Close up of doctor and patient sitting at the desk near the window in hospital

The FutureProofing Healthcare initiative, led by a panel of 15 leading healthcare experts across Asia-Pacific, announced the launch of the Asia-Pacific Personalised Health Index on Thursday (28 Jan).

The first-of-its-kind, data-driven policy tool assess the readiness of 11 health systems across the region (Australia, China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and New Zealand) to adopt personalised healthcare – enabling the right care to be custom-made to the right person at the right time.

The Index is built on robust, available to the public, credible, and open-source real-world data supplemented with input from public health authority representatives across APAC, and validated by a panel of leading healthcare experts.

The Index and FutureProofing Healthcare initiative, assisted by Roche, aims to help stakeholders across health ecosystem understand local, national, and regional strengths and needs, equip country leaders to embrace emerging changes in healthcare, and enable data-driven decision-making that can build future health systems that are fit-for-purpose.

The Personalised Health Index estimates performance against 27 different indicators of personalised health across four main categories, called ‘Vital Signs‘. These include ‘Policy Context’, ‘Health Information’, ‘Personalised Technologies’, and ‘Health Services’.

The findings of the Index revealed that Singapore performed the highest overall of the geographies measured due to a combination of high levels of digital maturity, comprehensive national strategies, a strong infrastructure, and expansive innovation capacities leading to top scores in both the ‘Health Information’ and ‘Personalised Technologies’ categories.

Taiwan (2nd), Japan (3rd), and Australia (4th) also performed well in overall readiness.

However, the Index showed that even higher performing countries have numerous areas of opportunity for improvement. Challenges around urban-rural disparities and building digital infrastructure impact lower-scoring territories, several of which are at the very early stages of personalised healthcare.

Overall Asia-Pacific Personalised Health Index 2020 performance (Source: FutureProofing Healthcare)

Performance in the Index varied most of the ‘Policy Context’ measure, owing to factors like limitations on access to data for health research, and a lack of capacity to deliver personalised health-related services in the workforce.

The Index also disclosed the lowest average performance countries on ‘Personalised Technologies’ – measuring use of artificial intelligence (AI) in health and uptake of wearable health technologies, etc. – indicating an opportunity to focus on future improvement.

Personalised healthcare has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people across Asia-Pacific. We have  already seen countries racing to adopt policies that facilitate digital health solutions like tele-medicine during the  current pandemic. But it is clear that more work is needed across the region to realise these benefits,” said Jeremy Lim, Director of Global Health and Associate Professor in the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore.

“The Personalised Health Index builds a clearer picture of the current readiness of health systems, and enables  countries to build on their strengths, identify key areas of opportunity for improvement and identify best practice  from other countries on individual measures. It helps jump start conversations about what action is needed today  to shape resilient, personalised and sustainable health systems that work better for future generations,” added Assoc Prof Lim, who is also one of the public health experts involved in the development of the Index.

According to the FutureProofing Healthcare initiative, health systems in Asia-Pacific are under pressure to do more with less, in the face of growing populations and expanding costs – compounded by COVID-19.

A fitting personalised healthcare system is one that leverages data, analytics and technology to spawn meaningful insights, inform decision-making, and drive innovation that supports both individual and population health, and empowers patients to manage their own health.

Personalised healthcare can improve health system efficiencies by helping decision-makers prioritise efforts and resources, and initiate policies and frameworks that support healthcare innovation.

The launch of the Personalised Healthcare Index is an important step in our efforts to enable policymakers in  building health systems that provide better outcomes for all. Roche is excited to support the development of this  unique policy tool, which leverages publicly available data to provide a holistic view of personalised health in our  region”, said Rachel Frizberg, Area Head Asia-Pacific at Roche Pharmaceuticals.

“While progress towards  personalised healthcare is varied, the Index shows that the APAC region is making strong strides in the right  direction – and outlines a clear path for countries to accelerate this transformation. It is encouraging to see many  countries already putting in place strategies, policies, and enablers to drive more personalised care, such as  electronic health records, health data registries and artificial intelligence. Roche is committed to working closely  with policymakers and other partners to help build the infrastructure essential to realising sustainable,  personalised healthcare ecosystems”, she added.

While the Index revealed significant disparities between countries measured, encouragingly, the results showed that this transition towards personalised healthcare is underway and is gaining momentum across most of the region.

The Index findings have also been published in a whitepaper ‘Getting to Personalise Healthcare in APAC‘, coordinated by the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies, and informed by expert insights from across Asia-Pacific.

It includes key policy recommendations based on the Index findings to help accelerate this transformation in the region.

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