Information Technology in Health Care - What the Future Holds
Bulgiba, A.M., (2004) Information Technology in Health Care - What the Future Holds. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, 16 (1). pp. 64-71. ISSN 1-800-818-7243
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Official URL: http://aph.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/16/1/64
University of Malaya, Faculty of Medicine. Dept. of Social and Preventive Medicine
In 1998, Malaysia opened its first hospital based on the "paperless and filmless" concept. Two are now in operation, with more to follow. Telemedicine is now being used in some hospitals and is slated to be the technology to watch. Future use of technology in health care will centre on the use of centralised patient databases and more effective use of artificial intelligence. Stumbling blocks include the enormous capital costs involved and difficulty in getting sufficient bandwidth to support applications on a national scale. Problems with the use of information technology in developing countries still remain; mainly inadequate skilled resources to operate and maintain the technology, lack of home-grown technology, insufficient experience in the use of information technology in health care and the attitudes of some health staff. The challenge for those involved in this field will not be in building new "paperless and filmless" institutions but in transforming current "paper and film-based" institutions to "paperless and filmless" ones and changing the mindset of health staff. Universities and medical schools must be prepared to respond to this new wave by incorporating elements of medical/health informatics in their curriculum and assisting governments in the planning and implementation of these projects. The experience of the UMMC is highlighted as an example of the difficulty of transforming a paper-based hospital to a "paperless and filmless" hospital. A
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