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Technology driving rise of medical tourism

Aug 26. 2016
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MEDICAL TOURISM is a fast-growing industry, with an increasing number of patients seeking affordable or specialised treatment outside their home countries. Asia is one of the leading regions in the world for medical tourism and has developed a niche for a

This region is also a popular wellness tourism destination for travellers seeking a holiday that combines yoga, meditation, spa treatments or other wellness-related pursuits. According to a study by the Global Wellness Summit, wellness tourism is projected to grow 9.1 per cent annually through 2017, nearly 50 per cent higher than overall tourism growth.

The medical-tourism market in Asia is anticipated to post a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 22 per cent during the 2014-18 period, according to a report by RNCOS. Healthcare providers in the region are actively moving towards digitisation of clinical data to ensure patient safety and care, and to streamline workflow systems for international patients.

Thailand has always been a popular holiday destination and tourism accounts for about 10 per cent of gross domestic product. Revenue from health and wellness tourism in Thailand is expected to reach US$3.11 billion (Bt107 billion) by 2017. The thriving medical-tourism sector means that visitors expect high-quality healthcare, and Thailand is rapidly adopting high-tech solutions in both medical equipment and information-technology systems.

Technology has proved to be a catalyst for the growth of medical tourism. For a patient considering overseas healthcare, there are three main considerations – first, quality of medical professionals; second, healthcare infrastructure; and third, the ability to access timely, accurate and relevant information.

Technology solutions facilitate the third factor – helping medical professionals and patients access relevant and timely information to ensure the best outcomes.

The volume of information handled by healthcare providers has grown enormously, and technology solutions become critical to ensure that information is accurate, organised and protected. At Hyland, we are at the forefront of technology solutions that help to improve patient care.

OnBase, our Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform, enables organisations to digitise their workplaces and fundamentally transform their operations. Software solutions such as Vendor Neutral Archives (VNA) and mobile technology are helping medical tourism reach its full potential.

ECM technology can now also manage clinical content like lab results, radiographs, wound-care photos, electrocardiograms and more. By integrating this content into the clinical content repository system, clinicians can quickly and easily access it without switching between applications.

The information is presented in context to help clinicians have not just the data, but the relevant data. ECM also helps a healthcare provider to easily transfer patient information to another medical professional anywhere in the world, ensuring continuity of care and avoid medical errors.

Eugene Chng is director of regional sales for Asia-Pacific at Hyland, |a US-based software company.

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