Singapore, 16 September 2022 – The SingHealth Duke-NUS Education Conference 2022 was held today at the Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium, Academia, on the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Campus, with Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health & Ministry of Communications and Information, as its Guest-of-Honour.

At the event’s opening ceremony, SMS Janil witnessed the inking of a five-year Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between SingHealth and the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) which will drive new innovation initiatives for healthcare and advance practice-oriented healthcare education for students. This is part of the organisations’ efforts to focus on equipping the current and future healthcare workforce with the latest skills and knowledge, and empower them in leveraging innovation and technology to address national healthcare challenges and deliver value-based care for Singapore’s ageing population. 

Expanding healthcare capabilities through practice-oriented education

The SingHealth-SIT MOU is an extension of an ongoing partnership, which was first established in 2016 between the two parties, to provide learning and research opportunities for SIT students. The MOU will include several new areas of collaboration focused on practice-oriented education and innovation. Firstly, it will explore the co-development of new graduate diploma and certificate courses for nurses, allied health professionals; and healthcare system engineers that have an emphasis on design thinking, automation and artificial intelligence. These skills can be applied in a clinical context to benefit patient care. 

Next, apart from training healthcare professionals, the partnership will drive interdisciplinary innovation programmes to support crucial areas of healthcare, such as augmenting nursing manpower and enhancing population health. These programmes will employ holistic healthcare systems engineering approaches including the integrated use of robotics, workflow automation, green and lean infrastructure design, among others, to streamline processes, optimise resources and alleviate workload for a smoother care delivery experience and expand capabilities in preventive health initiatives.  

Co-creating innovative solutions to healthcare challenges

Another key facet of this partnership is the experimentation and co-development of new healthcare innovations. SingHealth’s Medical Technology Office and SIT’s Applied Research Office and Design Factory@SIT, a design-led innovation centre situated at SIT, will facilitate opportunities for SIT students and faculty members to work with SingHealth innovators on tackling real-world healthcare challenges through applied research and innovation. Participants can jointly apply for grants to undertake projects which can then be adopted and scaled for implementation in the clinical setting. SIT students will gain an in-depth understanding on actual ground clinical issues and needs and get hands-on experience in designing innovative solutions for change. At the same time, healthcare innovators will gain fresh ideas and industry-related perspectives from SIT faculty and students to better address healthcare challenges.

Lastly, the idea of developing a co-shared “Living Laboratory” in the community will be explored when the SIT campus in the Punggol Digital District is operational in 2024. It will facilitate healthcare innovation design, prototyping and testing in the community space, gain useful insights for wider adoption and make innovation facilities and resources more readily accessible to healthcare innovators.

Professor Ivy Ng, Group CEO, SingHealth, said, “As Singapore’s population ages and our healthcare needs increase, we must build a strong pipeline of healthcare professionals who are not only well-trained clinically, but also equipped with the right skillsets to galvanise innovation and technological advances to overcome current and future healthcare issues. SingHealth is glad to partner with SIT to deepen and broaden the capabilities of our healthcare community and to nurture the next generation of healthcare professionals. I am confident that our partnership will play an important role in building a healthcare workforce adept at innovating solutions for tomorrow’s challenges and in developing impactful solutions to improve the way we deliver healthcare.”

“The extension of the collaboration between SingHealth and SIT builds on our on-going fruitful partnership that has benefited healthcare students and staff from both institutions. We are excited that this extension adds new graduate diploma and certificate courses to our healthcare programme offerings, as well as opportunities for SIT students and faculty members to work with SingHealth innovators to tackle real-world healthcare issues through innovation. As Singapore’s University of Applied Learning, we produce graduates who are equipped with advanced technological skill sets to support the local healthcare sector,” said SIT President Professor Chua Kee Chaing.

Recognising Outstanding Healthcare Educators 

The SingHealth Duke-NUS Education Conference 2022 also recognised outstanding healthcare educators through the Academic Medicine Education Institute (AMEI) Golden Apple Awards 2022. The annual awards honours clinicians, nurses, allied health professionals and healthcare administrators who have demonstrated excellence in teaching healthcare professionals, and who have raised the standards of healthcare education and training. This year, 11 healthcare educators and 4 teams received awards across four award categories – the Generativity Award, Outstanding Educator Award, Outstanding Young Educator Award, and Programme Excellence Award categories. This year’s winners include those who went the extra mile to inspire others amid the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

About the SingHealth Duke-NUS Education Conference 2022

Organised by the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre, the SingHealth Duke-NUS Education Conference is a bi-annual signature healthcare education event that brings together thought leaders and healthcare educators both locally and around the region to advance education and training for tomorrow’s healthcare needs. 

Themed ‘Reinvigorating Healthcare Education: Connecting Hearts, Cultivating Minds’, this year’s Conference is the first since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to reconnect and refocus hearts and minds of healthcare professionals and empower them to shape and strengthen healthcare education in an endemic world. More than 900 delegates gathered physically and virtually to discover the latest trends in patient and clinical education, exchange best practices and share experiences about raising healthcare education standards for better patient outcomes.