The seventh Singapore Healthcare Management (SHM) congress on 15-17 August discussed various issues in healthcare, with a clear conclusion: healthcare has to change to deliver care that matters.

At his keynote presentation at Singapore Healthcare Management 2017, Dr Gary Kaplan (above) shared the transformational journey of the hospital he leads: When he became CEO of Virginia Mason Health System, USA, in the year 2000, the hospital was losing money, there was a high defect rate in patient care, its workforce is ageing, and the Institute of Medicine had just release a report that estimated up to 98,000 people each year die in hospitals due to human error.

Dr Kaplan took this as a sign that things had to change at Virginia Mason. He told his staff, "We change, or we die."

In 2002, Virginia Mason embarked on an ambitious, system-wide program to change the way it deliver healthcare and improve patient safety and quality. 15 years later, the struggling hospital in 2000 have become one that is recognised as a world leader in transforming health care – delivering better care at lower cost.  They did so by adopting principles of the Toyota Production System, and more importantly, changing the organisation from one that was physician-driven to one that is patient-driven.

This theme of delivering care that matters to the patients echoes what Mr Chan Heng Kee, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, focused on in his opening speech. He said, "For many patients, what is important is not being treated by the latest drugs, state-of-the-art interventions or most specialised professionals. What is important to them is the outcome they seek and value."

He concluded by encouraging all healthcare professionals, administrators, industry players and policy-makers to "Strive towards healthcare that delivers outcomes that matter to patients, healthcare that is scalable and sustainable, and healthcare that combines medical sciences with complementary disciplines."

The seventh SHM, held from 15 to 17 August 2017 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, saw more than 1,000 attendees from both public and private sectors and attracted more than 300 poster submissions, showcasing the impact made by healthcare administrators on the industry.

Local and international experts covered topics of leadership and change management in healthcare, talent development, analytics and big data, innovations in logistics and patient safety.

Here are some highlights from this year's SHM: