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Monday, October 25, 2004Asian Health Care's IT Injection shows its potential to lead the world in such innovation . One of the big worries among American information-technology executives is that the U.S. is in danger of losing its edge as other countries, especially in Asia, build up their high-tech infrastructure and leapfrog past the West. Indeed, in some areas the question isn't whether the U.S. is going to fall behind, but whether it can catch up. In lecommunications. Measured in sheer number of cellular users, the U.S. lost its No.1 position years ago to China, which now has more than 300 million people chatting on their mobile phones. That's understandable. There are more than 1.3 billion Chinese, after all. But when it comes to cellular services, the U.S. also lags behind Japan and South Korea, both of which have operators that are quickly signing up new customers for third-generation cell service.
US presidential debatae says,American health care is among the best in the world, its hospitals some of the most cutting edge, right?Not according to Mark N. Blatt, a former family physician who joined Intel (INTC ) in 2000. As the chipmaker's manager of health-care strategies, Blatt is in charge of efforts to make hospitals worldwide more IT-savvy. Blatt is stunned by the progress that some Asian countries are making in using IT to improve how doctors and nurses do their jobs. At Foshan, China - widely speculated to have been the home of China's first SARS case, back in 2002. The disease's outbreak spooked the Chinese government, making it realize that it had to invest in an IT infrastructure that would allow hospitals to monitor illnesses more easily. The aim would be to prevent major epidemics -- and also improve the quality of patient care. Blatt says,China's Center for Disease Control now has a system that allows daily updates from 16,000 hospitals nationwide, providing information on 32 different diseases. How does that compare the U.S.? "We have a paper-based system," says Blatt. It takes the U.S. CDC a month to get information that the Chinese can get in a day.In Foshan, the government can simply require all the hospitals to fall into line -- one of the advantages to having an authoritarian government. The city has a 10-gigabyte network connecting the 20 hospitals and two clinics taking part in the program.
"For anyone who gets sick at any of the hospitals, the doctors can see the patients' lab values, medications, the entire health record from a health center," says Blatt. Given China's severe shortage of doctors -- it has about the same number as the U.S., yet four times the population -- the ability to share such information is especially important. Foshan's health-care IT hub even has a global positioning system that's hooked up to the police and the fire departments. If a traffic accident causes a backup, the dispatcher can alert the ambulance driver and send it on a different route.Large hospitals in China, South Korea, and Thailand regularly treat a million outpatients a year, twice as much as a large hospital in New York.
Looks like Parts of Asia qould appear to be ahead of the western world shortly in most measurement indices and the other part( large though) would struggle and inch towards progress - May be a New Asia and An Old Asia. Very Interesting. |
|Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld