Patient journey within both Centres provide suite of services to manage and treat orthopaedic and spine conditions, and eye disorders in children

Singapore, 19 March 2021 – As the largest hospital for paediatric healthcare in Singapore, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) has launched its own Musculoskeletal Centre (MSC) and Eye Centre. As one-stop facilities from early and preventive care to management of orthopaedic and spine, as well as eye conditions, these Centres are designed to delight young and teenage patients, and to make their KKH visits with caregivers fuss-free.

Musculoskeletal Centre

At KKH, the average yearly attendance of children and adolescents with orthopaedic and spine conditions is around 34,000. These conditions include bone fractures, scoliosis, cerebral palsy and limb deformities. The MSC serves to help many of these school-going patients optimise their developmental growth potential and improve their quality of life.

To facilitate a seamless continuum of care for these patients, a complementary suite of services and facilities are housed within the MSC. Other than its specialist clinics and facilities in diagnostic and interventional imaging, the MSC’s Paediatric Sports and Exercise Medicine practice and the Paediatric Orthotic Centre are unique to KKH, with in-house specialists and an on-site workshop to fabricate personalised assistive devices for patients with limb and spine conditions.

Patient safety is paramount in paediatric care. At the MSC, patient examination time is cut by half with the EOS Connect Imaging System that produces a high-quality image with 50 per cent less radiation, compared to conventional imaging systems.

For patients needing surgical intervention to correct scoliosis, the 7D Machine-vision Image Guided Surgery (MvIGS) system is powered by artificial intelligence and used only at KKH in Singapore. Surgical navigation using this system is radiation-free, unlike conventional surgical methods. This takes safety to a new level for both young patients and healthcare teams as the operating theatre no longer needs to be outfitted with expensive lead insulation. There is minimal blood loss and shorter, more efficient surgery, which translate to reduced risks and faster recovery.

"Establishment of the Musculoskeletal Centre at KKH has set a new standard for orthopaedic and spine care in children. By siting the services and facilities on one campus, the MSC has brought together various specialists to provide holistic management for children with these conditions," said Associate Professor Arjandas S/O Mahadev, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Eye Centre

The Eye Centre at KKH sees a yearly average of 22,000 visits from young and adolescent patients.

Common paediatric eye diseases and conditions seen at the Eye Centre at KKH include amblyopia, childhood strabismus, retinopathy of prematurity and childhood refractive errors (including management of myopia progression). The multi-disciplinary team at the Eye Centre also manages the more severe eye conditions like congenital ocular abnormalities, childhood cataracts and ocular tumours.

Singapore has one of the highest prevalence of myopia in the world. Eight out of 10 children are likely to be wearing glasses by Primary 6.1 It is projected that by 2050, there will be a significant increase in myopic Singaporeans, with 80 to 90 per cent of all Singaporeans aged above 18 expected to be myopic.2 People who are highly myopic are at a greater risk of developing early cataract, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retina detachment later in life. To address growing concerns about childhood myopia, the Eye Centre at KKH provides treatment to help monitor and control myopia progression and related complications.

Designed as a full-service paediatric eye care and management facility and equipped with a wide range of imaging and diagnostic equipment, the Eye Centre gives patients access to specialists in ophthalmology, optometry, orthoptics, oculoplastics, neuro-ophthalmology and cornea service.

"Early diagnosis and management is important to ensure the best possible visual outcome for many children. At the Eye Centre, we hope to provide complete, coordinated diagnosis and treatment of paediatric eye disorders to help all children achieve their full vision potential," said Dr Deborah Tan, Head and Consultant, Ophthalmology Service, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Patient- and child-friendly space

Besides the patient-centred care by the multi-disciplinary teams at the Centres, patient experience is key. Carefully thought-out design features to accommodate the types of patients seen at both Centres were taken into account during the refurbishment of the Centres.

At the MSC, patients were involved in its conceptualisation stage. They were surveyed on their preferences and suggestions on improvements. The final design features adopted in the MSC include wider doors for ease of wheelchair use, placement of computer screens on mobile brackets for patients to comfortably view radiological images with their doctors, and improvement of patient flow with separate areas for patients waiting to see doctors, plaster technicians and radiologists.

At the Eye Centre, patients feel more comfortable and welcome the larger consultation rooms and a more spacious waiting area. The rooms are also designed to facilitate smooth patient flow where the patient undergoes eye tests at an area before moving to other areas to receive further tests, without leaving the Eye Centre.

As part of the holistic patient care offered at KKH, the hospital has also streamlined the registration and billing processes for patients at both Centres. Patients with follow-up appointments can utilise the self-registration kiosks, and make payment at the clinic kiosks or online via a weblink after their visit.

KKH also worked with The Walt Disney Company to put up engaging murals featuring Disney’s beloved stories and characters. Each mural was specially designed to reduce the anxiety of a hospital visit by reimagining the space and bringing patients into the vibrant environments of Disney’s classic stories. This initiative is part of Disney’s USD100 million global commitment to reimagine the patient journey in children’s hospitals and deliver comfort and inspiration to young patients and their families.

"Patient experience is an integral part of healthcare that has taken on growing importance. To complement the delivery of medical care at KKH’s Musculoskeletal Centre and Eye Centre, we have integrated other aspects of healthcare delivery to further enhance patient experience and these include well-thought-out clinic features, streamlined processes, as well as creation of a conducive environment with child- and family-friendly murals,” said Mr Alson Goh, Chief Operating Officer, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

1 Global prevalence of myopia and high myopia and temporal trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology 2016 May;123(5):1036-42

2 Myopia among schoolchildren in East Asia and Singapore. Surv Opthalmology 2017 Sep-Oct;62(5):677-697