How emerging tech is getting personal


If patients are encouraged to become more active participants in their own healthcare, they can make better decisions about their lifestyle and behaviours, which can lead to improved outcomes. Precision healthcare can also provide more information about the patient journey, ensuring that clinicians provide the right levels of care.

This and more were discussed during the “Getting Personal with Emerging Tech” keynote session at the HIMSS21 APAC Conference yesterday. The expert panel comprised A/Prof Siow Jin Keat, Senior Consultant, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore; Dr Sujoy Kar, Vice President and Chief Medical Information Officer, Apollo Hospitals, India; and A/Prof Ngiam Kee Yuan, Group Chief Technology Officer, National University Health System, Singapore.

According to A/Prof Ngiam, there are numerous ways to access to health information in Singapore: “If you consider national systems like the Health App where you can, of course, get access to your lab test results and share some of your appointment details. Within NUHS itself we have the One NUHS app, which allows you to undertake a number of health functions, as well as enhanced features like the chatbot, which allows you to address some of your health questions…and there are the web pages and ways to contact your doctor as well.”

“I am not here as a doctor; I am here to represent the patient’s perspective. I’m one of the people, a diabetic patient, who is empowered by an emerging technology tool,” said A/Prof Siow before making a presentation on the BSL Home Monitoring Implanted Glucose Sensor.

He said because he had a diabetes monitor himself and had read a lot about diabetes, he knew the technology worked, but patients still had to be convinced: “For the patient, the first thing is trust. They don’t trust a chat bot. I think they still want to see a doctor.”

Dr Kar explained that new technologies were looking to deliver hyper-personalised medicine and would use AI, armed with multiple sensors, to treat very, very unique or rare diseases. He hoped that conversational AI could be improved too: “We will be possibly able to get into a much more concrete way of leading to conversational AI, better chatbots, and then give better outputs to the patient… What would be very important in this is to actually use it with the human in the loop.”

“There’s a lot of hype about hyper-personalised information, but all this information needs to come together, you can’t just collect all these data and keep them in data silos that don’t talk to each other,” advised A/Prof Ngiam.

He said interfaces and backgrounds had to be considered when implementing personalised services and added that the way to achieve greater integration was to use automation and modular services.

The two-day HIMSS21 APAC Conference concludes today at 5pm SGT. All sessions can be accessed on-demand for 45 days following the event. Register here. If you have already registered, log in here.