Govt urged to tweak healthcare system

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by BERNAMA

THE government should reorganise and restructure Malaysia’s entire healthcare system especially in public hospitals to curb wastages while remaining efficient in giving the best service to the public.

Stem cell banking company CryoCord Sdn Bhd MD James Then said the government could look at ways to outsource certain competitive services, such as blood tests, to private sectors.

“By outsourcing more services within the Ministry of Health, I think the government can bring down and save their cost,” he said at the “Transforming Malaysia’s Healthcare through Innovation and Disruptive Technology” webinar organised by Cyberview Sdn Bhd yesterday.

Commenting on Budget 2021, which is scheduled to be presented on Nov 6, Then said the government should increase allocation for the healthcare sector by only 2% from RM30.6 billion under the previous budget.

He added that the increase would be insufficient for the sector, but by outsourcing, the government will be able to reduce expenditure and encourage the industry to become more efficient.

On the topic of smart healthcare development, dean of University of Cyberjaya’s Faculty of Business and Technology Prof Dr Mudiarasan Kuppusamy said greater information sharing will accelerate Malaysia’s smart healthcare usage.

“In essence, we are moving, however, we need to get our entire community to move together in this transformation process.

“Without having a proper understanding on what is the country’s trajectory of smart healthcare, it’s difficult to compare Malaysia with other countries,” he said.

However, he said there have been certain statistics in the past that showed Malaysians tend to adopt new technologies far better compared to other countries, when it comes to technology development.

“We generally have this notion of trying new things and are fast to embrace it but the lack of integration and collaboration between industries, citizens and government will make the smart healthcare transformation become more challenging and delayed,” he said.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that Malaysia needs to transform its healthcare immediately or perish, adding that the notion of things like the MySejahtera app plays a role.

“A lot of people do not understand the app and what happens to the data projected to it. To take our smart healthcare transformation further, we need to give a clear indication for all these tools that are being used to track people and ask what will happen next.

“The MySejahtera app, the way I see it, has a greater capacity to evolve further to become the next-level of government tool for better understanding of Malaysians health behaviour,” he added.

Meanwhile, VITA by Zing Healthcare founder and CEO Dr Ian Ng said consumers need to have information readily available with all the risk factors displayed and easy to understand.

“Right now, we have an issue where health is very hard to understand for a lot of people. There is also a big gap in the market in terms of not sharing information about our health as readily as we do for other kinds of information,” he said.

He said the industry seems unfavourable to sharing information in order to protect their customer base and avoid getting sued.

“These are just a few issues in the industry and we are just trying to tackle it one by one. We want the consumer to start realising that health data is valuable and later make it easy for them to understand the data,” Ng added.