The Ministry of Health (MoH) together with Futurise Sdn Bhd (Futurise) today announced the launch of the Online Health Service Regulatory Lab (OHS RegLab) marking a major milestone in the evolution of a regulatory framework for Online Healthcare Services (OHS) in the country. This announcement augurs well for OHS players within the Malaysian healthcare ecosystem striving to provide healthcare services to patients online. The OHS RegLab will run via a strategic collaboration between KKM and Futurise, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cyberview Sdn Bhd under the Ministry of Finance, that leads the National Regulatory Sandbox.
OHS has been experiencing tremendous growth globally, thanks to the rapid pace of digitalisation and connectivity that is transforming many sectors including healthcare. A recent study by Mckinsey & Company has forecasted an annual cumulative growth rate (CAGR) of 17% for this segment in the Asian region by 2025 and a potential growth is likely to be foreseeable for Malaysia as well. This is a significant shift in behaviour for the region and is indicative of the need for an increased effort in putting in place various channels for healthcare services. A combination of escalating cost, an ageing population, issues of proximity and access to quality healthcare has also pushed policymakers to really think of new ideas that can elevate patient care experience.
In addition, the onslaught of the COVID-19 global pandemic in the last two years had also impacted Malaysia, putting our healthcare providers and institutions under tremendous strain and revealed the need for policymakers to look deeper into alternative methods of providing healthcare. OHS appears to be a promising platform to meet the challenges of rising cost and access while ensuring the highest quality of service in Malaysian health care. However, there are hurdles on the regulatory front faced by OHS players operating in the country and thus the OHS RegLab is expected to play an important role in addressing potential issues via a collaborative approach between all relevant parties.
“The Ministry of Health (MOH) realises the growth and potential of OHS. Obviously, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated hospital and healthcare system innovation, laying the groundwork to transform healthcare. We would like to continue to witness innovation in this field with new technologies and solutions to address and adapt to current needs. The Ministry encourages and looks forward towards new innovation that will accelerate the transformation of healthcare delivery for Malaysia,” said YBhg. Datuk Dr. Hishamshah Bin Mohd Ibrahim, Deputy Director General of Health (Research & Technical Support), Ministry of Health, Malaysia.
“With findings from the Regulatory Lab, MOH seeks to identify the appropriate regulatory instruments and improvements to safeguard the rights of OHS users without inhibiting the advancement of innovation. MOH in collaboration with Futurise will leverage upon the National Regulatory Sandbox initiative to conduct this Regulatory Lab,” added YBhg. Datuk Dr. Hishamshah Bin Mohd Ibrahim.
“The Regulatory Lab is a platform for MOH and regulators to better understand the new innovative OHS by allowing selected OHS companies to operate in a live and controlled environment, within specified parameters and time frame under close monitoring by MOH and regulators. OHS companies will also have the opportunity to evaluate the guidelines and provide appropriate feedback to ensure they will be able to run and operate within a well defined framework,” said Rosihan Zain, Chief Executive Officer, Futurise.
He further added, “The healthcare industry is entering the era of digital innovation contributing to the rise of on-demand healthcare in the country. Ongoing strategic collaborations between Government, academia, industry players and entrepreneurs are aimed to expedite progressive, anticipatory regulatory intervention to enable the deployment of new industry sectors in an ongoing process. Online Healthcare Services can effectively be the solution in managing today’s challenges and issues in the healthcare system.”
In creating a positive impact in the delivery of the OHS initiative, there are more than 50 OHS industry players in Malaysia, which among them are private hospitals, clinics and technology companies anticipated to be part of the OHS RegLab.
Once open for submissions, interested OHS companies or platform providers may apply to enter this Regulatory Lab. Entry and registration into the Regulatory Lab is voluntary. The scope of OHS for the Regulatory Lab, enrollment criteria and requirements for operating in the Regulatory Lab are stated in the guideline. For more information and to be part of the Online Health Regulatory Lab (OHS Reglab), please visit: https://futurise.com.my/ohs