Innovation no longer a novelty, but necessity


THE embodiment of innovation through the advancement of technology has made a huge impact towards healthcare, especially in today’s disruptive markets.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (picture) said innovation is an integral part of medicine and has contributed towards increased hospital efficiency, improved quality and reduced costs.

“These are the big trends we see impacting healthcare providers in 2018,” he said when opening the 21st KPJ Healthcare Conference 2018 last week.

Dr Dzulkefly added that technology has changed lives and the way humans work, which have affected businesses and industries alike.

“In the next 10 years, technological developments such as robotics and automation will radically transform the job market and nature of work even more. New drugs, diagnostics and therapeutic services developed from medical research will lead to breakthrough in treatment for many diseases,” he said.

According to Dr Dzulkefly, healthcare remains among the highest growing global sectors with overall spending, growing 10% per year in Asia.

“Many countries in the region share the same objectives — to provide a high quality, safe and efficient care system that provides equitable access to the entire population, so that we can all have long, healthy and productive lives. This shared vision for healthcare is embedded into our minds and hearts, and are both unyielding and non-negotiable. Indeed, good health service is universally considered the right of everyone, no matter where we live,” he said.

Citing the GE Global Innovation Barometer 2018 Report — which noted that business executives around the globe see the private sector becoming a more important driver of innovation, especially in the Middle East and Asia — Dr Dzulkefly said there is a need to put special attention to this.

“In order to fully maximise the ROIs in this disruptive market, we cannot just measure the returns on ‘investment’ (ROIs), but also pay special attention to the concept of maximising the returns on ‘innovation’,” he said.

As such, Dr Dzulkefly said the Health Ministry will continue to encourage greater collaboration and interaction between the public and private sectors of healthcare in Malaysia.

“These smart public-private partnerships (PPPs) entail the sharing of resources and expertise, which would ultimately provide a win-win situation for both parties. PPPs are prompting healthcare leaders to think less about narrow vertical programmes and move to broader strategies of care delivery,” he said.

Dr Dzulkefly added that technological advancement and expertise should correlate with the improvement in quality of care delivery and the safety of patients.

“I would like to remind that innovation in healthcare delivery requires providers to place the patient at the centre of every process and every service. The patient is in the seat of power now, empowered by ‘patient autonomy’. This mindset must permeate to everyone up and down the delivery system,” he said.