Singapore, September 7 2022: Global leader in health technology, Royal Philips has released the Asia Pacific (APAC) findings of its Future Health Index (FHI) 2022 report: 'Healthcare hits reset: Priorities shift as healthcare leaders navigate a changed world'.
Now in its seventh year, the Future Health Index 2022 report is based on proprietary research from almost 3,000 respondents conducted across 15 countries, including Singapore, Australia and Indonesia, and explores how healthcare leaders are harnessing the power of data and digital technology as they look to address their key challenges coming out of the pandemic.
This year's report reveals that as APAC nations emerge from the pandemic, healthcare leaders across the region are looking to data and predictive technologies as essential foundations of their future healthcare systems, yet it also points to significant challenges in realizing this ambition.
"Unlocking the untapped potential of data, AI and predictive analytics presents significant opportunities for healthcare leaders to improve the quality, cost and speed of care. After a tough two years, our 2022 report shows that APAC's healthcare leaders are ahead of the curve when it comes to championing these new technologies. However, significant challenges remain," said Caroline Clarke, CEO & EVP, Philips ASEAN Pacific. "Ultimately, the value of data and technology is only as strong as the human experience it supports, and it's vital that our approach to digital transformation is centred around people. To that end, overcoming data silos and supporting staff training and education are urgently needed to ensure that these ambitions, including improving staff retention can be fulfilled and the region's desired health outcomes are achieved."
APAC leading in championing data, AI & predictive analytics
APAC's healthcare leaders are global front runners when it comes to recognizing the benefits of data to their organizations, with 82% of leaders agreeing that the value of data to their facility is worth the time and resources invested – placing them on a par with the United States and significantly ahead of the global (65%) and European (60%) averages.Singapore's healthcare system is ahead of other global counterparts (65%) in its appreciation of the value of data (91%), with Indonesia (82%) and Australia (75%) also holding it in high regard. Confidence in data usage is also high in APAC, with the majority of healthcare leaders saying that they can extract actionable insights from the available data (85%), have access to the necessary technology (84%) to utilize data, and believe in the high level of data accuracy in their facilities (82%).
The APAC countries are also aligned in recognizing the importance of investing into AI and predictive analytics within the next 3 years. 55% of APAC healthcare leaders are already investing heavily in AI, while 82% predict it will become a top investment area within the next 3 years. When it comes to how they intend to use AI, clinical decision support ranks as the top investment priority in the next 3 years (35%). This includes uses related to diagnosis or treatment recommendations, early warning scores, automatic disease detection and clinical decision guidelines. Using AI to predict outcomes (34%) and to integrate diagnostics (33%) follow closely behind in terms of priority.
The Future Health Index also sees health systems in APAC utilizing predictive analytics in some capacity. More than a quarter (27%) of their hospitals or healthcare facilities have already adopted the technology, while nearly half (44%) are currently in the process of doing so, above the global average of 32%. As with AI adoption, when asked about the areas where their facilities could most benefit from predictive technologies, leaders are significantly more likely to indicate clinical uses (91%). The level of trust in using predictive analytics in clinical settings shown by healthcare leaders is also extremely high (87%), compared to the global average (71%), and the majority view predictive analytics as having a positive impact on patient experience (87%), health outcomes (84%), and staff experience (82%).
Data silos, staffing and other barriers
However, significant areas of improvement remain in realizing the ambition of using data, AI and predictive analytics as key enablers of future healthcare systems. In clinical settings specifically, 41% of APAC leaders are sharing data with third-party organizations, 40% are using data for predictive analytics, 30% are collecting and storing data, and 28% are using data to automate tasks.
Nearly three quarters (73%) of APAC's healthcare leaders cite data silos as hindering their ability to use data effectively, far above the global average of 51%. Other hurdles such as technical infrastructure limitations (23%), data privacy and security concerns (21%), data policy and regulations (21%), resistance among staff to using upgraded or more advanced technologies (20%), lack of clarity on legal liability (20%), and difficulties managing high volumes of data (20%) also rank highly.
Partnering with other ecosystem players could be one way to address some of these challenges. For example, APAC healthcare leaders believe that joining forces with health technology companies could provide their healthcare facilities with counsel on contingency planning (30%), guidance and/or services for data analysis and interpretation to ensure continuous improvement (28%), and to provide resources and/or services for continuous maintenance (27%).
Workforce resistance, skills and knowledge gaps also rank highly as another barrier to data utilization in APAC (35%). Nearly three quarters (74%) of the region's healthcare leaders say their staff are overwhelmed by the volume of data available today, significantly higher than the global average of 55%, whilst one in five (21%) feel that staff training and education would be one of the best ways to help their facility to do more with data.
While appreciation of the value of data and its benefit to clinical decision support may be high across APAC, the level of current knowledge and awareness of how to use data to inform decision-making is still lacking and widely disparate. On average, more than half of APAC's leaders (55%) say they do not know how to use data to inform decision making, far above the global average of 35%. In Indonesia, for example, only 7% of leaders say they have all the expertise needed to fully utilize data, while this number is higher in Singapore (50%) and Australia (20%). This suggests that the region can stand to benefit from more international knowledge-sharing in this respect.
Philips' report reveals a renewed focus on staff welfare as the region emerges from the pandemic. As staff shortages and burnout continue to plague the industry, almost one-third (30%) of healthcare leaders are placing employee satisfaction and retention at the top of their priority list, on par with the global average. This trend looks set to continue into the foreseeable future, with an average of 28% of the region's leaders convinced that staff satisfaction and retention will remain a top priority 3 years from now. This is in stark contrast to 2021's survey results, where most leaders predicted that staff satisfaction and retention would no longer need to be prioritized in the years to come.
A significant shift towards sustainability and prioritizing access to care
Healthcare leaders fast-tracking their sustainability plans is another trend observed in the 2022 FHI report. Back in 2021, just 3% of healthcare leaders in APAC identified implementing sustainability practices as a priority. This figure has jumped to 25% today, a more than 8-fold increase year-over-year. The same is being observed in ASEAN, with a more than 5-fold increase year-over-year from just 5% in 2021 to 25% today. Australia (31%) and Singapore (24%) are in line with the global average (24%) in making sustainability a current focus. In Indonesia, leaders are also placing more emphasis on sustainable practices in their hospitals, with 19% saying they plan to implement sustainable practices in their hospital 3 years from now.
Being a socially responsible healthcare provider is currently seen as a key priority by over one-quarter (26%) of healthcare leaders in APAC too, more than double the number seen in 2021 (10%). This trend is reflected in ASEAN as well, with healthcare leaders in Singapore (25%) and Indonesia (22%) seeing their social responsibility of expanding healthcare access as a key priority. Technology can play a supportive role in this space: 3 in 4 healthcare leaders (78%) in APAC, versus 68% globally, already agree that predictive analytics can help reduce health inequalities, by providing fast and accurate insights for proactive planning and management of community health issues like disease outbreaks, cancer incidences and more. A vast majority of them also see its positive impact in supporting value-based care (83%) for health systems in APAC, and in reducing the cost of care (82%), higher than the global averages of 67% and 69% respectively.
Extending care delivery beyond existing facilities also continues to be priority for close to a quarter (23%) of healthcare leaders in APAC today, and close to one-third (32%) of them 3 years from now. Worldwide, Australia ranks second only to the Netherlands (37%) in prioritizing the shift of care from hospitals and healthcare facilities to other locations (36%). Similar trends are seen in ASEAN in terms of healthcare leaders prioritizing access to care beyond existing facilities today (24%) and 3 years from now (31%).
Reflecting this shift, nearly half of the healthcare leaders in APAC (45%) and ASEAN (49%) are currently investing heavily in telehealth. Remote patient monitoring solutions are also regarded as another viable way to extend access to care beyond existing facilities, with healthcare leaders in APAC (19%) and ASEAN (21%) saying investing into them is currently a key priority, and 26% in both regions saying it will become even more important in the near future.