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Singapore’s Health Minister launches Healthcare Industry Transformation Map (ITM)

Singapore’s Health Minister launches Healthcare Industry Transformation Map (ITM)

Featured image via Ministry of Health’s official Facebook page. 

At the opening of the Futurehealth Conference 2017 yesterday, Minister for
Health Mr. Gan Kim Yong launched
the Healthcare Industry Transformation Map (ITM). A tripartite effort, the ITM
maps out strategies to steer the healthcare industry and workforce towards
better skills and better work so that they can deliver better care for
Singaporeans.

The Singapore healthcare system faces several long-term trends. With an ageing
population and rising chronic disease incidence, healthcare needs will increase
in demand and complexity. The challenge is to meet these needs with Singapore’s
fiscal and manpower resources in a sustainable manner.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has set out three key shifts for Singapore’s
healthcare system. First, moving beyond healthcare to health through more
effective health promotion and disease prevention. Second, moving beyond
hospital to community by shifting the centre of gravity of care from the acute
hospital setting to the primary care, community and home settings, while
maintaining care outcomes. And finally, shifting beyond quality to value
through ensuring appropriate and cost-effective care.

The Healthcare ITM sets out three strategies that will
support these shifts. MOH will work with healthcare providers, unions and
healthcare professionals, and academia and research institutions to implement
the strategies.

Enhancing Jobs and Skills 

MOH will attract more locals to join the healthcare sector, and provide
multiple pathways for mid-career Singaporeans to find new opportunities. For
example, new schemes will be introduced, like the ongoing Senior Management
Associate Scheme, that will help mid-career Singaporeans take on specific job
roles or leadership positions in healthcare. MOH will also open up more
training pathways to facilitate more mid-career PMETs to join nursing. 

MOH will develop new skills among the healthcare workforce to support our
transformation of healthcare services. One priority is community nursing. The
Community Nursing Scholarships have just been launched to build up manpower in
the aged care sector, and groom future nursing leaders through rotations across
care settings. 

MOH will redesign jobs and enhance skills upgrading initiatives to build a
future ready healthcare workforce who can enjoy meaningful careers. For
example, beyond supporting hospital operations and administration, outpatient
Patient Service Associates (PSAs) are being trained to perform some clinical
tasks like venepuncture, uroflow, electrocardiogram, and basic medication
checking.

By end 2018, opportunities for new roles and broaden the
skills for nurses, allied health professionals, pharmacy technicians and
support care staff will also be expanded.

Raising Productivity 

The Ministry is working with with healthcare providers to review and streamline
workflows, so that healthcare staff can better focus their time and energy on
patient care. In particular, MOH will support nurses and review the amount of
nursing time spent on tasks such as inventory management, documentation, food
service and patient transport.

The use of cost-effective technology and assistive equipment
will also be scaled up to make work easier, especially for Singapore’s ageing
workforce. For example, the Centre for Healthcare Assistive and Robotics
Technology (CHART) will bulk purchase close to 600 bed transporters for
deployment across Changi General Hospital (CGH), Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
(NTFGH), National University Hospital (NUH) and Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH)
in phases starting from June 2018. By reducing the physical strain of
healthcare jobs, the Ministry aims to support Singapore’s ageing workforce to
continue working longer. 

Catalysing Innovation 

MOH will introduce innovative and patient-centric solutions, and testbed them
in new hospital developments, such as the Woodlands Health Campus. Technologies
will be applied both in operations and patient care. Some examples include RFID
technology to track patients in real time, virtual patient monitoring and smart
logistics solutions to monitor and top up consumables and medication.

MOH will enable the private sector to play a meaningful role
in healthcare provision for Sinagporeans. For instance, under the upcoming Primary
Care Networks (PCNs) initiative
, MOH will provide additional resources and
support services to enable private GPs to work as a team to better care for
chronic disease patients. MOH will also expand its schemes in the aged care
sector to enable private sector players to participate in the growing aged care
services market.

MOH also intends to empower patients for self care and
more informed decision making. A Health Marketplace, an online matching
platform that links patients and caregivers to home care services and supplies,
will be developed to  improve matching of
demand and supply, and unlock untapped resources.

The Ministry will also help all healthcare providers to digitise their medical
records and connect
to the National Electronic Health Records (NEHR)
system for better
information sharing across healthcare providers and integrated care.