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IMU: Advancing the Digital Health Industry in Malaysia

05 Sep 2022

IMU’s Digital Health Week spotlights Digital Health Ideation Challenge to empower young innovators and multi-sectorial Dialogue session to spur strategic collaborations among industry forward thinkers to meet growing demand


Kuala Lumpur, 24 August 2022International Medical University (IMU), Malaysia’s first private medical and health sciences university, marks its 30th anniversary with Digital Health Week, a dedicated effort to enhance understanding and highlight opportunities of this fast-expanding industry among students, educators, and industry players. The campaign showcased the Digital Health Dialogue, endorsed by the Ministry of Education Malaysia, with panellists from the government, industry and education sector, as well as the Digital Health Ideation Challenge, which saw talented students share great ideas on how to tackle the most pressing healthcare issues in Malaysia today using digital technology.


“Digital health is driving a revolution in healthcare, merging digital technologies in healthcare with mobile health, health information technology, wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine as well as personalised medicine. This convergence of digital technologies with health, healthcare and society offers many opportunities to improve medical outcomes and enhance efficiency,” explained Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Baba, Vice-Chancellor, IMU (in the photo above).


“The pandemic showed us the value of digital technology in providing contactless communications, monitoring upcoming clusters and supporting the development of safe and effective vaccines. In the years to come, digital health and related technologies will continue to be an important and essential driver and transform healthcare as we know it. This transformation is needed to ensure safer, more efficient, effective, personalised, equitable and sustainable health and care delivery for our people, and underscores the purpose and importance of this Digital Health Dialogue.”


The Dialogue featured a panel discussion promoting multi-sectorial efforts in developing the digital health industry with Fabian Bigar, Chief Executive Officer, MyDIGITAL; Dr Raymond Choy, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, DOC2US; and Prof Patrice François Boursier, Programme Director, Postgraduate Programmes of Health Informatics and Analytics, IMU.

“As a government-based initiative, we drive public-private partnerships through the MyDIGITAL Catalytic Projects. This includes a task force to help facilitate solutions for our private sector partners facing challenges in the process of adopting digital technology and infrastructure. These efforts help bring to life the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint and the National 4IR Policy while supporting the acceleration of digital and technological transformation in Malaysia’s economy,” said Bigar.

Commenting from the perspective of the private sector, Dr Choy spoke about the various roles industry players can perform in a multidisciplinary, healthy ecosystem which involves all stakeholders: Patients, Providers, Policymakers, Payers and Platforms, particularly in raising awareness and education, adapting to what is most needed and adopting the most relevant digital health solutions.

He suggested that industry players and innovators should see themselves as data centres for policymakers and academia to really understand what grassroot providers are doing, and focus on providing value-based care using technology to address the healthcare needs of today and tomorrow.

Representing the education sector, Prof Boursier spoke about the need to educate and raise awareness about digital health amongst students and the general public, while forming closer relationships and driving collaboration between educational institutions with different competencies in Malaysia and other countries.

He also addressed the importance of collaboration between industry players and the ministry for R&D to create digital health products for the future, while looking to other nations for examples and best practices, and showcased how the creation of a Centre of Digital Health and Health Informatics at IMU would help facilitate this process.


In addition to the panel discussion, the event also sought to empower young minds and build talent in digital health through the Digital Health Ideation Challenge, an initiative that encouraged students aged between 15 – 20 years old to develop digital health solutions to solve common problems with regards to access to healthcare in rural areas, mental health issues and obesity.

Top Three Winners of the IMU’s Digital Health Ideation Challenge
Lee Yen Tong Tzu Chi International School, KL Pingki the Penguin Robot: Personal Mental Health Companion
Eugene Goh Yu Hin Sunway College, KL Mentalify Super App
Srivanth Sivakumar Help Academy Mennect

Chief Judge Freddy Loo, Director of Analytics, Digital & Consulting, Fusionex said, “Overall, I was very impressed with the maturity level, enthusiasm and sense of purpose demonstrated by the young participants during their presentations. I was fascinated by how well they have all articulated the social agenda behind the technology.”

“They understood that the application of digital health is about improving the quality of life, and not about offering the best digital products or services. However, what stood out with the winning ideas were the exceptional value and viability of their solutions in addressing pressing health issues in Malaysia.”

Adding on to that, Dr Tan Ee Xion, Programme Director of the IMU Digital Health and also one of the judges for the Digital Health Ideation Challenge said, “As the first learning institution in Southeast Asia to offer a Bachelors in Digital Health, which is the first degree in Malaysia that integrates Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Data Analytics and Healthcare, we are very excited to work closely with our students as well as other stakeholders to bring the benefits of digital health to more people.”

The Digital Health Week concluded with the first ever Digital Pathology & AI Congress in Malaysia organised by IMU’s Institute for Research, Development and Innovation (IRDI) in collaboration with MMU-UKM-IMU Artificial Intelligence for Digital Pathology (AI4DP) consortium.


In the News:

The Star (4 Sep 2022): Digital health future of medicine

Related article:

Tzu Chi International School Student Wins First Prize at IMU’s Digital Health Ideation Challenge
Digital Pathology Congress 2022: Importance, Implications and Updates on the Development of Digital Pathology

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