Leveraging on technology to deliver practical solutions, SingHealth creates a better environment for patients and staff to heal and work.

"IT innovations are here to support decision making, empower patients in their recovery and facilitate research for better care outcomes."

– Assoc Prof Loo Chian Min, Chief Medical Informatics Officer, SingHealth

As the healthcare system moves into a more integrated model of the future, innovations in IT become critical tools to enable the transformation of care.   As Associate Professor Loo Chian Min, SingHealth’s Chief Medical Informatics Officer, puts it, “IT innovations are here to support decision making, empower patients in their recovery and facilitate research for better care outcomes.”

Benedict Tan, Group Chief Information Officer for SingHealth shared, “The challenge is how we redesign existing processes and utilise IT to transform the way healthcare is delivered. Technology is an enabling platform for healthcare workers to collaborate internally, and strengthen partnerships with our patients and other care providers externally.”

One such initiative is the ‘1 Queue, 1 Bill’ system designed for patients.   Piloted at NHCS, patients just need to register once at the centre upon their arrival as the system allows the same queue number to be used at the various service locations. This saves them time in queuing and requeuing. There is also a single point of payment that combines different charges for the day into a single bill.

Another initiative recently won the CIO Award, an annual award for the regional IT industry.   A smart RFID-enabled pharmacy system developed by SGH and IHiS allows more than 80 per cent of patients at SGH’s outpatient pharmacy to receive their medication within 30 minutes.   This system is the world’s first such automated solution in a hospital and has improved patient safety, reduced patients’ waiting time and increased staff productivity.

Patients can look forward to a smarter, smoother and more integrated care experience thanks to IT.   Currently in the works is a patient portal combining integrated internet, telehealth and mobile computing technologies that allows patients to share and find information about their medical condition.   This will encourage greater ownership and management of one’s own illness and better outcomes.

The IT factor

 There are also plans to digitise and consolidate patient case notes within and across institutions – a move that will further protect patient confidentiality and promote staff efficiency.

Benedict said, “We have collected a significant volume of data in the past 10 years from the various IT systems. We are now leveraging on analytics to tap on this data to support SingHealth in operational and clinical decision making, and to support research for the betterment of treatment outcomes. By combining it with other capabilities such as geospatial analytics, we can discover disease causes and target treatment programmes more effectively.”

Looking forward, Prof Loo shared the same sentiment. He said, “It is important to reduce unnecessary variation for our patients. By standardising processes, we ensure the same thing is done the same way - and done very well across the entire care spectrum.”