Singapore’s Integrated Building Implements Assistive Technology
For more than three years now, Singapore’s Integrated Building (IB) has fostered a new way to help patients recover faster, and transition them to everyday living. The IB is collaboratively operated by Changi General Hospital (CGH) and a community hospital - the first of its kind in Singapore.
The IB focuses on providing rehabilitation and outpatient services through a family-centred model of care. Simply, this model of care reimagines traditional public health models as it provides opportunities for patients to take charge of their pace of recovery.
It is public-private partnerships like these which provide patients the best chance of recuperation. Furthermore, as Singapore’s population ages, and the demand for better healthcare services surges, the benefits from tie-ups like these are numerous.
Tech Goes to Rehab
One of the key changes implemented in the Singapore’s Integrated Building (IB) is the use of technology. Although the cold touch of robots might not sound appealing to everyone, the slew of technologies implemented at the IB has proved otherwise.
CGH’s CEO Dr. Lee claimed that the technological innovation has enhanced patient experience. The reason lies in the freed-up time for hospital staff after using assistive technology. With more time to spare, sorely needed face-to-face interaction with patients increases. Human touch is not sacrificed after all. Dr Lee hopes that the initiatives launched at the IB can be replicated across all departments at CGH.
The collective outcome of innovations in healthcare translate into less time spent doing administrative and laborious duties. Innovations such as the Medical Devices Interface (MDI) auto-fills data from blood pressure and heart rate readings into an online system.
A voice activated device acts as a hands-free communicator system between hospital staff. Patients can be attended to urgently with less in-between waiting time. Finally, trackless autonomous transporter robots, affectionately known as HOSPI, are used to route specimens and medicines throughout the IB. Innovations like HOSPI were possible through a separate public-private partnership. Human labour can consequently be redirected into more meaningful work. This also eases the manpower constraints among healthcare professionals in Singapore.
Tech Initiatives at the Integrated Building
Other notable tech innovations at the IB include Augmented Reality Games and a Floor Projection System as part of the physical therapy process. The Floor Projection system for example is used to improve gait and balance training. Such innovation is game-changing for the soon silver population in Singapore since the aged are prone to fall related injuries.
The IB has also collaborated with other education, healthcare and non-profits to launch a rehabilitation program which features cutting edge programs. Turning heads on traditional therapy programs using technology allows patients to self-direct their rehabilitation in an engaging manner.
Furthermore, the goldmine of data collected from these tech therapy sessions form useful feedback to chart a patient’s progress. Eventually, healthcare professionals can use it to tailor unique programs to accelerate recovery.
Overall, assistive technology for rehabilitation has extraordinary value for healthcare professionals and patients keen on self-care. Since the IB’s unveiling in 2015, Singapore has engaged in other high-tech solutions, such as wearable technology, to involve citizens in taking charge of their own well-being.
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