• First-of-its-kind Health Economics and Management second major to commence in January 2019 with planned class of 45 undergraduates

Singapore, 14 August 2018 – SingHealth and the Singapore Management University (SMU) are embarking on a partnership to train the university’s undergraduates in the new Health Economics and Management (HEM) second major. Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health witnessed the inking of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the partners today at the opening ceremony of the Singapore Healthcare Management Congress.

The collaboration, which aims to nurture a pipeline of local graduates who are equipped with knowledge in healthcare administration, is the first-of-its-kind in Singapore.

Commencing in January 2019, the programme is open to all SMU students in their first or second year of study. The curriculum, jointly curated by SMU and SingHealth, covers areas that are of increasing importance in the healthcare sector including Health Systems and Policy, Applied Analytics in Healthcare Management, Operations and Supply Chain Management as well as Medical Sociology. (Refer to Annex for the full list of modules)

Beyond the classroom setting, students will undergo a 10-week or six-month internship programme at SingHealth’s healthcare institutions.

Professor Ivy Ng, Group Chief Executive Officer, SingHealth, said, “The internship will provide the students with opportunities to observe what they have learnt in school being applied in practice in real-life healthcare settings. More importantly, they will acquire valuable hands-on experience to prepare them to be effective healthcare administrators under the guidance and mentorship of our experienced healthcare staff. We are excited to partner SMU in this important endeavor to groom the next generation of healthcare administrators, who will play a critical role in shaping the future of healthcare.”

Prof Lily Kong, SMU Provost and Lee Kong Chian Chair Professor of Social Sciences, said: “SMU is delighted to partner with SingHealth to incorporate practice-based learning in the new major in Health Economics and Management. Our close collaboration presents an opportunity for students to learn best practices and work on real industry challenges in SingHealth’s vast network of healthcare institutions. In line with SMU’s strong emphasis on experiential learning, this work-based learning programme equips students with practical skills and knowledge, valuable first-hand experience of the healthcare environment, and enriches their understanding of the industry’s multi-faceted demands and opportunities.”

This is the second formal training partnership between SingHealth and SMU. In 2009, the SMU-SingHealth Graduate Diploma in Healthcare Management & Leadership was launched to groom healthcare leaders by equipping them with healthcare management and business leadership skills. To date, 216 clinicians and healthcare administrators from Singapore and the region have graduated from the programme. This year will see the 10th cohort of 22 participants undergo the 5 month programme from June to October 2018.

Singapore Healthcare Management Congress 2018

The MOU was signed at the opening ceremony of the 8th Singapore Healthcare Management Congress, held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre. More than 1,400 healthcare administrators from Singapore and the region will attend the three-day congress from 14-16 August 2018.

The annual event is the leading platform in the region for healthcare administrators to share best practices in hospital operations, supply chain management, risk management, human resource, service quality, finance and healthcare communications.

This year, a record number of 438 posters were submitted by participating institutions including Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, National University Hospital, Farrer Park Hospital as well as institutions under the SingHealth Group. The projects showcase a wide range of innovative practices which have resulted in cost savings, greater efficiency as well as improvements in patient experience and satisfaction.


Annex - Details on Planned Modules under the Health Economics and Management Second Major

A. Compulsory Courses

Health Systems and Policy (co-taught by SingHealth faculty)

This course will examine the diversity of healthcare systems around the world in terms of governance, provision, financing and ownership. Singapore’s healthcare system and its evolution will be examined in depth to highlight the health promotion and healthcare philosophies and strategies. This course will also cover the trends in the causes of morbidity and how the demographic transition is likely to affect their relative importance and overall healthcare costs, particularly in a rapidly ageing society such as Singapore’s. With respect to the issue of healthcare costs, matters of quality and efficiency of healthcare service delivery will be discussed.

Healthcare Management (co-taught by SingHealth faculty)

Topics covered will include the definition, measurement, management and strategic planning of the quality of healthcare services and approaches to paying for healthcare. There will be an investigation of ways to make service delivery more efficient by improving systems and controls and utilising advanced IT systems. The course will also cover the key management principles for preparedness in the event of major disease outbreaks and their control. Besides health risk management in crisis, students will learn strategies and methods for managing public media and containing the level of public anxiety until the situation returns to normalcy. Under strategic planning, the human resource aspects, and interface management between clinicians and administrators will be discussed.

Health Economics

This course is an introduction to the economics of health and healthcare. Economic concepts and principles are applied to analyse the relationship between healthcare and health outcomes, and to evaluate healthcare policies and their effects. Other topics include the principles underlying the pricing of health insurance; the economic behaviours of physicians, hospitals and pharmaceuticals; market analysis for healthcare industries; the role of government in the provision of healthcare; and issues in healthcare system reform.

Introductory Data Analytics in Healthcare

This course introduces students to fundamental concepts in data analytics and big data management for making potential impact on the healthcare industry. Health-related data may be collected from different sources, including patients, hospitals, insurance companies, households, and government. Students will learn how to organise and visualise the data and how to extract useful information for better provision of healthcare services. The course will include hands-on analysis of health data on different applications, including risk factor analysis, quality of care assessment, medical diagnosis, treatment effect analysis, healthcare operations management, community care, and public health policies.

B. Elective Courses (choose 4)

Applied Analytics in Healthcare Management (co-taught by SingHealth faculty)

This course builds on the core course on Introductory Data Analytics in Healthcare. Students will methodologically define healthcare data analytics projects with practitioners to apply analysis to real-world scenarios such as prevention, diagnosis, curing and caring for patients. Students will be equipped with a practical data analytics framework and skills to acquire, transform, classify, mine and visualize data for use by its management, care providers and various stakeholders. The course will also look at how the economic value of healthcare analytics can be quantified. The course will be project based and students will be attached to different health organizations to complete a healthcare data analytics project under the guidance of both academic advisors and experienced practitioners.

Operations and Supply Chain Management in the Healthcare Sector (co-taught by SingHealth faculty)

It is important for healthcare service providers to minimise the costs of service delivery while maintaining high quality of health care services, patient satisfaction, safety and other important outcome measures. This course provides students with a working knowledge of how IT and algorithmic and system-based methods from operations and supply chain management are applied to optimise resource allocation and scheduling in the healthcare context. Principles of leadership, strategy, and decision-making relevant to the healthcare sector may also be covered.

This will be an SMU-X course which would entail students’ hands-on experience in a hospital or an alternative healthcare setting.

Financial Accounting

This course covers basic financial reporting requiring the understanding of costings and budget provisions. Simple cost-benefit analysis will be taught, and study of financial statements including cash, income, and balance sheet statements will comprise specific examples of listed hospitals as well as private company reporting treatments. Financial statement ratio and financial health analysis will also be covered, including operational efficiency indicators. Comparisons of performance across firms and within firm across time of specific accounting items will also be covered. The basics of healthcare financing policies and hospital financial management will be included.

Economics of Ageing

This course examines population ageing and its economic effects; the challenges and opportunities faced by ageing economies and the policy implications. The course begins with the concepts of population ageing and the current ageing trends across countries. It introduces the demographic transition model and identifies the main drivers of population ageing. The economic effects will be discussed, including the impact of health status, health behaviours and healthcare costs on retirement adequacy. Approaches to health promotion and health intervention at individual, group, community and national levels will be discussed, together with their social determinants.

Health Law and Medical Ethics

Rapid ageing of Singapore’s population has increased the emphasis on quality of healthcare. Coupled with better education and exposure, this has led to a rise in the frequency of litigation in this area. An awareness of health law will aid understanding of the issues, including access to healthcare, the physician-patient relationship, informed consent, medical negligence, medical malpractice, regulation of TCM, the Mental Capacity Act, advanced medical directive and health insurance. The course will also explore the critical relationship between the law and the practice of medicine. In doing so, it will focus on the varied approaches to, and multi-layered interrelationships between, ethics, medicine and law, including basic ethical principles and key legal concepts relating to personhood, autonomy, human rights, sanctity of life and quality of life.

Health Psychology

This course is designed to provide students with a foundation in the scientific literature and key concepts related to health psychology. In particular, the course will examine health-related behaviours and evaluate interventions aimed at modifying or promoting these behaviours. Topics will include health and wellness promotion, stress, coping and resilience, and psychological issues with managing chronic and terminal illnesses.

Medical Sociology

This course on medical sociology (the sociology of health and illness) focuses on the social construction of well-being and illness, and the influence of the social on health policies. A sociological lens will be used to examine the dynamics of health-seeking behaviour, the doctor-patient relationship, the professionalisation of medicine in general, as well as the role of alternative healing systems in a society where the western biomedical module predominates.

Smart Healthcare in Asia

Proposed course, to build on course being developed for GSP 2018. It will involve studies on the development of new technologies in enhancing healthcare provisions in Asia, including drones delivery, tele-operations and remote instructions, logistical advancements in health patient transportations and hospital hub operations in rural areas, digital health monitoring as in wearables and visual analytics, functional electronically monitored smart hospitals and retirement homes, etc.