The healthcare industry is changing rapidly; several new companies are entering the industry and are becoming significant contributors to it. Business models of companies are being modified and new partnerships are beginning to emerge.
And all of it is happening because of the Internet of Things and other technologies like cloud-based services and big-data; it is happening because the world is becoming more digital, more connected and more data intensive every day.
The “Internet of Things” in healthcare has made it possible for people to manage their health personally through solutions like RFID (radio frequency identification) tags and electronic health records, for healthcare providers to cater to the needs of their patients leading to improved lives for all involved.
Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS), the public healthcare IT shared services provider and subsidiary of Ministry of Health Holdings (MOHH), helps integrate IT into health care services and operations across Singapore. As the Singapore healthcare ecosystem is fairly complex, there is a great demand for more efficient and expedited services.
IHIS hosts a bevy of tech solutions and gadgets, specifically catered to the health industry. There are different solutions created for patients and healthcare staff. Some of which include:, Outpatient Pharmacy Automated System, Digital Pathology System, Real-Time Ambulatory Patient Information Deployment Enabler (RAPIDE) system, Electronic Health Intelligence System, Tele-Geriatics, Mobile Apps, and other such services.
OpenGov recently got the chance to catch up with Mr. James Chia, Director of Corporate Strategy and Business Performance, IHIS, to talk about the Health IT Masterplan, how IHIS is contributing to the Smart Nation vision, and what their plans are, for the near future.
On the Health IT Masterplan
Mr. Chia also holds another portfolio in MOHH, being part of the Health IT Masterplan team. In both his capacities, Mr. Chia can draw alignment between the two bodies, IHIS and MOHH.
Since the Masterplan was conceived less than 2 years ago, it has prepared the health industry for the 2020 vision towards a smart healthcare system.
In arguing how technology can help achieve what is laid out in the Health IT Masterplan, Mr. Chia said, “There are many capabilities identified in the Health IT Masterplan that we need to develop or enhance. These capabilities are at different stages of maturity. For example, Big Data Analytics, with respect to healthcare, is still in the early stages of widespread adoption.” He explains that we can use this information to determine the right level of care for patients across the country.
“Health IT is a critical enabler for the healthcare sector to achieve the 3 objectives of making healthcare in Singapore more affordable, accessible, and of good quality.” said Mr. Chia, “Striving towards a healthy population, we are taking steps to better understand the health of our population. This requires us to learn more about our population segments, who are the people at risk, and for those at risk, how can we intervene early as well as motivate them to stay healthy.”
Mr. Chia shared that Singapore has the highest density of HIMSS EMRAM Stage 6 hospitals in Asia. The HIMSS EMRAM award is an international benchmark for the use of advanced IT to improve patient care. Tracking their progress in completing eight stages (0-7), hospitals can review the implementation and utilisation of information technology applications with the intent of reaching Stage 7, which represents an advanced electronic patient record environment. Currently, there are 25 acute care facilities in Asia Pacific at Stage 6 and three at Stage 7. Explaining that achieving IT excellence in hospitals is not an end itself, “We are moving away from episodic care towards care delivery that is coordinated around the patient. That is why we need ensure that our clinicians and medical staff will be adequately IT equipped regardless which care setting the patient turns up in.” says Mr. Chia, “In other words, our scope and efforts include primary care, intermediate and long term care, in addition to acute hospital care.”
“What is fundamental for this to work? Information flow. Right now, we are in the midst of enabling seamless flow of patient information across the healthcare providers. Beyond this, to make this vision work, we must make sure the providers know enough about the patients such that repeated questions and tests can be avoided, allowing doctors to spend more time on diagnosis and treatment while saving patients time and money.
Aligning to the Health IT Masterplan, IHIS is looking at progressively providing more common platforms across care providers and patients for greater interoperability and unified user experience. “This would ensure that the information collected within the community, can form part of a continuity of care record around each patient. In case of an emergency, such information can be accessed so that the attending doctor can be adequately informed and appropriate care can be delivered to the patient.”
How do you plan to use data?
The partnership between IHIS and big data analytics is in a nascent stage but they are looking to develop this very rapidly. Through the Electronic Health Intelligence System (eHINTS) and Business Information (BI) System, they are hoping to facilitate more informed decision making, improve operational efficiency, resource allocation and cost management.
To consolidate data, the eHINTS system cleanses and standardises data before uploading for decision-support, while the BI System classifies data by subject areas to prepare for analysis. “IHIS is focusing our efforts to harness intelligence and insights from our wealth of data to improve clinical care and operations. First, we try to make sure we provide the data in as much of a uniform manner as possible,” Mr. Chia tells us.
“From there, statistical analysis and techniques like data mining, scenario modeling can play a big difference in how we make care more effective and more efficient,” Mr. Chia said.
“Undergirding all that, we need to have integrated systems that pull the right information from multiple credible sources in a timely manner,” stated Mr. Chia, “Then we can turn that data into insights to help both our management team and frontline colleagues make informed decisions.”
Health Mobile Apps and Service Virtualisation
Service virtualisation is an area where IHIS has introduced several mobile platforms to cater to healthcare needs. Their range of mobile applications includes AsthmaCare Buddy, Thought Buddy, iCom, Patient Communicator, miHealthcare, Nurses Pal, and GPFirst Aide.
IHIS sees mobile apps as an area they can use to ‘nudge’ people towards behaviours that promote healthier living, due to the rise of mobile activity. The use of behavioural science and gamification create these opportunities for interactive and responsive patient actions.
For example, the Gacha Island app features games that simulate “killing” of monsters (substituting for mental illnesses). This conveys that people need an arsenal of tools, such as social support, to deal with mental health issues. Another app, called MyEyeDrops, reminds glaucoma and cornea patients to apply eye drops and medication. MyEyeDrops also keeps a diary to record the frequency and intensity of their disease to facilitate management by their doctors.
IHIS has also developed mobile apps to give support to Healthcare staff. Nurses Pal, for example, helps nurse aids more quickly adjust patients’ intravenous drips, manage bedsores and prevent falls.
IHIS is driven towards greater service virtualisation as they foresee it will help optimize the land space at hand. Singapore is not a large nation, this requires us to utilise our resources to the best of their ability. Service virtualisation and mobile app service delivery allows this to happen.
“This should be transparent to the consumer in most cases,” Mr. Chia asserts, “As a system it is quite important, considering the scarce resources we have today. Virtualisation of services allows for the scale up of capabilities and capacities without incurring more land space or more resources. At the same time we are optimising the land space, today’s technology can allow the same hardware to run multiple servers, applications, service resources, and all within the same land space.”
Impact on Citizens of the Future
In relation to Smart Nation, one objective of IHIS is to help empower the people of Singapore. This means that Smart Health should be proactively delivered, integrated, and personalized. Through these factors, an individual will be empowered to take healthcare into their own hands.
“We want people to not only live longer, but also healthier,” said Mr. Chia. Mr. Chia implores how the health industry can motivate and equip people with the right tools to think about daily health decisions. “We are hoping that we can move into the age where long gone will be the days where we are heavily dependent on others for our own health and well-being,” says Mr. Chia.
Today, we are already living in a healthcare system of the future. Our calendar alerts and online health records are just two ways that we access healthcare resources through technology. IHIS is directing its efforts towards capitalizing on the added advantage of integrating technology into the healthcare system.
Since 2008, IHIS has been raising the bar when it comes to bringing technology in clinical spaces. As Mr. Chia puts it, technology is not an end in itself, improving the health of our people is at the heart of all we do. IHIS continuously try to help the country ‘move forward in unison’ by leveling up IT capabilities in our healthcare organisations so that we can deliver citizen-centred care as one national healthcare system.
A partner company of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) unveiled “ARIA-diabetes risks”, a retinal imaging tool for non-invasive pre-screening of diabetes. This solution aims to tackle the problem of millions of undiagnosed diabetes patients worldwide.
The International Diabetes Federation reports that in 2021, nearly half of all adults with diabetes were unaware of their condition, amounting to 239.7 million individuals worldwide. In Hong Kong alone, at least 600,000 individuals have diabetes and more than 110 million in mainland China. This is a significant issue that has both local and global implications, as people with diabetes are at an increased risk for serious and potentially life-threatening complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, and vision loss.
The Automatic Retinal Image Analysis (ARIA) technology uses artificial intelligence and machine-learning techniques to detect various health issues. The solution provides a non-invasive pre-screening tool for diabetes that delivers results within minutes and has an accuracy rate of over 90%. It does not require a blood test and offers a faster and more accessible way for early diabetes diagnosis.
The partner company formed a joint venture called “Oneness Health” with an HKSTP incubatee to capitalise on the potential for remote healthcare offered by the ARIA-diabetes risks solution.
The joint venture combines the partner company’s retinal analysis technology with the incubatee’s network of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners, as well as their software and hardware development capabilities. This creates a one-stop service platform under the name “Oneness Health” that provides high-risk patients seeking TCM treatment with added convenience and flexibility, with the goal of “disease prevention”.
The Oneness Health platform will offer features such as online appointments, mobile assessments, diagnosis, and personal health management in the first quarter of 2023.
In the near future, it will also provide prescriptions for traditional Chinese medicines that can be dispensed through auto-dispensing machines at over 100 convenient locations in 18 districts of Hong Kong or collected at various NGO centres. Additionally, door-to-door courier service will be available for single elderly individuals or needy families.
The CEO of HKSTP stated that the Park is dedicated to promoting innovation by providing a comprehensive support system for translational research, product development, and commercialization. The ARIA-diabetes risks solution from the two firms which is now being offered under the Oneness Health platform is a prime example of how innovative solutions can be developed in Hong Kong and at the Science Park.
The combination of breakthrough science, world-first technology, advanced software, and hardware to create an innovative primary healthcare delivery platform through Oneness Health, is a testament to the speed, talent, infrastructure, and innovation capability of Hong Kong’s I&T ecosystem.
In line with the HKSAR Government’s Primary Healthcare Blueprint announced in December 2022, the Oneness Health platform will contribute to the government’s goal of establishing a more community-based primary healthcare system. The platform will significantly improve healthcare convenience, expand treatment options, lower patient costs, and alleviate the burden on Hong Kong’s hospitals and clinics.
The Blueprint sets out a strategy road map towards establishing a primary healthcare system that can improve the overall health and quality of life for popular in a stable manner, under the challenges brought on by an ageing popular and increasing chronic disease prevalence.
Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Minister of Health, announced the development of SATUSEHAT, an interoperable Indonesian health data system. Budi aimed to complete the digitalisation of health data by January 2024. In keeping with the spirit of an impactful bureaucracy, the Minister of Health is sure Indonesians would benefit from digitisation.
“The concept is interchangeable; (health facilities) can use the information anywhere: all hospitals, both public and private, pharmacies, clinics, health centres, and labs throughout Indonesia will use the same data format, and (the data) can be exchanged,” he said at the launch of the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) Space in Jakarta.
SATUSEHAT is a health platform that serves as a forum for various health apps from companies in the health business. As a result, all applications and health service facilities on the SATUSEHAT platform, including vertical hospitals, government hospitals, private hospitals, health centres, Posyandu, laboratories, clinics, and pharmacies, must adhere to the Ministry of Health’s criteria.
People no longer need to carry physical medical record files while moving hospitals because of this platform. All patient medical record resumes have been digitally captured on the SATUSEHAT platform, which can be viewed from anywhere and at any time using mobile phones.
“For certain users who haven’t been able to produce health applications, we can aid later. (And) We can eventually give standard and free applications for significant stakeholders such as Puskesmas (community health centres) and Posyandu (toddler integrated service post). This way, we can do data integration elegantly on the same platform,” Budi confirmed.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Health established DTO as a Ministry of Health work unit dedicated to implementing the Healthy Indonesia programme by developing effective data-driven policies and digital technology products. User-Based Technology Development, National Health Data Integration, Technology Capacity Building, and Data-Based Policy Making are the four principles of digital transformation being implemented.
Budi directed the DTO and the Data and Information Centre (Pusdatin) to take meaningful actions to expedite national health data digitisation. DTO must complete nationwide health interoperability that is transparent and accessible to all parties. The merger process started on July 6, 2022, and is expected to be finished by the end of 2023.
Another challenge is to combine clinical and genomic data to assess the health of the Indonesian population deployed with Artificial Intelligence to create more detailed and exact results. AI will subsequently support the Ministry of Health’s clinical and genomic data. The services are designed to help Indonesia advance health biotechnology.
During the inauguration ceremony, the Minister for Administrative Reform and Bureaucratic Reform (PANRB), Abdullah Azwar Anas, praised the Ministry of Health’s digital transformation in the healthcare system. He anticipated that the shift would affect at least five items. First and foremost, it increases the quality of healthcare services. Second, it improves access to healthcare services. Third, raise the added value of the health sector economy with a focus on domestic goods.
Fourth, speeding the achievement of the government’s main healthcare projects, such as lowering stunting prevalence. Fifth, strengthen health human resource expertise while guaranteeing equitable distribution across the country.
“For example, we may ensure that a health concern is treated by integrating data, then monitoring therapy until the assessment is entirely digitally driven. We can learn from the Covid-19 pandemic, in which health technology was extremely useful in combating the pandemic,” he went on to say.
Anas believes that the Ministry of Health’s SATUSEHAT will soon be merged with the National Electronic-Based Government System. He praised the tremendous efforts made by the Ministry of Health to implement digital transformation.
The Ministry of Health’s consolidation initiative can serve as a model for other Ministries/Institutions looking to increase work units’ roles in supervising the government’s digitalisation activities. Anas is optimistic that the integrated ecosystem of digital health data will be a huge step forward for the country’s health sector.
Sybill, an artificial intelligence tool, has been developed to estimate the risk of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the world’s deadliest cancer, accounting for 1.7 million fatalities in 2020, killing more people than the following three deadliest cancers combined. Consequently, it is critical to have an early detection solution to provide immediate treatment.
Cancer early identification AI tools can result in a better long-term outcome, according to MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health, Mass General Cancer Centre (MGCC), and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (CGMH). When it’s advanced, the five-year survival rate for the lung cancer patient is closer to 70%, compared to 10% when it’s early.
“It’s the worst cancer because it’s so common and so difficult to treat, especially once it’s advanced,” explained Florian Fintelmann, MGCC Thoracic Interventional Radiologist and Co-author of the current study.
Today’s images of the lung computed tomography (LDCT) procedure is presently the most common way people are checked for lung cancer to detect it early enough to be surgically removed. But Sybill takes the screening a step further in comparison to LDCT. It can forecast the likelihood of a patient acquiring lung cancer within six years by analysing LDCT imaging data without the intervention of a radiologist.
Co-author Peter Mikhael, an MIT PhD student in electrical engineering and computer science and an affiliate of Jameel Clinic and the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), associated the procedure with “trying to identify a needle in a haystack”. However, Sybill successfully detects early-stage cancer with satisfactory results, as shown in a new article published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Fintelmann and his team labelled hundreds of CT scans with evident cancerous tumours that would be used to train Sybil before testing the model on CT scans with no discernible evidence of disease. The researchers took precautionary measures to ensure Sybil’s ability to identify cancer risk appropriately.
Sybil achieved C-indices of 0.75, 0.81, and 0.80 using a heterogeneous group of lung LDCT scans gathered from the National Lung Cancer Screening Trial (NLST), Mass General Hospital (MGH), and CGMH over six years. Models with a C-index score of more than 0.7 are regarded as good and models greater than 0.8 are considered strong, with 1.00 being the maximum attainable score. The ROC-AUCs for Sybil’s one-year prediction were considerably higher, ranging from 0.86 to 0.94.
Jeremy Wohlwend, an MIT electrical engineering and computer science PhD student and Jameel Clinic and CSAIL collaborator, was shocked by Sybil’s excellent score despite the absence of apparent disease. “We discovered that even while we [as humans] couldn’t see where the cancer was, the model could still predict which lung would eventually get cancer,” he described. “It was incredibly interesting that [Sybil] could identify which side was the more likely side.”
The 3D aspect of lung CT scans made Sybil challenging to create. Because early-stage lung cancer covers minuscule areas of the lung. It is just a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of pixels that make up each CT scan. The radiology data used to train Sybil was essentially free of any indicators of malignancy. Lung nodules are denser areas of lung tissue that, while they have the potential to be malignant, are most of the time not and can be caused by healed infections or airborne irritants.
In the United State, many patients diagnosed with lung cancer today have never smoked or are former smokers who quit more than 15 years ago – characteristics that preclude both groups from receiving lung cancer CT screening in the United States. However, cancer can affect a young, healthy, and athletic individual. As a result, prevention is vital to saving more lives.
Researchers from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI) have created a dolphin-like sonar device with a new echo processing technique that enables clearer underwater images compared to the traditional signal processing method of visualising sound echoes.
The new sonar processing method could have potential benefits in underwater commercial or military sonars. It could be used to scan the seabed to search for features that can be used to aid navigation. The sonar’s compactness also makes it suitable to be mounted on underwater robots for ocean exploration.
The processing method is based on the hypothesis that dolphins use prior information about their environment, apart from broadband sound pulses, to interpret their echoes. The sonar uses information on the sparsity of objects, which allows for a better interpretation of sound echoes.
According to a press statement, the new device provides a better trade-off between sonar-image clarity, the number of sensors, and the size of the sensor array used as compared to current sonars of similar size and purpose. Conventional echo processing techniques tend to fail when sensors are limited in number or widely spaced. The new sonar processing method, however, can extract information and yield image clarity even in these situations.
The researchers noticed that dolphins had the ability to scan underwater objects acoustically and match them visually, indicating that a dolphin’s sound echoes emitted off an object contain information about the object’s shape. They then recorded the echoes emitted by dolphins when scanning an object in the water.
Using their observations as a guide, the team constructed a biomimetic sonar that mimics a dolphin’s sonar system. The device, which is about the size of a dolphin’s head and measures 25 cm in width, is designed to emit sharp, impulsive clicking sounds, similar to those used by dolphins for echolocation.
The team employed three transmitters to send sounds from different directions. They then analysed the echoes produced by both the dolphin and the biomimetic sonar to visualise what information about the object’s shape was revealed in the echoes.
To complement the hardware, the team developed software that improves the visualisation of echoes. The researchers incorporated the concept of sparsity into the sonar’s software. This assumes that out of the space scanned, only a small percentage is occupied by the object. According to Hari Vishnu, Senior Research Fellow at NUS TMSI, “Using prior information, such as the idea of sparsity, is intuitive. It is something humans do all the time – we turn our understanding of reality into expectations that can speed up our inferences and decisions. For example, in the absence of other information, the human brain and vision system tend to assume that in an image, the light on an object will be falling from above.”
The effectiveness of the software was demonstrated when it was able to visualise information from a dolphin’s sonar echoes when scanning an object, as well as sonar signals produced by their compact sonar. A conventional approach to processing both sonar echoes resulted in noisy images. However, the novel processing approach gave better resolution and therefore sharper images. The software is also able to generate visualisations with a mere three clicks from the sonar, thus allowing it to be operationally fast.
HKSTP has entered a strategic partnership with a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company to position Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area as a leader in life science innovation and set an example for the region. This is the first collaboration between HKSTP and the life sciences corporation that encompasses technology and data sharing.
The two are committed to promoting life science innovation and healthcare policy. They aim to provide a robust platform and support for start-ups in Hong Kong and mainland China by creating an ecosystem for healthcare start-ups. The goal is to make the Greater Bay Area a leader in life science and healthcare innovation and serve as a model for the rest of China in terms of technology application and registration. Additionally, they hope to establish the GBA as a hub for talent and corporates in the Asia Pacific region.
The principal areas of collaboration are:
- Shaping Policy – A white paper to articulate policy recommendations, organising a public forum and a round-table for an in-depth discussion with government officials;
- Co-incubation program – providing the start-ups with support and guidance on science, strategy and marketing, and creating a platform for the start-ups and potential partners to network and exchange; and,
- Data collaboration – Fostering a conducive data-sharing environment in the STP Platform and among stakeholders; exploring synthetic data generation tools; promoting the “data collaboration” concept to the community.
The Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry was one of the witnesses to the Collaboration Agreement Signing Ceremony, he stated that the partnership aligns with the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Development Blueprint recently released.
With the strong support from the Central Government and the government’s commitment to I&T development, as well as Hong Kong’s unique advantages, the partnership will greatly contribute to the development of a world-class biomedical ecosystem in Hong Kong.
The CEO of HKSTP stated that the partnering firm is a global pharmaceutical leader with strong connections to business leaders, scientists, marketers, and investors globally. It is believed that the partnership will foster the development of more health talents and significantly speed up growth in our medical research, drug development, and clinical trial processes.
The Head of the firm’s China-based innovation centre stated that the company is so glad to see this collaboration happen. It is hoped that the partnership can bridge HK and other cities in China for more opportunities to exchange, collaborate and empower start-ups; accelerate conversion and commercialisation; and to bringing hope to patients in China.
The APAC Sub Region 3 Head of the firm’s diagnostics arm noted that Hong Kong has a great foundation of scientific research. The firm looks forward to this collaboration in advancing high-quality research work, building a platform for innovation and benefiting the Asian population as well as the rest of the world.
The launch ceremony was attended by various dignitaries including the Under Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry; the Commissioner for Innovation and Technology, the Head of APAC Area at the firm, the Head of the firm’s accelerator (CICoR), the General Manager, Hong Kong and Macau and Mr Ronald Lo, General Manager, at the firm’s Hong Kong and Macau diagnostics arms.
Recent research has found that the global life science analytics market size was valued at US$ 8.3 billion in 2021, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7% from 2022 to 2030. This growth is driven by the increasing adoption of analytics by the life science industry, which uses descriptive and reporting analysis for building databases and prescriptive and predictive analysis for predicting future trends and results.
The University of Hong Kong’s Department of Computer Science and the FinTech Academy, in partnership with the 150th Anniversary Community Foundation of a Hong Kong-based bank, have joined forces with the Strategic Centre for Research in Privacy-Preserving Technologies & Systems at the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore to establish the Virtual Asset Technology Consortium (VATC).
VATC’s aim is to gather experts from various fields such as academia, industry, user groups, and government organisations to share information and provide guidance on technical matters related to virtual assets.
The management board will be headed by the Associate Head of the Department of Computer Science at HKU and the Associate Director of the HKU-SCF FinTech Academy and will include professors from NTU and professionals from supporting units as members.
Creating a platform that elevates the technological advancements in the field of virtual assets
The virtual assets (or digital assets) industry has seen significant growth in recent years. This innovative technology has led to new methods for conducting financial transactions using digital tools. The market has demonstrated a positive response to the belief that virtual assets, both those issued by private entities and the government, will be an integral part of the worldwide monetary and economic system.
The Virtual Asset Technology Consortium has set out the following missions:
- Representation – Provide insights and advice on the technical aspects of virtual assets;
- Research – Foster R&D collaboration on virtual assets.
- Networking – Provide a platform for discussing the latest developments and trends of virtual assets and related FinTech technologies; and,
- Education – Organise seminars and other educational activities to enable the industry and the general public to acquire knowledge on technologies related to virtual assets.
Several organisations such as Cyberport Hong Kong, Hong Kong Blockchain Society, as well as banks, have already expressed their support for VATC to The University of Hong Kong. The Virtual Asset Technology Consortium (VATC) will be officially launched in Q2 2023 and welcomes experts and enthusiasts who are committed to promoting the stability and growth of virtual assets to join the consortium.
The growing market for Digital Asset Management (DAM)
Recent research found that the Digital Asset Management (DAM) market is expected to grow from US$4.2 billion in 2022 to US$8.0 billion by 2027, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.6% during the forecast period. This forecast suggests that the demand for DAM solutions is expected to increase rapidly in the coming years.
Several factors are expected to drive the growth of Digital Asset Management (DAM). Some of the key drivers for this growth include:
- The increasing need for digitalisation and the ability to quickly and easily collaborate with businesses on corporate assets;
- The growing demand for the authenticity and security of digital assets;
- The ability to easily upgrade, maintain and categorise digital assets, reducing production costs and improving resource allocation;
- The need for organisational transparency across different industries and business functions;
- The ability to increase conversion rates and retain customers; and,
- The need for brand consistency.
Digital Asset Management (DAM) services include consulting, integration, and implementation, as well as training, support, and maintenance services. These services are necessary at various stages of the process, including pre-sales requirement assessment, and post-sales product deployment and execution.
This allows clients to get the maximum return on investment (RoI) from their DAM solutions. The service providers offer guidance to end-users and assist them in integrating and deploying software that is tailored to their specific requirements.
A study conducted by Western Sydney University (WSU) discovered that adults with disabilities experienced a significant decrease in symptoms of anxiety, and depression and improved sensory processing after using Evenness Virtual Reality (VR) Sensory Space technology.
The study, published in the Nature Scientific Reports Journal, found that using the Evenness VR Sensory Space technology, which includes immersive interactive visual, auditory, and tactile experiences, led to significant improvements for adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities such as autism and intellectual disability.
The study, which lasted for five months, included 31 adults with different neurodevelopmental disabilities and their caregivers. The goal of the study was to assess the feasibility and potential health benefits of using Evenness VR technology as a therapeutic intervention tool.
According to Dr Caroline Mills, a Co-Lead researcher at Western Sydney University’s School of Health Sciences and Translational Health Research Institute, the positive results of using immersive VR technology in the disability sector have the potential to shape new practices for organizations that assist individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities.
The team’s findings have shown that VR technology may offer a promising avenue for the provision of sensory interventions and an effective calming tool, with the most prominent benefit reported by users being a reduction in anxiety.
Professor Danielle Tracey, a co-lead author from Western Sydney University’s School of Education and Translational Health Research Institute, believes that the Evenness VR Sensory Space technology could be effectively used as a clinical intervention.
The authors of the study acknowledged the preliminary nature of the research and stated their intention to conduct more comprehensive studies in the future to further understand the benefits of the technology and to ensure that it can be effectively implemented in real-world settings to help those in need. The study was conducted in collaboration with researchers from the University of Wollongong, in partnership with The Disability Trust and a tech company.
The Managing Director of the tech firm stated that the findings significantly support the evolution of the program. He noted that the team have allowed the company to improve and validate Evenness Sensory Space as they look to increase its positive impact on individuals, centres and communities around Australia.
According to the paper, the small-scale study was the first independent investigation of the Evenness VR Sensory Room. It had four core objectives:
- To identify the reported benefits of the Evenness VR Sensory Room and the impact according to the user’s age, disability, initial needs or VR participation rate;
- To evaluate the feasibility and implementation of the Evenness VR Sensory Room;
- To identify improvements to future iterations of the product and process; and,
- To understand the reported differences between the Evenness VR Sensory Room and the traditional physical sensory room.
The study adopted a single intervention pre-post mixed method design with 32 adults with disability participating in the Evenness VR Sensory Room.
Recent research has found that the virtual reality (VR) market is projected to expand from US$6.9 billion in 2021 to US$51.5 billion by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate of 25.1%. This rapid growth can be attributed, in part, to the lack of regulation in the VR sector.
VR technology is increasingly being utilised as a powerful tool for virtual events, as event planners use it to offer visitors engaging and diverse experiences by hosting events on virtual platforms and presenting them as VR experiences. The rising popularity of virtual events is driving the market growth.