A call to all healthcare administrators by Mr Tan Jack Thian, Group Chief Procurement Officer and COO, SingHealth.

  • Administrators play a critical role in the healthcare system but have further to go
  • Administrators can and should lead in driving innovation

In my 20 years of service in healthcare administration, I have seen the role of the administrator evolve over the years. But how far have we really come?

I would say that while we have made progress, we have much further to go.
In our traditional roles, healthcare administrators are used to providing a silent service and staying behind the scenes. Many of us are still more comfortable that way but I’m glad to witness more and more of us speaking up and taking the lead.
And we should. Because healthcare administration is important. With 30% of the healthcare workforce comprised of administrators, we play a critical role in the healthcare system.
In just the past few years, SingHealth administrators have created impact on how we work by leading projects such as 1 Queue 1 Bill, consolidating procurement to drive cost effectiveness , and publishing a design guide for age-friendly infrastructure. 
Just like any other industry, healthcare administration needs to attract and retain talent. To do so, we need to raise our profile more and shine a light on the good work that we have been doing.
In SingHealth, it is especially important for healthcare administrators to play a bigger role in innovation on our academic journey. As Group CEO Professor Ivy Ng said at a SingHealth Family Meeting, “Integrated healthcare delivery requires administrators to create the vehicle to deliver the care.”
For consistently efficient and effective delivery of healthcare, the “vehicle” doing the delivery must be able to rev up service standards and drive innovation. So how can healthcare administrators do this?
We must take the initiative to be more proactive and innovative in shaping policy. We also need to lead and initiate change in partnership with clinicians, nurses and allied health professionals.
Here then are some practical steps for administrators to consider:
• Publish innovative work
• Present papers
• Speak at congresses
• Take on key roles in professional bodies
So my message to fellow healthcare administrators is:
don’t be shy. It’s time for us to shine!

Tan Jack Thian
Group Chief Procurement Officer
Group Chief Operating Officer