Where are Indonesian hospitals at in terms of digitalisation?

Three Indonesian hospitals share their digitalisation journey so far, and their digital plans for the future

Digitalisation at Asian hospitals continues to gain steam, with a 2021 survey reporting that 65% of hospitals in APAC plans to increase spending in this area. This includes digital solutions that aid diagnosis and treatment, and also those that help to improve hospital operational efficiency.

As the fourth most populous nation in the world, Indonesia faces unique challenges in providing quality care across its sprawling archipelago. Technology holds much potential in overcoming physical restrictions, allowing physicians concentrated in its urban areas to reach patients in remote areas. Solutions such as EMR and HIS have proved to optimise hospital processes, providing better patient experience and increased staff productivity.

Hospital Management Asia speaks to three Indonesian hospitals located in different parts of the country, to find out where they are at in terms of digitalisation, the challenges or barriers they face in doing so, and their goals and plans moving forward.

The digitalisation journey so far

For Hasanuddin University Hospital in South Sulawesi, an in-house IT programming team is tasked to set up software systems for the hospital. These range from systems to monitor and evaluate hospital performance, to HR training portals that track staff training and development.  

However, the challenge lies in integrating all of these together, says Dr.dr. Andi Indahwaty, its Director of Financial, Resources and Administration.

“For example, we have an online patient registration portal, but it is not linked to the main billing system,” she says, noting the complications in combining and moving data between different systems.

Over at RSIA SamMarie Basra, a Jakarta hospital with specialties in paediatrics and obstetrics/gynaecology, an EMR and HIS system has been implemented that keeps most of its records and processes digital.

The main obstacle is in changing staff culture and behaviour to adapt to the digital processes.

“For staff and clinicians who are used to paper and manual processes, it can be a challenge to convince them to go digital. The system could be there and they still choose to write on paper,” says the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Teuku Nebrisa Zagladin Jacoeb.

Mr Ardantya Syahreza, Deputy Director of Persada Hospital, concurs that people is a key factor in any digitalisation project. The private hospital located in Malang, East Java, is just about to launch its EMR system in the coming months, which will complement its existing HIS and PACS systems.

“At Persada, we have some 600 employees… how the digitalisation adoption process goes will depend on how well we engage and educate them,” he explains.

Digital is the way to go

Despite the challenges faced, all three hospitals interviewed are clear that digitalisation is the way ahead.

For RSIA SamMarie Basra, technology is the way to differentiate itself in the market.

“Our hospital targets the high-income market segment. However, as a small facility, we do not differentiate ourselves by scale – we differentiate by providing high quality, personalised services, and by adopting new technology solutions,” explains Mr Jacoeb.

Meanwhile, at Hasanuddin University Hospital, technology will play an important role in optimising resources as it undergoes capacity expansion. Dr.dr. Indahwaty shares that a new building is being added, which will add 400 beds to its current 200 beds. Software systems such as one that tracks assets and equipment across the expanded facility would greatly help improve efficiency.

Last but not least, with its upcoming EMR implementation, Persada Hospital will be looking to move away from paper and eventually digitise all its future medical records. It has also set its sights on up-and-coming technologies.

“We are already using big data analytics, for example in looking at hospital quality indicators such as patient waiting times. In the long term, Internet of Things (IoT) would be one area of interest. This would enable remote monitoring of patients,” Mr Syahreza reveals.

The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, in collaboration with Hospital Management Asia (HMA) and Indonesia Hospital Association (Perhimpunan Rumah Sakit Seluruh Indonesia/PERSI), will be holding a conference entitled “Digitise Healthcare Indonesia 2022”. This will showcase digitalisation best practices from local and overseas hospitals. To find out more and register, click here.