Working with the right colocation data center providers will enable Indonesia's healthcare operators to resolve challenges in data integration and connectivity as they embark on their digital transformation.

Indonesian organizations, in general, have been slow to embark on their digital transformation. Just 43% currently are undergoing this journey, though, 34% expect to follow suit by the end of 2021 [1], according to a Forrester survey.

The report further reveals that people pose the most challenges for local businesses rolling out their digital transformation. In particular, they struggle with a lack of technology skillsets and knowledge.

This problem also is evident in the healthcare sector, where healthcare service providers are not as advanced in their use of IT as their peers in the banking industry. CEOs who head hospitals and healthcare groups here typically are medically trained or have business degrees in managing hospitals.

With their medical background, these CEOs are apt in keeping customers healthy, but their lack of IT knowledge often means it is difficult for them to grasp the concept of cloud computing, much less the benefits of adopting cloud services. And when CFOs also fail to understand this, they are less likely to approve budgets for such projects.

It also means that most healthcare operators do not carry sufficient knowledge about the importance of data centers and how these benefit their sector. This is slowly improving though, as healthcare providers recognize the advantages of moving to the cloud and increasingly look for data insights to improve services.

More of them are also beginning to realize that tapping colocation data center facilities can allow them to gain greater cost efficiency and flexibility as well as access infrastructures that offer better security, availability, and resiliency.

Struggle with data integration, interconnectivity
Healthcare organizations that do recognize the need for digital transformation face a different set of challenges. For one, healthcare facilities still run primarily on decentralized systems, with data operating in silos.

Without a centralized medical record repository, it is difficult to extract accurate data and the ability to do so is especially critical in a sector on which lives depend.

Moreover, patients’ medical records typically are accessible only by the hospital or clinic where they are treated. Should they decide to move to a different healthcare facility, they will not be able to transfer their own medical records from the previous hospital, unless the doctor gives the approval to do so.

This means patients will need to perform the same set of examinations and tests again just to establish a medical record with the second healthcare service provider. This usually means further delay in their treatment.

It also is challenging to safeguard datasets that reside across multiple systems, with the wide attack surface providing more room for hackers to target, and potentially breach.

Furthermore, Indonesia’s expansive geographical spread and uneven ICT infrastructure buildout have made interconnectivity–between hospitals, pharmacies, family clinics, and insurance companies–challenging to establish.

Reliable and low-cost high-speed online connectivity still is largely lacking, even as the country continues to deploy critical networks, including telecommunications and roads, across the archipelago of 17,000 islands.

Digital transformation necessary because consumers expect it
Despite the challenges, there are strong reasons for healthcare providers to kickstart their digital transformation sooner rather than later.

Respondents in the Forrester study that have succeeded in such initiatives and efforts report a 57% improvement in operational efficiencies, while 52% point to enhanced customer experience. Another 49% say their digital transformation paved the way to product and service innovation and 45% cite reduced cost as a success factor.

In addition, Indonesians increasingly expect brands to interact and meet their demand to consume services online. This means healthcare providers who are unable or unwilling to do so, risk losing their customers to competitors such as Halodoc [2].

Founded in 2016, Halodoc today has more than 20 million users on its platform, which includes a mobile app. It has a network of more than 20,000 licensed doctors, with whom patients can have live consultation remotely, on its digital platform [3].

Last year, the healthcare technology operator introduced a service that enables patients to book an appointment at more than 2,000 providers, including hospitals, clinics, and laboratories, in 180 cities across Indonesia. Halodoc’s inroads into the Indonesia’s healthcare sector recently helped the company snag US$80 million in Series C funding.

Its success indicates the immense potential innovative technology and digital transformation can bring to the industry. In fact, Deloitte predicts that data will be the new healthcare currency in 2022 [4]. The consulting firm urges healthcare providers to take note of changes that are driving patient behavior in order to remain competitive and adopt a customer service mindset.

Data centers that meet healthcare needs
To help them navigate their digital transformation, Indonesian healthcare operators should work with data centers and cloud service providers that understand the sector’s unique requirements.

Similar to their counterparts in FSI (financial services industry), healthcare providers’ primary concern–apart from the cost–is security. They want to ensure data and applications they run on the cloud are secure.

Hence, cloud and data center providers must be able to deliver high availability, reliability, and healthcare-specific IT standards. This is critical because, while there currently are few legislative requirements governing IT deployment in the local sector, Indonesia’s healthcare operators still are keen to adopt industry best practices. They will seek out data center infrastructures that support global standards such as HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Doing so also will ensure healthcare operators are ready for compliance when the Indonesian government eventually rolls out regulatory requirements for healthcare, similar to those in the financial services industry.

Furthermore, there are local regulations that mandate hospitals must be sufficiently equipped–with secondary power supply, for instance–to remain operational during natural disasters such as earthquakes.

Major colocation data center facilities, such as those operated by Princeton Digital Group, already are built with such high level of resiliency and availability, and play a key role in an organization’s disaster recovery strategy. Our data centers also support key regulatory requirements such as 99.982% availability, which are mandated in sectors such as FSI.

It is then critical that when hospitals work with colocation data center operators, they should identify players that understand the unique requirements of the Indonesian healthcare sector. This will ensure the data center provider is able to run business processes that are in compliance with local regulations.

Service providers that do not have a firm grasp of such knowledge can put hospitals at risk of breaching policies and legislations. The lack of proper redundancy and other infrastructure requirements also leads to downtime.

Clearly, it is vital that healthcare providers partner the right colocation data center provider with clear understanding of their sector’s requirements, especially if they face skillset challenges internally.

About PDG
Princeton Digital Group (PDG) is a leading investor, developer and operator of Internet infrastructure. Headquartered in Singapore with presence and operations in China, Singapore, India, and Indonesia, its portfolio of data canters powers the expansion of hyperscalers and enterprises in the fastest-growing digital economies across Asia.

Stephanus Tumbelaka

Author Stephanus Tumbelaka

Managing Director, Indonesia at PDG

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