31 October 2022, SINGAPORE – Visitors to the hospital wards at SingHealth Tower and Outram Community Hospital (OCH) can now look forward to a smoother registration experience. Instead of having to register onsite and scan their National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) or Digital IC in the Singpass app at security gantries, they can register online ahead of their visit. At the gantries, a new automatic facial recognition solution will admit registered visitors directly. This is the first time such a technology is being applied in a healthcare setting in Singapore.

This convenient and contactless process is made possible with the new Facial Recognition Automated Visitor Management System (FRAVMS) launched by SingHealth and the Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS). The system is being piloted at SingHealth Tower and OCH, with plans for it to be eventually rolled out to the rest of SingHealth’s institutions.

The six-month FRAVMS pilot was launched on 5 September 2022 and is expected to benefit more than 300 visitors daily.

How FRAVMS works

Using their mobile phones or personal devices, visitors can register their visit on SingHealth’s website beforehand. During the registration, the visitor inputs the key information required and uploads a selfie photograph, which is then sent securely to the FRAVMS at SingHealth and retained for the duration of the patient’s admission. On the day of the visit, visitors can confirm their identities by having their faces scanned by the camera at the gantry, which also detects their body temperatures to ascertain if they are physically well to enter the premises. They are automatically granted entry to the wards if their facial data and identities match and if they are within the healthy body temperature range.

The FRAVMS facilitates a smoother and more efficient visitor registration process. Individuals save time from not having to queue to register at the hospital’s registration counters or e-kiosks. Additionally, the entire process is contactless, eliminating the need for individuals to interact with counter staff or use touchscreens at the e-kiosks. This is ideal for infection control and mitigates viral transmission, especially during a pandemic.

“We are glad to offer visitors to our wards the convenience that this new system brings, so that they can have a more pleasant visiting experience in the hospital,” said Mr Tan Jack Thian, Group Chief Operating Officer, SingHealth. “Operationally, we can also expect a smoother flow of visitors during visitation hours since NRIC-scanning will not be required at the gantries. Meanwhile, we continue to offer the usual methods of registration at the counters or e-kiosks for visitors who may need more time to familiarise themselves with the online registration process, or for those who prefer registering their visit manually.”

For security, the cameras at the hospital’s gantries are equipped with depth sensor capabilities to ensure that the face being scanned is of a person who is physically present and not a mere photograph or video recording. Scans of photographs or video recordings will not be granted entry. The cameras are also able to identify visitors even when they wear a face mask.

“The integration with Singpass is a key component of this pilot, enabling visitors to quickly and securely register their visit,” said Mr Ong Leong Seng, Deputy Chief Executive, IHiS. “Despite the addition of enhanced security features, we have reduced the time taken to register to just five simple contactless steps, saving visitors about 10 minutes per registration.”