Managing a team that spans Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, Mr Hong Nguyen, Regional Manager at Wolters Kluwer Health, noted that clinicians in the region are overstretched, limiting their ability to keep up with the latest evidence. “The amount of medical information in 2021 is estimated to double every 73 days,” said Mr Nguyen. “Adding to this, the increase in patients with chronic diseases and multiple co-morbidities puts a massive burden on doctors. Layer on top of this the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have one of the most challenging healthcare issues we have ever faced in this region.”
“The biggest issue affecting clinical effectiveness in the Asia Pacific region is the lack of access to evidence-based information,” he said.
Imperfect knowledge of evidence based information is one of the factors leading to medication errors. Mr Nguyen raised the example of treatment methods for atrial fibrillation (AT), where patients suffer from abnormal heart rhythm which increases the risk of stroke. While evidence from prior studies have shown that treating patients with a blood thinner reduces the risk of stroke, subsequent studies found that over 30% of AT patients did not receive blood thinners. This could be because clinicians don’t know to prescribe blood thinners; or clinicians know, but don’t know which is the best one to use; or there was inadequate administering or monitoring after prescription.
“So you can see there are many processes associated with treating patients. Things can go wrong anywhere in the clinical setting, and that’s the problem we are trying to improve,” Mr Nguyen explained.
Making a real difference with digital
In his role, Mr Nguyen hopes to make a real difference to the healthcare of each nation that they operate in, and ultimately produce better patient outcomes in these countries.
He was candid about how ambitious this goal appears to be. “I know this is a pretty bold goal and delivering this in the middle of a pandemic is even more difficult, but we are in a unique time where clinicians are run off their feet and need us the most.”
Mr Nguyen has witnessed how digital solutions have managed to solve real world health challenges. With a clinical background – he started out as a radiographer – and a keen interest in IT, which led to a stint at IBM in technical and software development, Mr Nguyen had leveraged on his blend of healthcare and IT experience to deliver large digital health transformation projects. In Wolters Kluwer, he has seen how the organisation’s digital solutions have led to real tangible benefits, in the way doctors practice medicine and better patient outcomes.
One example is Lexicomp, which is a referential drug solution. This digital solution is updated regularly with the latest evidence-based drug information, enabling clinicians and pharmacists to make quick and accurate decisions on a patient’s drug regime, based on each patient’s unique and specific moment of care. This saves the hospital significant costs and enhances medication safety.
Aspirations for Asia’s healthcare
Countries in Asia are facing varying challenges in healthcare, such as aging populations, a boom in population size, or limited resources.
However, Mr Nguyen is optimistic that Asia can overcome these challenges. Through his interactions with clinicians and hospitals in the region, he identified that the passion they have for what they do and for the patients, is a strength that bodes well for their future growth and development: “They have found innovative ways to provide great patient care with the resources they have. I spoke with a team of clinicians who service remote communities and they talked about the simple struggle of having one clinician per 40,000 people. But they do the best they can with what they have, they put the patient first and get on with the job.”
For him, what is crucial now to help these clinicians with their mission, by enabling them to be more efficient and make better clinical decisions.
Mr Nguyen hopes that in the next 5 to 10 years, Asia could be known as the leader in healthcare across the world. This is helped by the fact that clinicians, hospitals and governments in the region, all share the same mission with Mr Nguyen and his team at Wolters Kluwer – to drive better health outcomes.
The next step? For Mr Nguyen, “now it is about taking the learnings we have from countries who have built a quality healthcare system successfully, and refining that model to enable better healthcare for an entire nation.”
About UpToDate® and Lexicomp®
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