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Premier: New hospital at Normah specialist reflects tech-healthcare vision

By October 3, 2022October 17th, 2022No Comments

Premier: New hospital at Normah specialist reflects tech-healthcare vision By Marilyn Ten on October 3, 2022, Monday at 8:01 PM Sarawak Abang Johari signs the plaque to officially open NMSC’s new cardiovascular laboratory, with Dr Sim (left) and Abu Bakar (second right) looking on. — Photo by Roystein Emmor


KUCHING (Oct 3): Normah Medical Specialist Centre (NMSC) would soon see the addition of a new hospital following Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg’s vision of integrating technology into the state’s healthcare sector.

The Premier of Sarawak said the new hospital building would be well-equipped with state-of-the art facilities.

“We are getting specialists to help us in terms of how the building should be constructed and what are the IT facilities and best medical equipment that must be equipped in that building,” he announced when officiating at the launch of NMSC’s new CT scanner, high-tech cardiac catheterisation system, and MRI scanner at the hospital here yesterday.

Abang Johari said his plan to transform NMSC came following a recent trip to Italy where he witnessed the interactions between doctors and surgeons in Italy and the US who used augmented reality and virtual reality to treat patients.

“They used virtual reality to spot where diseases are and to find solutions to problems faced by patients.

“That is why I believe in technology in medical care and I’m pleased to inform that we want to transform Normah that way,” he said.

Abang Johari also announced that with the new NMSC building, a hotel would be constructed next to it to provide accommodation to patients and their family members or those accompanying them.

“As for the location, we need a hospital that is friendly to the environment while also providing a comfortable space for patients not only during their treatment but also post-treatment.

“But I assure you today that I’m going to build a new Normah building and it will be a state-of-the-art hospital. This will cost a lot of money but don’t worry, I will find it,” he said.

(From right) An official briefs Abang Johari, Dr Sim and Abu Bakar on the new equipment during their visit to one of the laboratories at the NMSC. — Photo by Roystein Emmor

Earlier in his speech, the Premier said the Sarawak government would be increasingly integrating NSMC with an artificial intelligence (AI) system, which could deliver better healthcare for all by increasing effectiveness.

“When we adopt the power of AI in predictive medicine, we can predict a disease earlier; clinicians can diagnose and intervene sooner; and the impact of the disease could be reduced, resulting in better patient well-being,” he said, adding that with the invasion of AI, admission cases could also be cut down, thus reducing clinician shortage and burnout.

He said the state’s current healthcare system had been set up to treat patients who already had health issues, and they would be treated based on their symptoms.

“This reactive approach incurs huge cost, time and resources. We need to change this approach.

“The future of healthcare is in prevention rather than cure. Innovations such as robot, digital and AI are trusted ‘physician’s assistants’ where one of its potentials is to help people to stay healthy so they don’t need a doctor, or at least not as often,” he said.

Envisioning AI to be the future in medical advancement, Abang Johari said AI should be incorporated into hospital medical services and managements as it could provide precise data, help record data efficiently and protect internal medical legal issues.

“The future is to incorporate AI into medical procedures, medical equipment and medical treatment. I believe AI in medical science provides more than just treatment. We are talking about treatment efficacy, treatment monitoring and patient’s safety using AI,” he said, noting that the latest MRI scanner, cardiac catheterisation system and CT scanner at NMSC all had AI incorporated into them.

“That is the reason for these sets of equipment to excel beyond just providing medical images. We are now talking about accuracy, precision and big computer data for reconstruction of high resolution images and even looking into functions of the human organs.

“I am proud to know that Normah will be the first hospital in Borneo to incorporate robotic intelligence in rehabilitation. This rehab therapy uses cyborg to assist people with paralysis or weakening limbs due to injuries or disorders to the central nervous system such as spinal cord injury, stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and neurodegenerative diseases to regain the ability to walk again.

“The robot suit improves, supports and enhances the wearer’s limb mobility via cybernics technology that combines interactions between man, machine and information,” he said.

Also present were Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, State Secretary Dato Sri Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki, and NMSC managing director and chief executive officer Dato Dr Au Yong Kien Hoe.