Safe use of digital systems

Just because it’s digital doesn’t mean it’s automatically safe. How can healthcare providers test for safety and accuracy of digital systems?


(TR) Dr Kenneth Tsang, Chief Operating Officer, Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital

(TL) Dr Noel Yeo, Senior Vice President, Parkway Hospitals Singapore

(BR) Dr Kaushik Banerjea, Executive Director Medical Services, Portland District Health

(BL) Adjhaporn Khunlertkit Ph.D., Division Director, Health Information Management, Bumrungrad International Hospital (moderator)


Digital systems provided us with the opportunity to provide safe and accessible care for patients. We’ve seen the use of such systems in contact tracing efforts and online consultations, among others. But telehealth has been around since several years ago, the pandemic just accelerated its adoption, even for hospitals which have it lower on their pipelines. Hence, we see hospitals struggling to safely use their digital systems as they embarked on this journey quite fast and with little preparation.

As digital will play a vital part in shaping the future of healthcare, hospitals have to have sufficient understanding of what the most important considerations are to ensure the safety and accuracy of these digital systems. Primarily, hospitals have to choose systems that have passed certain benchmarks or have been approved by relevant authorities such as the FDA. They also have to consider which systems are complementary to their existing infrastructure, otherwise, it would create even more problems. Moreover, hospitals should select a system in consideration of the staff’s or the users’ capabilities and readiness; this is so the process of change management will be easier.

Key Takeaways

  1. We should not assume that telehealth is exactly the same as a physical patient consultation. We have to think of digital systems as supplementary to the way we provide care.
  2. It is crucial to consider the capability and readiness of the staff to use digital systems.
  3. We should not overlook data privacy in implementing digital systems.