Singapore calls for healthcare innovation

Government wants industry to push the envelope in using IT to improve clinical care, and sets aside money to support projects.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

SINGAPORE--The government will invest S$3 million (US$2 million) to encourage the development of infocomm technology (ICT) applications that improve the cost-efficiency and quality of healthcare services in the island-state.

In a joint announcement released today, Ministry of Health (MOE), Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), and The Enterprise Challenge (TEC) under the Prime Minister's Office called for industry participation, and said the funding would go towards projects aimed at providing benefits such as better patient care, higher efficiency levels, and improved communication between healthcare practitioners.

Overall clinical care can be improved by minimizing the risk of miscommunication during patient handovers, re-engineering workflows, as well as simplifying and standardizing processes, stated the released.

This announcement is part of IDA's iN2015 plan for improved clinical services across the nation's public and private healthcare institutions.

Singapore's Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan has called for greater adoption of IT in the healthcare sector, despite the industry's progress toward improved patient care. He said at a regional conference earlier this year that the country's healthcare sector's adoption of IT was lagging behind other sectors such as high-tech manufacturing and financial services industries.

Twelve projects were supported through a similar call for industry collaboration by IDA in 2005. The innovations included a project by the National Skin Centre, which has led to better patient care as doctors can now record more accurate information to chart progress of skin disorders. The Singapore General Hospital also piloted an integrated wireless monitoring system that automatically captures patients' vital signs such as blood pressure, pulse rate, electrocardiogram (ECG), oxygen saturation, respiration rate and temperature in its Digital Ward.

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