by AUFA MARDHIAH
THE Health Ministry (MoH) has announced the five hospitals which will be used as Health Technology Hubs of the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) in Malaysia.
They are the Putrajaya Hospital; the National Cancer Institute; Tunku Azizah Hospital (Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Kuala Lumpur); Bera Hospital in Pahang; and the Rembau Hospital in Negri Sembilan.
These locations were chosen due to the readiness of technological infrastructure, skilled manpower, integration with current technologies such as Internet and 5G, hardware and understanding of the latest technology.
The hub is a joint initiative by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) and the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (Mranti) to address the critical challenges of the medical and healthcare sector in Malaysia through an innovative approach.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (second from right) said NTIS is a game-changer initiative to the development of local medical technology (medtech).
“The medtech and health sectors are the sectors that apply the most to join NTIS compared to other sectors as 40% of the proposals received to join the sandbox are from start-up companies that are involved in medtech.
“The idea of NTIS’ development was to create an environment where technology and solutions could be test-bedded, funded, gone through few iterations — in an environment where regulatory approvals were much less stringent for products to quickly get into the market and to be funded at the initial stage,” he said during the launch of NTIS Health Technology Hub on Friday.
He added that one of the big frustrations for technology provider start-ups in Malaysia is the inability to test their products and solutions due to regulatory barriers.
On the aim of government health facilities to go paperless, he said MoH had recently issued a tender for full electronic medical records for all its hospitals and clinics.
“We will be choosing the vendors soon based on open tender and they will upgrade and deploy their new electronic medical record in all public hospitals in Negri Sembilan, as well as health and dental clinics there.
“Once deployment is successful, we will be able to go nationwide,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mosti Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba (second from left) said the NTIS Health Technology Hub will provide support for the development of human capital in the advancement of new technologies to address existing and future healthcare needs.
“Mosti is committed to developing several innovative technologies to further strengthen the healthcare system including introducing the use of robotics such as automated guided vehicles and drones equipped with artificial intelligence (AI).
“The ministry will also introduce the use of the unmanned aerial surveillance system to monitor Aedes breeding areas, as well as accelerating the creation, adoption and commercialisation of local technologies and innovations in the health sector without affecting the duration of existing clinical trials,” he said.
The total gross floor area of the NTIS Health Technology Hub is 873,000 sq ft, supported by 5G facilities, a hyperscale data centre, a learnscape park and a low-density development environment.
In addition, four main components of the Mranti Health Technology Cluster are based on the 4Rs (Research, Remedy, Recuperate and Rehabilitate) and consist of a Research and Development Centre/Living Lab, an AI-tech hospital and a recovery and rehabilitation village.