• The survival of patients depends on optimal health service functions at different stages of an emergency.
• A new centre launched by the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre will work with the Ministry of Health’s Unit for Pre-hospital Emergency Care, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) to elevate the nation’s pre-hospital emergency care system to ensure the best possible patient outcomes.
Emergency care covers a range of services that span the care provided by laypersons at the scene, pre-hospital care by SCDF’s Emergency Medical Services, to the medical care provided in a dedicated trauma facility – between these stages lie the transportation systems, health centres and first-level hospitals that respond to the emergency. Patients’ survival depends on how well each component functions.
Singapore’s first-of-its-kind Pre-hospital and Emergency Research Centre (PERC) was officially launched at Duke-NUS Medical School on Wednesday, 9 September 2020. Established through a collaboration of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre, PERC marshals top experts in the field to elevate Singapore’s pre-hospital emergency care system through the integration of pre-hospital, in-hospital, and community care with robust research techniques and real-world clinical data. PERC will work with the Ministry of Health’s Unit for Pre-hospital Emergency Care, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and SCDF to elevate the nation’s pre-hospital emergency care system to ensure the best possible patient outcomes.
“Emergency care covers a range of services, from the care provided by laypersons at the scene to that provided in a dedicated emergency facility,” said Professor Marcus Ong, Director of Duke-NUS’ Health Services and Systems Research Programme, which hosts the Centre. “Between these two stages lie what we call the ‘chain of survival’ – patient survival depends on how well each component functions.”
With a multi-disciplinary perspective from various fields such as medicine, paramedicine, public health, statistics, epidemiology, computer science, artificial intelligence, health economics, social sciences, psychology, industrial engineering, and global health, PERC will also be a unique academic centre that serves as a national and regional resource on the field of pre-hospital emergency care and research.
The launch event convened experts from the University of Michigan, MHA, SCDF, and the National University Health System (NUHS), who presented their research and strategies on improving pre-hospital and emergency care in Singapore and beyond. The roster of speakers included Professor Robert Neumar, from the University of Michigan (presenting on “How to Develop a World-class Pre-hospital and Emergency Research Program”), Professor Scott Compton, Associate Dean, Duke-NUS, (presenting on “PERC: to Fulfil an Unmet Need in Singapore”), and Professor Marcus Ong, Director, Health Services and Systems Research Programme, Duke-NUS (presenting on “Future Plans for PERC”).
The speaking session was followed by a panel discussion on the topic, “Emerging Needs of Pre-hospital and Emergency Care in Singapore” that included the following expert panellists: Dr Ng Yih Yng, Chief Medical Officer, MHA; Colonel (Dr) Shalini Arulanandam, Chief Medical Officer, SCDF; and Dr Benjamin Leong, Assistant Professor, NUHS.
“Increasing evidence indicates the benefits of a well-functioning pre-hospital care system. To develop and enhance the capacity to provide effective emergency care, it is essential to view such care in the context of the overall health system rather than as a discrete and independent silo,” said Professor Ong, who also serves as PERC’s Director. “PERC will be focused on advancing research in Pre-hospital and Emergency fields, and improving Singapore’s pre-hospital emergency care system for the betterment of the professionals in this field and the patients they serve.”