EMR in the Twelfth Plan

As the healthcare industry transitions to digitisation, the Electronic Medical Records / Electronic Health Records (EMR / EHR) systems that store patients’ health information in a digital format are becoming increasingly popular.

Many governments encourage doctors to use EMR / EHR systems and invest in the training of healthcare information technology professionals. An April 2021 report by Grand View Research, Inc. reports that with Government initiatives to encourage healthcare Internet Technology (IT) usage, the global EHR market was valued at USD 26.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to witness a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7% from 2021. According to Bloomberg, the CAGR rate is expected to peak at 3.30% and be worth $ 33.69 billion globally by 2028.

For instance, the Government of Malaysia joins this increasing zeal to adopt digital platforms for the continued use of digital technologies in the healthcare field. Therefore, it aims to implement a uniform system for maintaining EMR / EHR by public hospitals and healthcare providers.

The Twelfth Malaysia Plan 2021-2025 (aka Twelfth Plan or 12MP or Malaysia 5 Year Plan), like all previous Malaysia 5 Year Plans starting from the first plan introduced in 1965, is Malaysia’s version of a comprehensive outline of government development policies and strategies. The Twelfth Plan period beginning the year 2021 up to 2025 was tabled in parliament on the 27th of September 2021 for implementation.

The sub-section Leveraging Technology and the sub-section Digitalising Healthcare Services under section Priority Area B, Strategy B3 as a part of the entire Twelfth Plan document gives special mention to EMR implementation. These sections highlight that the government will continue all efforts in the healthcare subsector to digitalise healthcare services to ensure seamless utilisation of information to solve the issue of fragmented health information systems, thereby reducing costs and unnecessary procedures.

One aspect of this digitalisation plan initiative is to leverage an emerging technology like the EMR. This initiative will be rolled out in phases to ensure the seamless flow of information among healthcare facilities and create a lifetime health record.

However, following an attempt to implement an EMR system nationwide for the 146 hospitals in Malaysia, the then Minister of Health first mooted, spoke to the media in November 2018. He said that an EMR system for all government hospitals and clinics in Malaysia could be realised within three years and completed over the next five years.

Mid-2020, the new administration in charge after a change of government, the new Minister of Health, revealed in a written reply to a Parliament session that 25% of all government hospitals and 9% of all 1090 public health clinics were already using an EMR system. Furthermore, his replies added that ten hospitals and a public health clinic were also sharing digital records through a health information exchange platform called MyHix. The Minister also gave details in his replies about an EMR pilot implementation in Negeri Sembilan. This pilot trialed an EMR system that covered online patient registration & appointment, electronic payments, and virtual consultation involved seven hospitals, 44 public health clinics, and 12 dental clinics under Phase One of the National EMR Project.

To quote Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States, when he said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” So let us hope this time around Malaysia will genuinely realise its dream of a successful EMR implementation by knowing what it wants and needs and knowing what to expect. If any, few people would contest the long-term benefits of a quality EMR system.

References:

  1. EMR implementation for public hospitals and clinics to cost RM1.5B, says Malaysian Health Minister, HIMSS, retrieved Oct 16, 2021. Available online: https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/asia/emr-implementation-public-hospitals-and-clinics-cost-rm15b-says-malaysian-health-minister
  2. Electronic medical record system to cost Putrajaya up to RM1.5b, The Edge Markets, retrieved Oct 16, 2021. Available online: https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/electronic-medical-record-system-cost-putrajaya-rm15b
  3. Electronic Health Record Market worth $ 33.69 Billion, Globally, by 2028 at 3.30% CAGR: Verified Market Research, Business, Bloomberg, retrieved Oct 16, 2021. Available online: https://www.bloomberg.com/press-releases/2021-07-15/electronic-health-record-market-worth-33-69-billion-globally-by-2028-at-3-30-cagr-verified-market-research
  4. Electronic Health Records Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Type (Post-acute, Acute), By End-use (Ambulatory Care, Hospitals), By Product (Web-, Client-server-based), By Business Models, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 – 2028, Report Overview, retrieved Oct 16, 2021. Available online: https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/electronic-health-records-ehr-market
  5. Twelfth Malaysia Plan 2021 – 2025, retrieved Oct 16, 2021. Available online: https://rmke12.epu.gov.my/en

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