​A group of close to 40 Singapore Management University (SMU) students had the rare opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes peek at hospital operations in Singapore General Hospital (SGH) on 30 July 2018.

The students, who are from SMU's various schools such as School of Accountancy, School of Social Sciences and School of Economics, from freshmen to final year students, were first given an introduction to SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC by Group Chief Operating Officer, Mr Tan Jack Thian.

Then came the highlight where, in the short span of just over an hour, the students visited the various SGH facilities such as the Kitchen, the Facilities Management Command Centre, the Warehouse and more!

Check out the photos of the visit below!

Singapore Management University (SMU) students in SGH

The Bed Management Unit was abuzz with activity on a Monday afternoon as students witnessed first-hand how beds were allocated in a hospital. The bed management system in SGH is integrated with radio frequency technology to automate several manual processes which helps to cut patients' waiting time for a hospital bed. Each of the 6 staff on duty had three monitors in front of them as they monitored real-time information on patient's bed request, location, current bed status and the overall hospital's bed occupancy.

Once a bed is vacated, it would be cleaned before it is ready to receive the next patient. The colour of the bed icon in the system would change to green and the nursing staff at the various sources of admission would prepare to send the patient to the ward, all without the need to call the ward or house keeper or staff at the Bed Management Unit.  The result? Patients' waiting for a bed is reduced from 8 to 10 hours to just about a 2-hour wait on average!

Singapore Management University (SMU) students in SGH
The Facilities Management Command Centre, with its warm lighting and carpeted floor may look cosy and lull you into a sense of calm but the students found out that the issues the staff deals with are anything but that. Handling more than 300 calls and emails each day, the issues and requests run the gamut from the mundane to the necessary such as feedback on temperatures being too hot or too cold as well as critical and urgent notifications such as power outages, fire outbreaks and even the rare but occasional fallen tree causing road obstruction. All in all, nothing is too small or too big for our FM Command Centre colleagues to resolve, and satisfactorily at that!
Singapore Management University (SMU) students in SGH

At the 500-square metres SGH Warehouse, up to  1,000 medical consumable items such as syringes, cotton gauze, personal protection equipment, gas cylinders etc are stored. While this amount of consumables may seem huge, in reality, it typically only lasts for three days before it needs to be replenished!  

Three SMU students share with us what they gleaned from the tour, and what they found most exciting:

Singapore Management University (SMU) students in SGH




Kok Jim Meng
2nd year student, School of Information System, SMU


"I was most impressed by the robots in the pharmacy. It's also very interesting to find out how the logistics team works in delivering medications and care in time. The bed management unit and its dashboard, which helps solve the bed crunch problem, really showed how analytics play an important role in healthcare."


Singapore Management University (SMU) students in SGH




Christel Seah
1st year student, School of Information System, SMU


"The tour gave me an understanding on how the bed management unit in a hospital can prioritise the assigning of beds to the most important cases, and reduce waiting time for patients. I learnt that the hospital can track patients' movements with a tracking device – I'm interested to find out how the data can be used further."


Singapore Management University (SMU) students in SGH




Trudi Khoo
1st year student, School of Economics, SMU


"The tour was exciting, as I got to learn about the support roles of administrators in healthcare, especially the role of the project manager. I was most impressed by the emergency response control room in SGH and the wide scope of things they manage. Considering the expansion of the campus, and the addition of the community hospital, I'm interested in finding out how it will affect the control room!"