Inside five healthcare cloud transformation stories from Southeast Asia

By Red Hat

As healthcare organisations in the region seek to convert high volumes of data into actionable insights, five organisations are taking the leap into modern services with the cloud and open source.

As healthcare needs become more complex, five healthcare organisations in Southeast Asia are embracing digital transformation to address patient needs better. Image: Canva

“There has been an increase in affluence across Southeast Asia, coupled with an ageing population in advanced countries… creating much higher expectations and demand on healthcare providers,” says Albert Chai, General Manager - South East Asia, at Red Hat, a leading provider of enterprise open-source solutions.


This increased affluence is accompanied by a rise in health consciousness amongst the general public in the diverse region of Southeast Asia, comprising 11 countries with otherwise wide differences in demographics, income levels, and rural-urban spreads.


But challenges like accessibility and poor patient experience remain a bugbear as well. Though touchpoints like smart wearables have become more commonplace, agencies still struggle to convert the high volume of data into actionable insights, says Chai to GovInsider.


This is why agencies across the region have embarked on ambitious modernisation programmes since the advent of Covid-19 – and here are five to take note of.

1. Singapore’s national HealthTech agency embraces cloud


In 2022, Synapxe, Singapore’s national HealthTech agency formerly known as the Integrated Health Information System (IHiS), was awarded the Red Hat APAC Innovation Awards 2022 for its digital transformation efforts.


The agency was selected for its efforts developing the Common Consumer Digital Platform, which simplifies digital engagement with patients through a flexible, reusable, and cost-effective programme.

Albert Chai, General Manager - Southeast Asia, at Red Hat, shares his perspective on healthcare transformation in Southeast Asia. Image: Red Hat

The platform provides common services such as registrations, questionnaires, and payment services, to Singapore’s three public health clusters. These services are integrated with various backend systems, allowing the clusters to share healthcare information with patients through mobile apps.


“They had three priorities when working with us: to modernise the system and the patient experience; improve speed and agility; and do more with less,” says Chai.


The agency tapped on Red Hat to build the platform within a commercial cloud environment to reduce costs and handle fluctuating demand. By shifting to a cloud-native microservices architecture, the platform also leaves the door open for future innovation efforts.

2. Malaysia’s social security organisation goes customer-centric


Similarly, Malaysia’s PERKESO, a social security organisation that provides employee insurance, decided to digitalise their business workflows to better support customers, says Chai. Previously, citizens had to go to physical branches to submit manual forms for claims.


For Malaysian-born Chai, this hits close to home.


“Over the past few years, my employer had to provide manual submissions of my contributions… whenever there was a need to raise claims, it would take months to get reimbursed,” he shares.


In 2022, Perkeso decided to modernise its claims platforms by replacing its legacy architecture with a custom application running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, enabling the organisation to offer more accessible online services and reduce manual processes by 75 per cent.


“This now enables almost half a million employees in Malaysia to do digital submissions of payments… as an employee, I can actually look at my contributions online,” he adds.

3. Indonesia’s universal healthcare agency improves patient experience


BPJS Kesehatan, Indonesia’s social security agency that aims to provide universal healthcare to citizens, went cloud-native in 2022 to roll out digital solutions, with the goal of improving patient experience.


“During the height of the Covid-19, they had to find a way to improve customer experience, especially when it comes to waiting times in hospitals and community clinics,” says Chai.


The agency, which caters to over 100 million people, partnered with Red Hat to develop and implement e-queuing services on its mobile apps to reduce waiting time. These solutions also helped BPJS Kesehatan reduce deployment time and roll out new services faster.


“Partnering with Red Hat to deploy open source solutions have enabled us to reshape our patients’ and providers’ experiences and offer more innovative services through our mobile app and hospital kiosks,”  said Agung Putu Darma, Deputy Director of Strategy, Planning, and Information Technology Development, BPJS Kesehatan then.


BPJS Kesehatan was recognised at the Red Hat APAC Innovation Awards 2022 within the category of Cloud-Native Development.

4. Kalbe Farma builds reusable services


In Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest publicly listed pharmaceutical company, Kalbe Farma, transitioned from legacy applications to a microservices-based IT architecture to enhance agility.


The company’s legacy system made it difficult for the IT team to respond to requests for new functionalities. By switching to reusable microservices, the company was able to deliver better services quicker.


“They were looking to increase their responsiveness to the boardroom business strategy and working with Red Hat to accelerate the development and rollout of new applications and services,” says Chai.


The company also shifted to an API-centric approach, enabling Kalbe to share data securely with its subsidiaries and external partners like Satusehat, the country’s public healthcare data platform, Chai shares.

5. N-Health goes hybrid


Finally, Thailand’s N-Health, which provides shared services for hospitals, is leveraging Red Hat tools to run their new medical equipment maintenance system seamlessly in a hybrid environment.


“The need to go into new services drove them to look at a more agile and operationally efficient IT platform… They chose Red Hat because they realised they could build the application just once and deploy it anywhere, whether it’s on-premises or in the public cloud,” says Chai.


Red Hat OpenShift allows developers to modernise and deploy applications within containers that can run on any cloud environment, including public, private, and hybrid cloud.


The cherry on top? Chai adds that adopting an open hybrid cloud approach is the perfect strategy for healthcare organisations that wish to adopt new technologies such as artificial intelligence.


“You’re probably going to train your AI models in a large environment like the public cloud…but then you’ve got to run the model as close to the user as possible within their own environment,” explains Chai.