On April 18, the groundbreaking ceremony for a new integrated healthcare campus was held in Singapore. The Woodlands Health Campus (WHC) was described by Minister for Health, Mr. Gan Kim Yong as a key component of Singapore’s HC2020 masterplan to meet future healthcare needs. New care models developed at WHC are expected to make a decisive shift towards community-based care.
WHC will be a part of the National Healthcare Group (NHG), one of the three public healthcare clusters in Singapore. The Campus will provide 2400 hospital beds and include a general hospital, a community hospital, a nursing home as well as daycare facilities for senior citizens.
WHC will be the first healthcare campus in Singapore to fully integrate an acute hospital, community hospital and long term care facilities in a single development, with all elements conceptualised from the beginning and developed. It is expected to open progressively from 2022.
Citing the challenges of an ageing population and a rising chronic disease burden on the one hand, and manpower constraints on the other, Mr. Gan said, “The new WHC must work with its partners to create one integrated Healthcare Campus providing seamless, person-centric care, and to embrace technology and innovation to improve productivity and provide better care for our population.”
Mr. Gan referred to a recent article in the Economist, which envisioned the hospital of the fture as an air-traffic control tower, from where medical teams can monitor patients in any location, whether at hospital or home. In this model, patients would be co-pilots, not passengers.
WHC will incorporate SMART technology, automation and IT innovations into the design of the new campus, including building design, hospital operations, care delivery, patient experience.
Many of WHC’s services will be available online. Automation of manual work, such as filling in medical information or ordering medications, is expected to allow healthcare professionals to focus on their core work, devoting more time to their clinical and direct patient care roles.
Data analytics and artificial intelligence can augment care provided at each touch point. Mr. Gan said, “This high technology environment can also simultaneously be a high productivity and high touch setting such as a healthcare institution.”
He went on to caution against the introduction of technology for its own sake. The purpose of technology should be to maximise value for patients, delivering safe, appropriate and effective care.
Read the transcript for the speech by Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health here.