SGH Division of Medicine (DOM) has 17 Departments with about 600 doctors and an administrative team of about 75 staff to support various DOM functions such as clinical services, innovation, quality improvement, undergraduate education, residency education, faculty development, academic appointment & medical humanities.

COVID19 disrupted normal work patterns of the admin staff and they were forced to pivot to be familiar with new systems, ways of working and data processing skills. Many had to adapt to new processes and acquire technology know how quickly, to address work demands.

Solution Planning & Scope

The planning team scanned the landscape of these new work demands and assessed relevant skills to address current work needs. The team then decided to plan a programme to: 
  1. Raise awareness and develop urgency to learn and apply;
  2. Provide an avenue to seek consult;
  3. Offer resources to solve skills gap;
  4. Design a continuous education plan to encourage self directed learning of digital skills; and
  5. Introduce Quality Improvement thinking to cultivate the right mindset among staff and adopt technology as work enablers.

Innovation and Strategy for Change

Programme innovation was apparent since it was possibly one of the leading digital workforce development initiatives in SGH and focused heavily on process innovation to transform work processes. Strategies for change to support the programme objectives include the following:

1. DOM eLearning Programme 
Launched in October 2020 using SingHealth eLearning System, targeted mostly at new hires, and general DOM staff too. This programme was designed as an entry point for all staff on the need to digitalise work content, which is accessible anywhere and at any time.

2. DOM Digital Skills Sharing Programme
Launched in June 2020 and targeted at all DOM admin staff who were interested to learn digital skills and productivity hacks, delivered over Zoom. These sharing sessions were recorded and listed in our intranet for staff to be able to access the resources to learn or refresh the contents again. Furthermore, these resources were shared to other Divisions like SingHealth Graduate Medical Education Office.

3. QI Education Programme
The QI Education Programme was launched with both synchronous and asynchronous modalities for all faculty, junior doctors and admin staff to be engaged in continuous learning of QI. In addition, the DOM Education (EDU) admin team incorporated QI into team learning where teams would present on QI topics and gamified to spur learning and participation.

4. DOM RPA Community Programme
3 RPA Champions attended training and received mentorship. 3 main steps were taken to actualise plan:
  1. Work redesigning and ringfencing time for staff.
  2. Seeking opportunities to improve, communicate and engage staff on work transformation.
  3. Building capacity by developing customised training programme and identifying potential staff.
5. University Partnership Innovation Programme
Staff were encouraged to think out of the box and explore ideas with the University students (NUS & to develop digital prototypes or solutions that could change and transform the way we work for the better.

Measurement of Improvement

1. Digital Skills Sharing Programme

Encouraging attendances and Positive staff feedback were received, mainly on relevance, applicability, gaining new skills and better productivity at work.

2. Quality Improvement (QI) Projects

~58% Reduction in Turnaround Time

3. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Projects

~96% Reduction in Turnaround Time

4. University Partnership Innovation Projects

9 Staff Involved in just Two Years

Outcomes and Experiences

Developing a digital workforce requires several essential conditions in place, namely strong leadership, passionate team members, relevant curated content, communications, supportive structures, necessary resources and opportunities to learn and apply. Cadence can be achieved through regular evaluation and improvement implementation to programme planning and delivery.

As demonstrated, the programme impact is apparent and beneficial for work and staff outcomes.