By: 

Singapore not leveraging enough on AI to improve diagnostic efficiency: Philips FHI 2019

“AI can save time and improve diagnosis accuracy thereby having a huge potential for saving peoples’ lives,” said Caroline Clarke, CEO, Philips ASEAN Pacific.
11:17 PM

According to Philips’ Annual Future Health Index (FHI) 2019 report, Singapore’s healthcare professionals are not yet leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to its full potential for treatment and diagnosis. In the report, it is revealed that healthcare professionals in Singapore are using AI technology more for improving the accuracy and efficiency of administrative tasks such as staffing and patient scheduling (37%) than for diagnosis (28%), flagging patient anomalies (26%) and facilitating remote patient monitoring (25%).

The report states that emerging countries that are leading the way for AI use in diagnosis globally with nearly half (45%) of China’s healthcare professionals, and more than a third in Saudi Arabia (34%), using AI technology to improve the accuracy of their diagnoses. In Australia, healthcare professionals record the lowest use amongst the 15 countries in the study at just 8% in the FHI 2019 report.

Additionally, the report also hints that apprehension amongst Singapore’s healthcare professionals may be one of the barriers to wider adoption, with one in five (20%) admitting that they fear their long-term job security is threatened by new advancements in healthcare technology, such as AI and telehealth.

Researchers of the report identified three additional key themes in Singapore: 

Engaged and digitally enhanced healthcare professionals

AI aside, the report highlights that Singapore consistently outperforms its Asia Pacific neighbour Australia and holds its own amongst additional Asian countries that were part of the study in terms of digital technology usage, with 89% of Singapore’s healthcare professionals using digital health records in their hospital/practice, compared to 81% in Australia and China, and 76% in India. 

More than four in five Singaporean healthcare professionals (86%) also share patient information electronically with other healthcare professionals that are inside their health facility, compared to 84% in Australia, 81% in China and 80% in India.  

80% of Singaporean healthcare professionals that use digital health records report a positive impact on quality of care provided, whilst 69% report a positive impact on patient outcomes.

Empowered patients – access to data, more control

The study also indicates that giving patients access to their own health data has several benefits, with two in three Singaporean healthcare professionals (67%) affirming that patients having access to their own health data has positively impacted their experience in the last five years.

Despite this, only 28% of Singaporeans have access to their digital health record, whilst one in five (20%) do not know whether they do, or not. The study also highlights that reciprocal data sharing is not being done as much as it could be in Singapore either.

Learning from forerunners

The third theme of the FHI 2019 report finds that some emerging countries have leapfrogged Singapore in their adoption of certain types of digital health technology.
In addition to leading the way in AI, China and Saudi Arabia have higher rates of telehealth adoption by healthcare professionals at 89% and 75% respectively, compared to 68% in Singapore, 61% in Australia and 66% in India.

The report indicates that this could be due to higher patient demand in these countries, with 44% of individuals in China, and 38% of individuals in Saudi Arabia stating that, if given the choice, they would prefer a consultation with their doctor remotely via a digital channel for non-urgent care, compared to just 27% of Singaporeans.

Since 2016, Philips has conducted original research to help determine the readiness of countries to address global health challenges and build efficient and effective health systems. To read the full report, visit: www.philips.com/futurehealthindex-2019.