CNET : News : Story Wednesday, January 19, 2000 

Malaysian telemedicine contract set for tomorrow
By Julian Matthews
Wednesday, January 19 2000

KUALA LUMPUR--The oft-delayed government telemedicine contract signing is finally set to be sealed tomorrow.

Health Minister Chua Jui Meng is expected to witness the signing between the Malaysian government and a consortium led by Medical Online Sdn Bhd and WorldCare Health (M) Sdn Bhd.

Medical Online, formerly known as Cybercode, is chaired by Azhar Hashim, a director of Arab Malaysian Development Bhd, 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 Bhd.

Telemedicine is one of the four flagship applications meant to kickstart Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project, the high-tech zone likened to Asia's Silicon Valley.

Bids for the flagships were called for as far as back 1997 but the government plans to fast-track the implementation were delayed by the economic slowdown and internal "problems" among consortium partners.

CNET Malaysia reported in August that the two companies had won the contracts. But sources said the signing was delayed several times to resolve "nitty gritty details".

Major players believed to be participating in the project are Sun Microsystems, IBM, Oracle, Ericsson and 3Com Corporation.

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.

The four pilot programs identified to kickoff the telemedicine application in June 2000 are Lifetime Health Plan, Mass Customised/Personalised Health Information and Education, Continuing Medical Education and Teleconsultation.

The first three pilots are to be headed by Medical Online while Teleconsultation will be developed by WorldCare.

The Lifetime Health Plan will include keeping lifelong detailed personal medical records in electronic form in secure, accessible databases.

Mass Customised/Personalised Health Information and Education is the set up of an generic electronic database on various ailments, while Continuing Medical Education will enable medical personnel to constantly upgrade their skills through multimedia courseware.

Teleconsultation enables consultation between patients and doctors over networks using network-linked medical instruments and imaging systems.

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