A DIGITAL-FIRST mindset is decentralizing the healthcare industry and delivering care to patients where they are, according to panelists at a conference hosted by Zoom about driving the future of virtual healthcare.

“The sources of consumers’ frustrations include long wait times, high healthcare costs. Against this backdrop, Asian consumers are fully embracing the digital era,” said Ricky Kapur, head of Zoom in the Asia-Pacific, at the May 11 forum. He pointed out that home care and telemedicine packages that emerged in the Philippines because of the pandemic will remain.

Digitalization has already changed the way healthcare is delivered to the point of rendering traditional labor-intensive models insufficient in the face of Asia’s rising healthcare needs, he added.

Increased flexibility and better collaboration among staff are among the advantages of digital healthcare, said Singapore’s Integrated Health Information Systems Assistant Chief Executive Alan Goh. “The trend of us-ing video consultations is here to stay.”


Zoom’s initiatives include video and meeting software development kits, which allow companies to build customizable applications using Zoom.

“It’s about making expertise traditionally found only by visiting a center of excellence more available to people,” said Ron Emerson, Zoom’s global healthcare lead. “There’s now a hospital-at-home — providing services at home that would otherwise be carried out in the hospital.” In April, the Philippine Health department reported engaging with more than 100,000 patients a month over video conferencing platforms in the first quarter of 2021, spurred by extended lockdowns instituted because of the pandemic.

With restrictions either loosened or lifted around the globe, the focus now is to reach people where they are, said Mr. Emerson.

Mark Crowe, director of information technology innovations at US-based nonprofit healthcare organization Sentara Healthcare, added: “Before COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019], the utilization of digital healthcare was pretty low, but now that we’re in the endemic stages, we’re actually seeing that the percentage utilization and adoption rate will never go back to pre-COVID-19.”

Clinics, hospitals, and health companies should consider their goals, services, and essential features when selecting a telehealth platform, he added.

“Every two weeks we’re upgrading, revising, debugging