Healthcare systems all over the world are facing a shortage of staff. There will be a global demand for 80 million healthcare workers by 2030, according to a 2016 study.

Indonesia’s hospitals are embracing digital transformation, which comes with a different set of challenges. How did one hospital overcome the lack of human resources for IT? The CIO of dr Cipto Mangunkusumo National Central General Hospital, Dr Agus Mutamakin, tells Hospital Insider about its three-part approach.

The 1,000-bed hospital in Central Jakarta proactively recruits IT graduates from universities or the IT community. It has also implemented policies to increase the minimum salary for IT staff. Third, it is working with universities, startups and private companies to establish R&D partnerships, says Dr Agus.

The hospital wants to work with researchers who have capabilities in emerging technologies such as AI and blockchain. It will provide use cases and data, while its partners will contribute with people, knowledge and technology, he explains.

Beyond recruitment, Dr Agus is focused on strengthening the current integrated hospital information system over the next few years. His vision is to support the implementation of the National Health Insurance scheme, and create new digital health innovations and services. Dr Agus also wants to integrate back-office systems to improve planning, finance, and staff performance.

Currently, staff can use the integrated systems to gain comprehensive access to patients’ medical data. This makes it easier for them to assess, diagnose, and determine the best therapies for their patients, he says. But it is an ongoing journey to improve any kind of system, as technology and healthcare needs are dynamic, he points out.

Dr Agus notes how another major challenge for hospitals today is that EHRs are not regulated by the government yet. To overcome this, he is working with colleagues to propose legal regulations, and is involved in the regulation drafting team in the Ministry of Health, he says. When the regulation may be legalised depends on several factors, and the Ministry of Health itself, Dr Agus continues; however, they did succeed in passing the Telemedicine Regulation recently.

At the same time, Dr Agus is prioritising changes in processes and working culture. The hospital trains staff to use the systems, as they move away from paper-based processes, he shares.

Patient experience is a priority as well. By the end of the year, the hospital plans to roll out new features in its patient app, including billing, multi-channel payment, and personal health record information, Dr Agus says. Another project to be rolled out by the end of the year is an AI-enabled speech-to-text feature for use in conjunction with the hospital’s electronic healthcare records.

From implementing national health insurance, to tackling recruitment and leading large-scale digital transformation, Indonesia’s hospitals are experiencing many changes. As the healthcare landscape evolves, so must healthcare providers if they want to keep up.