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Innovation in Healthcare: A BT Health Perspective
BT Global Services markets itself as one of the world's leading communications services companies. At first glance, it would not be commonly associated with healthcare. However, the changing demands in the healthcare landscape has resulted in the need for a greater technological presence in the industry. An example of the cooperation between BT and healthcare is the "The Farrer Park Company", an integrated healthcare and hospitality complex, the first in Singapore. Rachel Lim talks to Mr Ian Dalton, President of BT Global Health at BT Global Services, to find out his thoughts on the changes in the healthcare landscape and the role that BT has had in it.

APBN: Can you tell us more about what BT Health does?

Ian Dalton: BT is one of the world's leading communications services companies, servicing the needs of customers in the UK and more than 170 countries worldwide. BT has been working with healthcare organisations for more than 65 years. During that time, we have provided some of the most advanced information and communications services, not just in the UK but increasingly, internationally as well. We help care organisations deliver better, safer and more efficient care for their patients through combining advanced networked IT services with innovation.

For BT, no project is too large or too complex. For the UK's National Health Service (NHS) we've created N3, the NHS broadband network, securely connecting every GP surgery, hospital and clinic in England and Scotland. We also transformed its way of working with the pioneering development of Spine, the world's largest healthcare platform, which empowers 900,000 NHS staff to deliver better standards of care.

We have established an international health hub in Asia Pacific which co-ordinates BT's health activities throughout the region. The hub includes experts in clinical design assurance, clinical safety management, technical architecture and major programme practice, providing a strong capability for local delivery. By the end of 2013, we expect to have 130 people working solely for our health organisation throughout the region.

In Australia, we're helping to create one of the world's most technologically advanced digital hospitals and developing state-of-the-art private healthcare facilities in Singapore. We're also helping to transform the way patient care is delivered in rural, hard-to-reach areas from the Far East to Cornwall in the UK.

APBN: In your opinion, what are the factors that have led to the need for innovation in healthcare?

Ian Dalton: Healthcare delivery is changing and advancing more rapidly than ever before. With the world's ageing population increasing at an unprecedented rate, the need for chronic disease management and aged care in developed nations is intensifying. According to Frost & Sullivan, healthcare expenditures across Asia-Pacific are expected to almost double over the next six years owing to the expanding elderly population (Frost & Sullivan, 2013).

Developing countries are also witnessing similar needs for change and are seeking more localised, higher quality and affordable health services. Healthcare needs are also becoming more complex due to longer life expectancies. The number of elderly patients requiring specialized care for more conditions, and for a longer period of time is increasing every day.

To support these growing demands within the complex health ecosystem, a new world of care will be required, enabled by ICT. ICT is becoming increasingly important to enable transformation, cost control and health organisational efficiencies. It can revolutionize the infrastructure required to support truly patient-centric care – from optimising critical frontline healthcare resources to prescription drug supply-chain management, enabling higher quality care and lower cost.

APBN: What is the biggest barrier to innovation in healthcare and in your opinion, how would one overcome it? What are some barriers to innovation that healthcare in Asia Pacific might be facing?

Ian Dalton: CIOs have to convince fellow senior executives and the CEO of the long-term benefits, including cost savings and improved efficiencies that result from implementing ICT within the hospital or healthcare facility. Engaging and getting support from senior leadership, including clinicians, can therefore be a barrier.

Also, people's expectations are soaring. We've seen it in the way we manage our money online, how we shop, share and connect with work, family and friends. At the heart of these changes, technology has been the enabler and the transformer.

Technology also never ceases to evolve. For example, providers are becoming increasingly aware of the long-term cost benefits of cloud solutions. They are looking for reliable technology partners who can address their concerns over data privacy and security and exploring innovative solutions that support patient-centric care through efficient capture and dissemination of medical and health information (Frost & Sullivan APAC, October 2013).

Despite these barriers, Asia still has many opportunities to develop the digital hospital space. A number of these revolve around the rise of medical tourism, which further cements the country's status as a medical hub in the region. We see great potential for healthcare organisations in Asia to be leading global healthcare organisations that are constantly at the forefront of innovation in the healthcare sector.

APBN: How will digital and innovative solutions affect the Singapore healthcare landscape?

Ian Dalton: Rapid technological advances and demographic changes in the health market are driving the need for hospitals to be built with tomorrow's healthcare needs in mind. The Singapore government is focusing its efforts on encouraging medical innovation and productivity initiatives. The digitisation of today's hospital, the eHospital, will play a pivotal role in enabling this successful revolution. BT has the proven ability to integrate state-of-the-art ICT technology and integrating intuitive solutions into the building design so it intelligently interacts with building management systems, facilities management and clinical information systems.

Hospitals are now transcending boundaries with the introduction of secure network platforms, wireless networks and patient-centric solutions including mobile devices that provide access to real-time patient information at the point of care. As ICT becomes integrated into the health ecosystem, patients today are starting to benefit from a higher quality healthcare experience. Telehealth and telecare, for example, empowers them to monitor and manage their health and wellbeing from home.

Besides patients, clinicians can also access real-time patient information supporting timelier services and providing more consultation services. Nurses can receive current medication regimes, meal preferences and whereabouts of their patients via integrated mobile solutions.

ICT can also help hospital operations staff coordinate the supply of equipment and maintain a steady flow of goods to pin point exact locations of high-value assets with insight into who is using them. ICT helping buildings work in harmony with the facilities infrastructure is key to supporting sustainable and efficient demands of healthcare organisations today.

APBN: BT is working with the Farrer Park Healthcare and Hospitality complex, in Singapore, what are some of the ICT services you have provided that will differentiate them from other hospitals?

Ian Dalton: The BT team is enabling The Farrer Park Company to create Singapore's first integrated healthcare and hospitality complex. This new-build facility design will include a specialty medical centre, a private tertiary hospital and a luxury hotel. BT will design, build and support the Applications Server Infrastructure, bringing together multiple business applications. The BT team is also providing systems integration services for this landmark project.

BT's eHospital solution is an integrated network that turns silos of data into productive information to connect patients, clinicians and administrators across the healthcare system. It delivers a range of technology and services that can easily integrate into a newly built or established hospital from the communications and infrastructure layer through to Business Management, Facility Services and Clinical Information Systems, to create foundation for collaboration across the whole health economy. The solution enables customers to create a healthcare environment where they can give patients a better experience, boost organisational efficiency and staff productivity all while keeping infrastructure costs low. BT also provides a mixture of wireless and hard wired medical grade networks, messaging and alerts, asset tracking (RFID), video over IP, secure mobile networking and remote working capabilities and intelligent building technologies.

We also see our digital hospital solution as a continually updated technology roadmap that reflects timely innovations in health ICT infrastructure and provides an upgrade and implementation path that ensures value for money. BT's key differentiator in the healthcare space is its ability to be an end-to-end solution provider in e-health.

APBN: Could you share with us some case studies of the other healthcare providers in Singapore that you are working with?

Ian Dalton:

  1. The Farrer Park Company
    The Farrer Park Company in Singapore a new integrated healthcare and hospitality complex. It's one of the first of its kind, combining a specialist medical centre, a private tertiary hospital and a luxury hotel. The BT team is there to provide programme management and systems integration from the ground up. What we're finding from this very early involvement in the project is that business processes are evolving over time to accommodate new challenges and demands for services and constant innovation. The agility to support this evolution is then reflected in the ICT design and implementation, enabling a constant cycle of change.

  2. NNJ Central Clinical Data Repository for NHGP, NHG, TTSH, JH, AH, NUH, IMH and NSC*
    Central Clinical Data Repository (CCDR) brings together patient information, previously housed in multiple disparate systems, to provide a single source of information for patients' medical records. CCDR connects public health hospitals and polyclinics across the west of Singapore to provide a consolidated 'Source of Truth' of patient information. It also acts as the primary integration service connecting the NNJ hospitals and polyclinics to Singapore's National Electronic Health Record (NEHR)
    With these foundation services now in place, CCDR is well positioned to support the NNJ hospitals and polyclinics in developing new services that will further promote patient engagement and self-management. In addition to extending CCDR's Health Analytics capabilities, BT Health is currently working widely across Singapore's public health organisations to industrialise Telehealth/Telecare services, based on a sustainable business model, similar to the pioneering work BT Health has done in Cornwall (England).

  3. SingHealth / Alexandra Health (AH) / KK Women's and Children's Hospital or Kandang Kerbau Hospital (KKH)*
    Providing Helpdesk & Desktop management (and) Service Management for Infrastructure & Application

  4. Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) & Alexandra Hospitals
    Design, development and management of KTPH and AH's award winning Emergency Department System

  5. Ministry of Health Holdings (MOH) Holdings
    First roll out of Clinic Management System for GPs in Singapore

    About the Interviewee

    Ian Daltonwas appointed president of BT Global Health at BT Global Services with effect from 1 May 2013. He is responsible for all aspects of BT's global healthcare business. This includes the strategic growth of its healthcare business in the UK and internationally, and developing its comprehensive portfolio of innovative healthcare solutions.

    Ian is one of the most senior healthcare leaders in England with 27 years' experience in the National Health Service (NHS) and social care. Before joining BT, he played a pivotal role in NHS England. As chief operating officer and deputy chief executive, Ian led the operations directorate, their largest division, where he was focused on the performance and delivery of the NHS in England and the direct commissioning of £25.4 billion of healthcare services

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Obesity / Outlook for 2018
Searching for the fountain of youth
Women in Science - Making a difference
Digestive health in the 21st century - Trust your guts
Asthma / Dental health
Oncology / Biotech landscape in APAC
Water management / Vaccination
Regenerative medicine / Biotech start ups
Digital healthcare / 3D printing
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