MoH to embrace AI and blockchain tech

By RAHIMI YUNUS

The Ministry of Health (MoH) plans to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology in the healthcare sector, particularly in procurement to improve efficiency.

Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (picture) said the ministry is in talks with world’s experts in AI and blockchain technology to explore ways in optimising the supply chain.

“A briefing will be held (on the technologies) in a few days involving top management in the ministry.

“This is in its initial stage and the matter will next be brought to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) for endorsement, which they have approved in principle,” Dr Dzulkefly said at the ministry’s Hari Raya celebration in Putrajaya yesterday.

Dr Zulkefly said the supply chain optimisation in procurement would involve all items including drugs and medicine, hospital supplies, equipment, consumables and disposables.

The new health minister said procurement inefficiency in the ministry is “chronic” and the application of the two technologies is expected to push efficiency level to 80%, leaving 20% to human errors.

Dr Dzulkefly said in his address to the ministry’s staff that the administration aspires to make the healthcare sector in the country more affordable, of good quality and safe.

The Malaysian Reserve recently reported the government is reviewing all existing medical supplies concession agreements to government hospitals, including the 10-year contract awarded to Pharmaniaga Bhd, which will end in November 2019.

The government under Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also formed a special task force to address the monopolies in all industries.

The committee comprises ministers from six ministries namely the MoH, Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Ministry of Transport, MoF, Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

Dr Dzulkefly recently terminated Zecon Bhd’s contract as the turnkey contractor for Petra Jaya Hospital in Sarawak due to “unacceptable” work delays.

Another 23 MoH’s contractors involved in various delayed projects are expected to receive the same fate.