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Connecting the dots: unlocking insights from data in healthcare

Jul 14, 2022 - Reading time 4-6 minutes

Healthcare Redefined podcast series

Digitalisation of healthcare has led to a proliferation in the availability, collection, and storage of health data. Today, approximately 30% of the world’s data volume is being generated by the healthcare industry. By 2025, the amount of healthcare data is expected to grow by 36% per year (1).

In the third episode of Healthcare Redefined, Economist Impact’s Elizabeth Sukkar is joined by three experts across the Asia-Pacific region to examine issues and solutions related to the future of data integration, data ownership and data protection in the healthcare industry.


  •  Professor Tim Shaw, Professor of Digital Health and Director of the Research and Implementation Science and E-Health group at University of Sydney
  • Dr Boonchai Kijsanayotin, Chair of Asia E-Health Information Network
  • Dr. Samira Asma, Assistant Director-General for Data, Analytics and Development at the World Health Organisation

Data integration is a common challenge shared by health systems across the region. When asked about progress  to date on data integration for healthcare systems, healthcare professionals and patients themselves, Dr Samira Asma shares:

There has been an immense digital revolution that has taken place around us. What is missing is the ability for data integration at the right place at the right time for the right purposes. And also ensuring that there is data governance mechanisms that are built in for data sharing. So I think some countries are doing well. But there are immense opportunities for countries to learn quickly, so that the successful solutions can be scaled up rapidly.”

Dr. Samira Asma

Assistant Director-General for Data, Analytics and Development at the World Health Organisation

Integration of data and collaboration across settings is becoming increasingly important. By intelligently integrating data – from imaging to pathology and genomics data, as well as patient-reported outcomes – healthcare providers can build a more holistic understanding of a patient’s health and condition(s). This will enable more precise and personalized care, with treatment tailored to the needs and characteristics of the individual patient.

On the other hand, the Covid-19 pandemic exposed system vulnerabilities in the Asia Pacific region, leaving health systems susceptible to cyber breaches. The need to manage the risks of data collection has never been more crucial.

Governance involving data privacy and ownership remains a hugely contentious issue. With cyber-attacks on the rise, any progress towards digital transformation needs to be based on a robust foundation of trust, calling for responsible use of digital technology that safeguards data privacy and security.

In health, we have to change our thinking and accept that to have the benefits of true interoperability, it comes with risk. It is about managing risk and not pretending that the breach won’t happen. We have to have the best possible security to prevent that breach from happening.”

Professor Tim Shaw

Professor of Digital Health and Director of the Research and Implementation Science and E-Health group at University of Sydney

At the same time digital health technologies, without proper planning and safeguards, can contribute to and increase health inequities through a “digital divide”, instead of benefiting all patients equally. It is crucial that any risks are mitigated, and that users are committed to the ethical and responsible use of data.

Dr Boonchai recognises the “delicate” balance we face between protecting data while also sharing for the greater good. All three experts agree that to fully deliver on the promise of digital transformation, it should benefit every individual equally and equitably.

Healthcare Redefined is a new podcast series commissioned by Philips through the Economist Impact. The program explores the vital issues driving digital change and innovation in the healthcare sector in the Asia-Pacific region.

From leveraging digital health technologies and adopting new models of care, to addressing challenges related to workforce shortages and the impact of the climate crisis; the series will explore the opportunities driven by digital transformation to redefine the future of healthcare delivery in the Asia-Pacific region, while building sustainable and resilient health systems.

Subscribe to the series and learn from the diverse perspectives of regional healthcare leaders, policy makers, and tech players, as they share their insights on the decisive factors redefining the landscape.

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