CREST digital healthcare cluster kicks off with 3 initiatives

  • Collaborative public-private partnership with Cyberview, Digi, MOH & MCMC
  • Health Minister: Healthcare industry is on the brink of massive change

( L to R): Azman Mahmud, CEO of Malaysian Investment Development Authority, Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman, MOH Advisory Council, Albern Murty, CEO of Digi, Al-Ishsal Ishak, chairman of MCMC, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, DG of Health, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Minister of Health, Dr Chen Chaw Min, Secretary General MOH, Dr Ogan Gurel, CREST Healthcare Advisory Panel, Jaffri Ibrahim, CEO of CREST and Najib Ibrahim, MD of Cyberview.

Collaborative Research in Engineering, Science & Technology (CREST) yesterday, officially announced three key Digital Healthcare Cluster initiatives, the triple helix, signifying a milestone in digital healthcare in Malaysia.

The first initiative leverages on 5G technology. Through 5G Digital Healthcare, CREST will be working with the Ministry of Health, Digi Telecommunications and Cyberview Sdn Bhd, supported by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in implementing relevant use cases in Digital Healthcare.

5G use cases such as remote health monitoring and Emergency Medical Services will cater to tele-consultation, assessment, diagnosis and intervention based on real-time data. 5G will also drive the personalization of healthcare, empowering patients with the ability to manage their health and medical conditions better.

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Minister of Health said: “Lowering healthcare cost and providing effective care for the masses are key concerns in the healthcare system. With the introduction of 5G, it is expected to bring new efficiencies, particularly in creating self-management capabilities and facilitating access to healthcare to minimize costs.”

Dzulkefly pointed out that sensor-based applications will fuel the growth of Massive-Machine Type Communication (MMTC) which in turn will spur the need for Ultra Reliability and Low Latency Communications (URLLC) in combination with high availability, reliability and security for Tactile Internet and Emergency Medical Services. “The healthcare industry is on the brink of massive change,” he predicts.

The second initiative is on National Cardiovascular Data Analytics. It is estimated that 73% of total deaths in Malaysia are contributed by cardiovascular disease with 35% of deaths occuring in individuals aged less than 60 years old.

For this project, Stethee, an Artificial Intelligence-enabled stethoscope will be used to capture Malaysian heart sounds at 50 Ministry of Health Primary Health Clinics nationwide.

With the establishment of Research & Development & Commercialisation (R&D&C) database for industry and academia, Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms will be developed from normal and abnormal heart sounds for prediction, detection and monitoring of heart diseases.

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is the most common cause of visual loss among adults of working age with Diabetes Mellitus (DM) being the most feared microvascular complication that sets in. Retinal screening is the important tool to detect early changes of DR as almost all patients with type 1 DM and more than 60% patients with type 2 DM have some degree of retinopathy after 20 years of the disease.

For the third initiative, CREST is working with the Ministry of Health and expertise from Microsoft Malaysia to develop an AI system for Malaysia Retinal Reading Centre (MyRRC) to diagnose DR. MyRRC will become the centre to read / grade eye retinal images from public and private healthcare providers.

Malaysian Minister of Health Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad listening to a Connected Ambulance briefing.

Speaking at the event, Jaffri Ibrahim, CREST chief executive officer said, “CREST continues to work with the public and private sectors to undertake research pertinent to healthcare solutions. The Federal Government principally the MOH has been an active partner to CREST in spearheading affordable and accessible healthcare innovation for the rakyat. CREST is also excited to partner with Digi and Cyberview for the 5G OpenLab at RekaScape, a 5Gpowered collaborative space in Cyberjaya where businesses, academics and developers can go to test new 5G Digital Healthcare use cases.”

Albern Murty, Digi’s chief executive officer said that the 5G OpenLab builds on the spirit of collaboration to develop 5G for Malaysia. “5G will unlock many new capabilities and opportunities for innovation. With the Lab, we want to put 5G in the hands of as many local innovators to drive the development of a wide range of use cases including digital healthcare solutions. In this partnership with CREST and Cyberview, we look forward to explore 5G’s potential in remote health monitoring, emergency medical services and connected ambulances, to name a few.”

Najib Ibrahim the managing director of Cyberview says that smart healthcare is a vertical that the Tech Hub Enabler is looking at as one of the future key offerings of the smart city. “The testing of digital healthcare use cases by CREST, at the 5G OpenLab therefore, is the right move towards unlocking the fullest potential that technology plays in creating purposeful innovation, particularly in a complex area such as healthcare.”

The three key Digital Healthcare Cluster initiatives will be guided by the CREST Healthcare Advisory Panel members namely Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, Director General of Health Malaysia and Dr Ogan Gurel, an invited Professor at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology, South Korea. Both members will lend their expertise by advising and reviewing the projects to ensure excellence in R&D&C, as well as international best practices. The panel members will also act as advocates for the cluster initiatives and identify opportunities for more effective research and innovation linkages.

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