The results of diabetic retinopathy examinations can now be obtained within just one or two days compared to two to four weeks in the past. This not only significantly reduce patients waiting time, but also saves labour costs for comprehensive clinics.
Starting from March this year, the public who wants comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of diabetic retinopathy will receive the results within one or two days, depending on the time of the consultation. Compared to the past where it would take two to four weeks. Not only does this significantly reduce patient waiting time, but it also saves more manpower for integrated clinics.
Singapore Integrated Diabetes Retinopathy Integrated Plan, jointly launched by the Integrated Care Information Systems (IHiS) under the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Ophthalmology of the National Health Insurance Group and Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), has been extended to 18 comprehensive clinics nationwide since March.
The program was first launched in 2010 and has gradually expanded to eight comprehensive clinics between 2010 and 2015. It has been further expanded to the remaining ten comprehensive clinics since August last year.
Mark Winn, Director of IHiS Diagnostics and Pharmaceuticals, explained: "In the past, doctors at general clinics had to analyse the patient's diabetic retinal photos after the end of the consultation. The doctors often make patients wait for the number due to their busy schedule. The test results will usually be revealed in a week."
"Under this comprehensive program, the patient's photo of the diabetic retina can be immediately transmitted to the National Institute of Ophthalmology, National Health Insurance Group, or the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, allowing specially trained staff to quickly analyse and prepare reports."
With this integrated system, the staff can usually complete the report within one day depending on the patient's consultation time on the day. Allowing the doctor at the general clinic to make a judgment on the patient's condition as soon as possible and decide whether the patient only needs regular check-up or to be treated by a specialist to better control the condition of diabetes.
Additionally, because the work of reading films is now taken over by other staff, this saves the doctors' time of reading films and saves about S$550,000 manpower cost per year for comprehensive clinics. This comprehensive plan for eye disease examination won the National Medical Technology Excellence Award
Since the launch of this project in the National Comprehensive Clinic in August 2015, 80,000 patients have benefited from it. With the planned launch of all comprehensive clinics, it is expected that the number of patients who will benefit each year will increase by another 80,000 and gradually increase to 100,000.
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the common complications of diabetes. Currently, Singapore has more than 400,000 people between the ages of 18 and 69 with diabetes, and 30% of them are expected to suffer from diabetic retinopathy.
The plan was recognized at the 8th National Medical Technology Summit held yesterday and was awarded the National Medical Technology Excellence Award. This year, a total of 14 technology-related projects and medical technology promoters launched by public and private medical institutions have won the award from 63 nominations.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong also revealed at the summit that the HealthHub platform launched in October last year will be further enhanced by the end of this year.
This one-stop online medical and health information and service platform is jointly launched by MOH and the Health Promotion Bureau to facilitate the public's access to medical and personal information for individuals and children through websites or a mobile application software.
Currently, the public can obtain personal hospital records, inspection reports and details of return visits through this platform, as well as vaccination and dental examinations for children.
Minister Gan Kim Yong said: "Some seniors suggest that their children can help them with the details of the referral. The improved health information network allows the patient's caregivers to also view their health information and outpatient details."
"At the same time, patients can easily view their medication records, as well as the side effects of individual medications, and remind them to take medication on time."
He said that the Health Information Network can help people in the country to better monitor their personal health and provide greater responsibility for their own health by providing such personalized services.
Under this comprehensive plan, the patient's photo of diabetic retina can be immediately transmitted to the National Institute of Ophthalmology of the National Health Insurance Group or SERI, allowing specially trained staff to quickly analyse and prepare reports.