Health Ministry’s patient data collection system finishes Phase 2

Dr Md Khadzir Sheikh Ahmad speaks during the Malaysian Health Care Conference 2019 in Kuala Lumpur March 7,2019. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Dr Md Khadzir Sheikh Ahmad speaks during the Malaysian Health Care Conference 2019 in Kuala Lumpur March 7,2019. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 ― The Health Ministry’s patient data collection system has completed the second phase of gathering information on outpatients from public and private facilities, an official said yesterday.

Dr Md Khadzir Sheikh Ahmad, head of the Health Informatics Centre at the Health Ministry who is managing the Malaysian Health Data Warehouse (MyHDW), stressed that MyHDW only collects data on people’s visits to any health care facility, inpatient visits, outpatient visits, visits to daycare unit services, as well as visits to clinical support groups like physiotherapy, speech, or audio.

MyHDW, he said, was not an electronic medical record as it does not collect all medical information on each patient.

“We have collected data on about 60 million visits,” Dr Khadzir told Malay Mail at the sidelines of the Malaysian Health Care Conference 2019 organised by the Kingsley Strategic Institute.

When the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration announced the launch of MyHDW in 2017, the Health Ministry revealed that it had already collected data from 2.5 million inpatients from all government hospitals, military hospitals and daycare unit services, sparking concerns about privacy and patient confidentiality.

Dr Khadzir said yesterday there was no need to get consent from patients before gathering data on their visits to health facilities because the information was anonymised.

“The data is applied to the PDPA (Personal Data Protection Act) and the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998,” he said.

The PDPA does not apply to the government.

Dr Khadzir also said MyHDW was now in the process of applying for the third phase of creating a “virtual environment” for researchers to use the data.

“A lot of users want to use the data inside. Rather than take the data out, they can go inside the system and use a pre-prepared statistics system. That’s how much we want to protect data inside to ensure it doesn’t go out,” Dr Khadzir told the conference.

“We’re proposing to the government to give some money to build the virtual environment so anyone can go in and analyse the data,” he added.

The purpose of the patient data collection system is to help the Health Ministry make evidence-based decision making, where it can identify disease trends or decide on the need for extra health facilities in certain areas, for example, he said.

“We want to know, for example, the percentage who go in for stroke, the percentage who go to hospital, the percentage who get diagnosed with stroke, the percentage who then go for acupuncture or whatever service,” Dr Khadzir told Malay Mail.

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