IJN embarks on digitalisation push, EMR system slated for Q3 launch

  • Aims for ‘total information system’ transformation, improve processes
  • CareAide, a compliance platform to help improve medication non-adherence

IJN embarks on digitalisation push, EMR system slated for Q3 launch

[Ed: The headline has been changed. An earlier version gave the impression that IJN is collaborating with CaringUp Malaysia for its EMR solution, which is not true. The confusion is regretted.]

Institut Jantung Negara (IJN), considered the leading heart specialist centre in Southeast Asia, has embarked on an increased push for healthcare digitalisation.

Dr Aizai Azan Abdul Rahim, CEO of IJN said the centre has several digitalisation initiatives in the works, including the implementation of an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system.

“This is part of our efforts at a ‘total information system’ transformation, which basically entails utilising digital health solutions wherever possible to ease our processes as well as help our patients better manage their own health,” he said. The EMR system is slated for launch in Q3 2022

Aizai Azan revealed IJN’s digitalisation plans in a virtual forum on health technology, ‘Digital Health: How Tech Can Help Patients’ held today. The forum was jointly organised by IJN and health-tech social enterprise, CaringUp Malaysia and explored the various ways data-driven information systems can help benefit both healthcare professionals as well as patients.

The forum was moderated by BFM presenter Meera Sivasothy. The speakers included IJN Senior Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon Prof Dr Azhari Yakub; IJN’s Director of Clinical Research Dr Suhaini Kadiman; CaringUp Group CEO Pervaiz Gul and Microsoft Malaysia’s Chief Marketing and Operations Officer Azizah Ali.

Azhari shared his perspective on the current challenges faced by the medical sector, particular on the issue of medication non-adherence.  

Medication non-adherence, which refers to when a patient is not following their prescribed treatment plan, is seen as a serious global issue. According to World Health Organization (WHO), almost half of patients with chronic diseases do not take their medications or treatments as prescribed — a figure that is estimated to be higher among those in developing countries.

Azhari said that for patients with multiple health conditions in particular, complying with treatment plans was paramount to keeping their illnesses in check. “A 2021 study found that some 50% to 60% of patients with chronic illnesses had unused medication at home, with the leading cause being that they had not been taking their medicine as prescribed,” he added.

Pervaiz shared that mobile apps have the potential to drastically improve medication adherence. “In the United States, patients who previously only had a 30% to 40% of adherence to medication reached 80% through the ease of managing their treatment plans with the help of apps. We believe that we can similarly improve patient outcomes here in Malaysia, with added localisation features that are better suited to the local culture and norms.”

Building on this theme, Suhaini touched on the broader impact of medication non-adherence on the patient’s well-being, impact towards their treatment effectiveness, as well as to the economy and even the environment. 

“Unused medication is also a financial wastage for the public health expenditure. This is why IJN is keen on looking for solutions that will benefit the Malaysian healthcare sector as a whole, as well as improve the well-being of Malaysians with chronic illnesses,” he said.

One way IJN is doing this is through a new collaboration with CaringUp Malaysia to introduce a new mobile app called CareAide, a compliance platform to help improve medication non-adherence. As medication adherence involves behavioural change to address intentional and unintentional non-adherence, CareAide has been created with a feature to address such issues by allowing intervention by the family members.

Based on research conducted, CaringUp found that families play an important role in the healthcare of a patient. The platform also uses a mix of features designed to help patients comply with their prescribed treatment, including personalised calendar alerts, easy information sharing with caregivers and doctors, as well as scheduling functions. CareAide uses gamification and rewards for the caregivers and family members to drive a positive change in their life.

The unique feature of the mobile app, CareAide is that it will enable family members and caregiver to monitor the medication adherence of the patient remotely.

 CaringUp takes a system-wide approach towards solving the complexities of compliance in patients with chronic health conditions. This collaboration empowers IJN’s patients and their families to improve their quality of life by collaboratively regaining control of their health. In turn, IJN creates a care-loop with these patients to lower healthcare costs and ultimately deliver superior health outcomes

“Our experts will examine what the barriers to medication adherence are, and we hope to share these findings with our fellow healthcare professionals to benefit Malaysia’s health sector as a whole,” Aizai Azan. “Our goal is to develop personalised solutions that will help patients, as well as their family members and carers, to stick to their treatment.”

According to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s Internet Users Survey 2020, 11.3% of Malaysians were non-internet users. Among these, over 51% were aged 60 and above. “These are precisely the people we need to be aware of and cater to,” said Aizai Azan. “While more people have become used to using technology due to the pandemic, there are still those who are unable to fully participate in this technological age. By studying how we can address these issues, we can better include such groups in this new healthcare revolution.”

He stressed that all data gathered and stored by the app will adhere strictly with data privacy laws and ethics.

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