNet Asia
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Attendees explore the latest healthcare IT applications and emerging technologies in the exhibition hall. Among the exhibits were barcode and RFID label printers from Sato Asia-Pacific.
Photo credit: Isabelle Chan, ZDNet Asia
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CHIK Services, an independent, non-profit Australian research-based company, launched its Health-e-Director 2007 at HIMSS AsiaPac07. Dedicated to providing the industry with information on the latest healthcare IT applications, CHIK Services is looking to extend its coverage to Southeast Asia, said its director, John Glass (pictured).
Photo credit: Isabelle Chan, ZDNet Asia
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Attendees get event updates at Internet kiosks located at the atrium. Some 1,000 healthcare practitioners, technology experts and policy-makers in the Asia-Pacific are expected to attend HIMSS AsiaPac07, which is being held this week at the Raffles City Convention Centre in Singapore.
Photo credit: Isabelle Chan, ZDNet Asia
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An attendee tunes in for more presentations at one of the e-learning booths.
Photo credit: Isabelle Chan, ZDNet Asia
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Singapore Health Services (SingHealth) spreads the IT-word with a goodie bag given out to all conference attendees. SingHealth is one of Singapore's two healthcare clusters.
Photo credit: Damian Koh, CNET Asia

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