Singapore, 12 April 2024 – In healthcare, the adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" does not apply. The need to constantly reinvent has always been key in enabling Singapore General Hospital (SGH) to meet the needs of the local population while also considering how potential solutions can have broader applicability and impact beyond our shores.

The SGH Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) held over two days on 12 and 13 April 2024 was aptly titled "Thinking Local To Go Global: Creativity in Patient Care, Education and Research". It emphasised the importance of recognising the interconnectedness of health issues at both the local and global levels and leveraging local innovations and expertise to drive broader improvements in health outcomes worldwide.

The Guest-of-Honour Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health, Dr Janil Puthucheary, elaborated that and highlighted the need to leverage digital technologies to keep healthcare accessible, affordable, and sustainable, in his opening address on Friday, 12 April 2024, 8.15am at The Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium at Academia on SGH Campus. He also officiated the launch of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Pain Centre.

"Sharing of knowledge and best practices brings about significant advantages in healthcare such as enhancing efficiency, improving patient outcomes, and heleping each other avoid pitfalls. This is why platforms like SGH Annual Scientific Meeting remains important as it brings healthcare professionals across SGH Campus together to learn and foster collaborations that best address the needs of the local and global population," said Dr Khor Li Yan, ASM Organising Chairperson, and Senior Consultant, Department of Anatomical Pathology, SGH.

SGH Annual Scientific Meeting

The SGH ASM saw many presentations and discussions on digital and sustainable healthcare solutions, amongst many other topics. This year, the Meeting attracted nearly 220 abstract submissions from SGH and across the Campus in 15 different award categories.

Some of the noteworthy abstracts included: 

1. Lab test time of antibiotics against bacteria halved 

Timely selection of appropriate antibiotics to treat infections will greatly increase patient survival rate. A team led by SGH pharmacists has developed a method that reduces turnaround time to test which antibiotic works best against the bacteria by up to 50 per cent. The method, using flow cytometry and fluorescent dyes, determines the sensitivity of bacteria towards various antibiotics. This is faster than the current gold standard that takes around 20 to 24 hours and requires overnight incubation of bacteria. 

2. Respiratory care bundle cuts hospital stay and complications post-bariatric surgery 

A modified respiratory care bundle to include asking patients to cough, do deep breathing exercises, and elevate their head while lying in bed after bariatric surgery, has shown to reduce their length of hospital stay and respiratory complications. Most significantly, the number of patients needing a high-dependency bed was reduced by almost 20 per cent. The nurse-led team is looking to implement the programme for obese patients undergoing other types of surgeries. 

3. Health monitoring app boosts physical activity and medication adherence among seniors 

SingHealth and GovTech piloted a mobile app for seniors above 60 in the community. Over 3 months, seniors tracked their blood pressure and weight. Empowered by the app, they exercised more and adhered to medications. The app provided reminders and exercise videos. It also informed seniors about local social activities and health screenings. This initiative is part of the SingHealth Community Ageing in Place Ecosystem (CAPE) in Marine Parade and Bedok South. 

4. Using artificial intelligence to better predict risk of patients in the Emergency Department 

Using SGH Emergency Department’s patient data from Jan 2018 to Dec 2019, a team led by Duke-NUS has developed a predictive model called PAC+ to better predict patient who are at high risk of death, and safely identify low risk patients who might be safe for discharge. The team is looking to use PAC+ in a clinical trial at the SGH Emergency Department to identify patients that might be suitable for discharge or admitted under Mobile Inpatient Care @ Home (MIC@Home) the near future. 

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Teo Kian Nguan (Mr) 
Communications Department

Felicia Ong 
Communications Department