In Hong Kong, Big Data Is Helping People Take Control of Their Own Health

Hong Kong is embracing an IT revolution to ensure that the care that it provides is more effective, efficient and transparent – empowering patients and improving outcomes.

Dr Leung Pak-yin is the Chief Executive of Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority, he delivered a keynote speech at the Hospital Authority conversion in May. His keynote drew attention to the way that Hong Kong is using big data and digital health to improve its healthcare services.

Last year in a city of 7.3 million people, the Hospital Authority handled:

  • 7 million inpatient and day-inpatient discharges and deaths
  • 3 million accident and emergency attendances
  • 5 million specialist outpatient attendances
  • 4 million primary care cases

It’s clear that use of their public healthcare system is reaching a new level of intensity.

Each day the clinical management system handles 11 million transactions; since the 1990s 280 terabytes of health data containing patient records, including clinical notes, drug records, laboratory reports, and radiological results and images.

If printed on paper, this information would produce over 85 million pieces of paper.

The government’s commitment to developing Hong Kong into a ‘smart city’ has resulted in a clear transition to digital data storage and use. Maintaining high quality, reliable and unambiguous data is of paramount importance should this data be usable. In order to ensure these standards are maintained, Hong Kong plans to adopt internationally recognised data and terminology standards, and aims to collaborate with both internal and external parties to realise the benefits of data sharing.

Hong KongA fully web-based integrated healthcare system will therefore not only benefit healthcare professionals, but patients too. Currently Hong Kong has embedded an electronic prescription system, and filmless operating theatres to increase the focus on end-user experience. Mobile applications are now coming to the fore; encouraging direct interaction and links between healthcare professionals and the general public.

The government is in support of these new tech-initiatives, and several hospitals under the Hospital Authority umbrella have initiated a redevelopment process in order to meet future health needs. These projects incorporate IT infrastructure and network interfaces with new models and systems, to ensure the highest quality of care for patients.