Malaysian health has come a long way since its independence in providing health care to its citizens. In Malaysia, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is the main provider of healthcare services to its citizens.  The government provides services, such as Family Health, Nutrition and Dietetics, Well Women Clinics, Home Nursing, Rehabilitative Services, Dental Services, Elderly Care, Community Mental Services, and so on. Studies have shown that the Malaysian health standard is almost at par with those of developed countries.

The Malaysian healthcare system is primarily a dichotomous health system divided into private and public sectors. The public healthcare clinics run by the government are curative in nature, either free or subsidized and much more comprehensive. Private hospitals provide curative as well as preventive care, and are generally accessible to the richer society that can afford out-of-pocket payments of higher fees. The private and public healthcare systems normally co-exist separately and assist each other in times of need.

According to the Malaysian Health Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam, this healthy dichotomous ecosystem needs to be improved further to create a better symbiotic relationship between the both systems through collaboration, cooperation, smart partnership, whereby mutually beneficial initiatives and health policies could be drawn up.

The Malaysian Health Ministry is now planning to launch the Malaysian Health Transformation Initiative. According to Dr. S. Subramaniam, the goal of the initiative is to connect public and private healthcare systems together to provide a long-lasting, affordable, and high-quality system to the citizens of Malaysia. He also highlighted the critical role of technology in changing the face of healthcare in future. The Health Ministry believes that converging both systems will provide even greater benefits.

The Ministry of Health recently launched the Malaysian Health Data Warehouse (MyHDW) in April 2017, which is a collection of health-related data from government and private hospitals, universities and military hospitals to optimize the healthcare delivery system. This collected data can be analyzed by the health service sector so that better evidence-based medicine can be practiced. Such data analytics can help not only in boosting financial returns but also tremendously be helpful in improving the overall quality of patient care. MyHDW will be developed in phases to collect, consolidate and analyze secondary used data from all healthcare providers in the country, and will provide a significant contribution to improve health data management, support R&D and innovation initiatives- as well as provide quality service delivery to the citizens.

The MyHDW is a dedicated system in which data is integrated and Information available on demand. It Implements secure and privacy-sensitive access. It has a scalable platform on the application that collects data from all healthcare facilities and that data is fed into the data warehouse. Out of the data that MyHDW receives, 20% of it is structured data, which is secured, whereas 80% of it is unstructured data.  The ability to deal with unstructured data has been incorporated through a feature named MyHarmony. myHDW has the Business Intelligence to query and access information faster for policy decision-making and facilitate better clinical decision-making. MyHDW can analyze information and share actionable insights through reports and dashboards featuring disease-based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). These dashboards and reports will also include demographic information as well as information on clinical and procedural interventions.

MyHDW can be integrated with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to present analyzed health statistics drilled down to specific geographic locations. This would help in the future planning of health statistics.

The Malaysian government has outlined plans to create a supportive ecosystem to grow clinical research in-country by setting up more clinical research centers, developing more clinical-practice certified investigators, and improving the approval timeline by a medical research ethics committee.

It aims to foster growth in private healthcare services and is encouraging more private investments in areas, such as manufacturing of biomedical devices and pharmaceutical products while supporting collaboration between public and private healthcare providers.

Malaysia’s vision for health is “to develop a nation of healthy individuals, families and communities, through a health system that is equitable, affordable, efficient, technologically appropriate, environmentally adaptable and consumer friendly, with emphasis on quality, innovation, health promotion and respect for human dignity, and which promotes individual responsibility and community participation towards an enhanced quality of life.

It is definitely an exciting time to be following Malaysia, as it is currently in the midst of a massive transformation Program that will elevate the country’s status to that of a developed nation by the year 2020.