In 1997, our country envisioned the future healthcare system will be supported and strengthened by telemedicine – the provision of healthcare services using telecommunications, information and multimedia technologies. Through the seamless and ubiquitous availability of information and other services, telemedicine will dramatically reshape the delivery of healthcare. Information and other services will become more virtual, more distributed and more integrated, resulting in better, more timely and more efficient healthcare delivery. This was our Malaysia’s Telemedicine Blueprint – Telemedicine Flagship Application, one of the components of the Multimedia Super Corridor applications and our Vision 2020.
One of the flagship applications, is the Lifetime Health Plan, which consists of three sub-applications namely Clinical Support System (CSS); Healthcare Information Management and Support Services (HIMSS); and Personalised Lifetime Health Plan (PLHP). The MySejahtera application that is now on all our smartphones may be the missing link, at least it can be part of the PLHP.
Using the MySejahtera application to scan in before we enter any premises in Malaysia has become like second nature to all. Along with the MySJ Tracer application within MySejahtera, it forms a good application for contact tracing. The application has also been excellent in notifying close and casual contacts. This has reduced the work of the healthcare workers at the district health office. The MySejahtera is also good to keep our vaccination record. All this is possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has become a very powerful application to track and trace people. In the current COVID-19 pandemic people are still able to accept the trade-off of personal privacy with community safety.
The Minister of Health has also suggested that MySejahtera include the options to allow people to sign in as Organ Donors. Some netizens have suggested MySejahtera to add a blood donation feature, or for the app to be a one-stop health app used to consult with doctors online, receive treatment and medicines, and make insurance claims.
Currently, many people are very excited about the mobile app, however, the situation may change when the pandemic dies down and people will be more reluctant to use the MySejahtera.
Moving beyond this, we need to consider carefully the implications of adding more features to the MySejahtera. Firstly, there should be a guarantee that the information will be used for the benefit of the individual and all Rakyat in the form of a strong Act. This is to ensure that the application is not missed used for commercial or personal gain of people in power. We need to ensure that we the Rakyat continues to enjoy our privacy.
If we have this in place, then MySejahtera can be enhanced to be our Super Health Application – our Lifetime Health Plan. The lifetime health records that we have been trying to develop in the past few decades will be a reality. All our health records are at the tip of the finger.
On another note, to increase the number of organ donors in the country, the proposal to use the MySejahtera application may not be sufficient. To become an organ donor is a very personal decision as it is related to death, religion, and family. Many people are not opting in to be organ donors because it is so final and there is no personal gain.
Using the MySejahtera application may be too impersonal and will not change the current situation. Instead, the organ donation laws in the country should be amended to opt-out rather than opting in approaches like in Argentina, Colombia, and the UK. Our current approach is opt-in, which means everyone has to sign in to be an organ donor. The opt-out approach instead means everyone is an organ donor unless they opt-out. If our laws change, then the MySejahtera application will be good to convince people to stay as organ donors.
The article was part of the interview by Tharanya Arumugam from the News Straits Times and was published in two articles “Opt-out system can boast organ donation” and “Address MySejahtera issues first“.
Written by Prof Dr Victor CW Hoe