HTM Speaks With Steven Yeo, Vice President, HIMSS Asia & Middle East

An internationally experienced and results-driven individual with 20 years of proven regional experience working for Multi-National Corporations in the Healthcare Information Technology, Semiconductors Manufacturing, Electronics Components and Logistics industries, Steven is skilled in operating in complex, multi-cultural environment, planning and establishing new business groups and initiatives, leading virtual teams, and managing relationships with both internal and external stakeholders.

 Please introduce yourself, your background and your current role within the healthcare technology industry:

Mr. Steven Yeo: Prior to joining HIMSS, Steven was the Director, Intel Digital Health Group for Asia Pacific focusing on Health Standards, Policy and Business development from 2005-2007. As an Executive Director of HIMSS in Asia Pac and Middles East, my responsibilities include:Serve as HIMSS’ General Manager and representative in the Asia Pacific and Middle East region to build the regional Associations working closely with the regional Healthcare IT communities and local government.

I am accountable for all operations and performance of the HIMSS Asia Pacific and Middle East including managing its Conference and Exhibition.Managing other initiatives including developing value proposition, training and certification for Health IT professionals as well as and member relationships. Establish HIMSS as the platform for the HIT community covering Government, Providers and Solution Providers on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare.

HIMSS recently brought three transformational programs to the dynamic city of Dubai. The second annual HIMSS Middle East Conference, for the best minds in healthcare, health insurance, and technology. How did the event go?

Mr. Steven Yeo: The event was a big success for HIMSS Middle East. It had been viewed as a platform in bringing leaders around the region and international experts together to exchange of ideas and learning bringing great learning opportunities for our delegates and networking opportunities for our sponsors. Below are quotes from 3 of our sponsors.

“I want to thank you for organizing HIMSS ME 2010 in Dubai , it was a very good networking event and it had a lot a value to bring all stakeholders in Healthcare IT industry in the region together.” Ms Lina Shadid from IBM

“We found HIMSS Middle East to be a well-organized event that provided excellent networking opportunities with senior healthcare IT representatives from across the region. Intersystem’s' workshop was very well-attended, with delegates highly engaged in thought-provoking dialogue”

Ms Lindsay Kiley from Intersystem’s

“We found the event to be extremely beneficial for our company. As this was our first time participating in the HIMSS Middle East conference, we were not sure what to expect. We were able to learn quite a bit about the Middle East market from the thought leaders that were in attendance and how our products fit in with the plans they have for their hospitals. We found the highly professional atmosphere and free sharing of ideas and visions to be very inspiring. We will definitely participate in all future HIMSS Middle East conferences.”

Mr. Gary Robinson from Wolters Kluwer Health

In your opinion what are the major issues facing healthcare providers and payers across the Middle East?

Mr. Steven Yeo: Rather than stating it as an issues – I would view it as opportunities for the healthcare providers and payers to work together on the following areas: 

  • To align and develop legislation, and regulation policies to support EMR and paperless claims 
  • Putting Patients/Consumers in the center of Healthcare (or Patients/Consumers centric Healthcare Delivery) 
  • Leveraging Information Technologies to enable seamless and digitally integrated processes.

In addition, healthcare providers can review and improve on:

  1. Building the infrastructure to support the grow in the needs of healthcare delivery 
  2. Leveraging Information Technology to reduce cost of delivery, improve quality of care (i.e. reduce medical errors) and improve accessibility to care (i.e. Rural/remote areas)
  3. Develop a fully integrated EMR through the HIMSS EMRAM (SM) (EMRAM – EMR Adoption Model)

How do you feel the Asian healthcare technology market place compares? Are there similar trends in market issues and conditions?

Mr. Steven Yeo: For Asian healthcare IT market – they are pretty similar in the following areas: 

  1. There are issues faced by developing countries vs. developed countries. 
  2. Aging populations (raising of healthcare cost). 
  3. Create accessibility to care (i.e.: Telehealth).

In countries like China there is a divide between rural and urban healthcare. What a farmer receives may be roads apart from that of a city trader in Shanghai. How can technology bridge this divide and how can countries like China minimize the “digital divide”?

Mr. Steven Yeo: For China, the first step is to be supported by the Government healthcare reform.

When the Official Healthcare Reform was announced in 2009, this showed a vision to establish a basic healthcare service system for all, with minimal quality disparity that ensure people timely access to prevention, treatment, care and safe drug use at reasonable cost.

The core focus is to deliver a basic health care system that covers both rural and urban population. Four basic focus of the new system are being established:

  1. Basic health care system that covers both rural and urban population. 
  2. Multi-level healthcare insurance system.
  3. National Essential Drug System.
  4. Scientific and Standard management system of public hospitals.

As of today, there are more than 60 RHIN (Regional Healthcare Integrated Networks) are being developed across China to support the above reform.

When is the next Asia Pacific installment of HIMM’s?

Mr. Steven Yeo: HIMSS Asia Pacific will bring HIMSS Asia Pac’11 Conference and Leadership to Melbourne, Australia in 20-23 September 2011.

It will be targeting to have 2000 attendees from across the region to network and sharing the latest development, successful case studies and know-how in the healthcare IT industry.

If you could change one thing within the healthcare technology industry what would they be?

Mr. Steven Yeo: One of the Disruptive Technologies in healthcare will be a PHR where individual consumer/patient owns and manages their own Personal Health Record.

Recently on it was asked “what are the major reasons that EMR/EHR implementations fail; what do you think?

Mr. Steven Yeo: This is a great discussion topic as it is a major paradigm shift for the healthcare to move from paper based to electronic based. It is a major challenge for healthcare providers and solution providers to successfully implement the EMR/EHR it is not just an IT project but a whole lot of stakeholder’s management and transition change management involved to be successful.

And finally what do you feel 2011 has in store for us; in terms of developments in healthcare IT solutions, and cutting edge, innovative, healthcare technology?

Mr. Steven Yeo: Technology is never the issue in healthcare IT – it is about the change and managing the change. In 2011, there will be more focus on e-Health for Connected Care in the regions and as well as focusing around Aging Population (Homecare). 

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