In the plenary address at the first day Inaugural Session, Karl Brown, Associate Director - Applied Technology, Rockefeller Foundation
, USA, speaked on "why eHealth is important in the twenty first century".
The emphasis should be on the whole system, not on how to tackle a particular disease.
He compared the current global health system to a water system in a city. The city is investing on a state of the art water purification system so that its citizens are provided with best quality water. The technology is great and the infrastrucure is laid upon. Then the city found out the citizens are not getting any water at all. The problem?...There is a fault in the taps installed at the households.
Simple story on the importance of clear planning right to the last mile, with nothing left behind.
He said, Malaysia is spending only 3% of the per capita health expenditure of USA, to a Malaysian citizen. But Malaysia is still having a lower child mortality rate. So it is not just about the amount of money a country could spend.
Karl shared one of his recent experiences. He had been traveling to Thailand and Switzerland. In Thai airways he was given a personalised selection of movies with a huge library of movies. He checked out of the Thai Hotel using the hotel website which was using the latest technology with eye catching user interfaces.
Then he went to Switzerland and in that flight he had only 2 movies to choose from. Back at the Swiss hotel he checked-out through hotel system, but he suspects the system had been developed on DOS !!
Does this means that Thailand is using better technolgy than Switzerland?. Well what happened actually is Thailand was in to mainstream usage of ICT only 10 years ago. Switzerland has done very costly technological experiments long before Thailand. Yet Thailand could learn from those expereinces and invested on the optimum technology.
Right now there exist a Hospital in Brazil, that has a fully updated database of its entire 14 million patients built on open source technolgy. That hospital is ready to share the system with other hospitals. So this will leapfrog the technological advancement in the e-Health.
" Do we talk about e-Finance, e-Banks today? It is less relevant because we cannot talk on finances with out talking on internet. But Health has a long way to go to blend in the real impact of ICT" was the concluding remarks of Karl Brown