Datasonic proposes to build medical database

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KUALA LUMPUR: Datasonic Group Bhd has plans in the pipeline to sustain its double-digit profit growth, and they include implementing a centralised system to collate the medical records of Malaysians to be stored in their identity cards, plus an integrated information system for all public hospitals to share patient data.

Speaking to the media after the group’s annual general meeting yesterday, Datasonic chairman General Tan Sri Dr Mohamed Hashim Mohd Ali said the group has proposed to the government to install electronic medical records (EMR) into MyKads.

“It makes sense for the MyKad to encrypt a person’s health information inside. We are looking into an EMR, where we will use the MyKad to link to a database,” Mohamed Hashim said.

To ensure that public hospitals can make use of the EMR, Mohamed Hashim said Datasonic has proposed to install a hospital information system (HIS) in the institutions.

“As far as we are concerned, we have the software [for HIS] ready if we get the green light from the government. When all the hospitals have HIS, the process of conducting check-ups will become more efficient; it’ll cut down the long queues and doctors will have all the records at their disposal,” he said.

Mohamed Hashim said back in the late 1990s, the government spent about RM1 billion to install HIS in public medical institutions but it was not able to install the system in all the hospitals.

A check on the ministry of health’s website showed that there are 139 public hospitals throughout the country. According to Mohamed Hashim, more than 80% of the hospitals require HIS installation.

Apart from dabbling in healthcare, Datasonic is also looking to augment its video monitoring system (VMS) business, which can help to improve traffic flow and reduce the crime rate.

Datasonic had previoulsy signed an agreement with the Municipal Council of Penang Island to supply, install and maintain closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) on Penang island.

Mohamed Hashim said Datasonic is now looking to provide similar services to other states.

“The revenue contribution from this business is small currently. But it is our objective to grow our top and bottom lines by double digits every year,” he said.

As for Datasonic’s core business of supplying polycarbonate cards, Mohamed Hashim said the group is content with the latest two contracts from the federal government to provide 14 million MyKads up to June 2016. In total, the contracts are valued at RM292.2 million.

“We have to produce four million MyKads until July this year and an additonal 10 million within two years’ time,” he said.

Mohamed Hashim also confirmed a report by The Edge weekly that Datasonic was one of the interested bidders for the government-owned Percetakan Nasional Malaysia Bhd (PNMB), with other suitors being Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary’s Sutera Bakti Sdn Bhd and Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd.

“Yes, the report is true. We are very serious in wanting to take over PNMB. Currently, we are still waiting for the government to announce its decision,” Mohamed Hashim said.

The reason Datasonic has set its sights on PNMB is because the printing company also produces cards for foreign workers, dubbed the I-Kad.

“We are confident we can value-add to the business. We have the expertise and the right people for it,” Mohamed Hashim said.

Earlier this year, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said about 2.3 million foreign workers are required to obtain the I-Kad by the end of this year.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 28, 2014.