SINGAPORE - A prescription for innovative healthcare will allow, by next year, students and faculty members from the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) to work with staff from healthcare group SingHealth to develop solutions.

The partnership will be facilitated by SingHealth's Medical Technology Office and SIT's Applied Research Office and Design Factory@SIT.

Participants can tap grants to undertake projects, which can be adapted for implementation in a clinical setting.

The move will enable SIT students to gain a deeper understanding of clinical issues to come up with solutions, and allow healthcare staff to benefit from fresh ideas.

This is part of a slew of initiatives aimed at encouraging the adoption of innovation in healthcare, with a five-year memorandum of understanding between SingHealth and SIT signed on Friday during the SingHealth Duke-NUS Education Conference at the Singapore General Hospital campus.

It is an extension of an existing partnership, established in 2016, to provide learning and research opportunities for SIT students.

The two will also work together to develop graduate diploma and certificate courses - focusing on areas such as automation and artificial intelligence - for nurses, allied health professionals and healthcare engineers by 2024.

And once SIT's campus in Punggol Digital District is operational in two years' time, Sengkang and Punggol towns will act as a living laboratory for the university's staff and faculty to roll out healthcare solutions, said SIT president Chua Kee Chaing.

Technological advances now require healthcare professionals to be very comfortable with technology, said Professor Hsu Pon Poh, who co-chairs the SingHealth-SIT collaboration.

Prof Hsu, who is also chairman of the Sengkang General Hospital medical board, added that the tie-up would help develop solutions needed to address issues such as an ageing population and the manpower crunch in the healthcare sector.

The signing of the agreement was witnessed by Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary.

"This partnership will play an important role in building and nurturing future healthcare innovators, giving them deep insights into healthcare challenges and equipping them with the right skill sets to build solutions to improve healthcare," he said.