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Thursday, August 05, 1999
Malaysian companies to lead telemedicine project
Kuala Lumpur--Two Malaysian companies with strong government links have won the telemedicine contract for Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor project.
Cybercode's chairman is Azhar Hashim, a director of Arab Malaysian Development, while WorldCare is a joint-venture company linked to Mokhzani Mahathir, the son of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and executive chairman of medical group Pantai Holdings.
"The negotiations are over and now the agreement is just awaiting approval from the Attorney General's office," said the source.
The two companies will be part of a consortium of local companies and foreign multinationals that have won the contract which is expected to be formally announced soon.
Telemedicine was identified three years ago has a key application for Malaysia's troubled Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project.
Approvals for the project was delayed as a result of the financial crisis and after tense negotiations between the parties.
Contracts for two other key MSC applications--electronic government and smart schools--were recently awarded after long delays suggesting the government is determined to put the project back on keel.
The telemedicine application is a comprehensive plan to reform public healthcare delivery and management in Malaysia which is under strain from the weight of rising costs, lack of resources and overworked staff.
Telemedicine is being offered as a panacea to all those woes.
Four five-year pilot programs have been identified to kickstart the telemedicine application.
They are: Lifetime Health Plan, Mass Customised/Personalised Health Information and Education; Continuing Medical Education and Teleconsultation.
The Lifetime Health Plan will include keeping lifelong detailed personal medical records in electronic form in secure, accessible databases.
It will be limited to four government hospitals and 70 public healthcare centres in the Klang Valley and the Kinta Valley, the source said.
The hospitals are Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Kajang Hospital and Seremban Hospital, and Ipoh Hospital in Perak.
The three other pilot programs will be established nation-wide from the beginning.
Mass Customised/Personalised Health Information and Education is a generic electronic database on various ailments, while Continuing Medical Education will enable medical personnel to constantly upgrade their skills through multimedia courseware.
Teleconsultation, a key program to be developed by WorldCare, is expected to go live in 41 sites around the country and will enable consultation between patients and doctors over networks using network-linked medical instruments and imaging systems.
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