The Minister for Health, Mr. Gan Kim Yong, announced today
that several support initiatives will be introduced to encourage healthcare
licensees to contribute data to the National Electronic Health Record (NEHR).
Over 4,000 licensees will be eligible for the support initiatives, which
includes sharing of technical and clinical expertise through workshops and
online resources, as well as financial support. Workshops and technical support
would also be provided to IT vendors who provide clinic management or medical
Implemented by the Integrated Health Information Systems
(IHiS), Singapore's health technology agency, the support initiatives are part
of larger efforts to achieve the Ministry of Health's (MOH) "One Patient,
One Health Record" vision to enhance continuity of care and patient
safety, especially during emergencies.
During his address at Future Health 2017 this morning,
Minister Gan shared MOH's plan to make data contribution to the NEHR mandatory
for all healthcare licensees under the new Healthcare Services Bill. This move is necessary to build
comprehensive electronic health records for each patient in Singapore, to
enable better integrated care across healthcare providers. This
would improve patient care and safety as healthcare providers will be alerted
to key patient information such as allergies and current medication, and enable
timely decision making in emergency situations.
A/Prof Low Cheng Ooi, Chief Medical Informatics Officer at
MOH and Chief Clinical Informatics Officer at IHiS, shared: "With a
growing ageing population and increase in chronic diseases together with
multiple comorbidities, more patients are visiting multiple care providers for
varying needs. As our healthcare landscape evolves, it is important for
clinicians to obtain a view of their patients' medical history from the NEHR to
make better-informed diagnoses and treatment decisions. During emergencies,
it could also save lives. Hence, contribution of quality data from
all healthcare providers is an important step towards achieving safer and more
effective care for our patients."
Mr. Bruce Liang, Chief Information Officer at MOH and Chief
Executive Officer at IHiS, added: "This will not be an easy journey.
The state of IT adoption is uneven across the 4000 over healthcare institutions
in Singapore and there is a large number of IT solution providers
with wide variation of offerings. As such, we expect challenges in
on-boarding all licensees to the NEHR. However, it is a journey we must make as
a strong digital backbone is essential in meeting our patients' and healthcare
system's needs in the future."
Since 2011, IHiS has on-boarded public healthcare
institutions to the NEHR. In the last few years, IHiS has also worked with
private primary, acute, intermediate and long term care providers and
IT solution providers in numerous IT enablement projects. Mr. Liang
added: "We hope to leverage this experience to guide all licensees and
their IT solution providers throughout this journey."
The initiatives for healthcare licensees comprises sharing
of clinical and technical expertise, and financial support:
1) Clinical expertise: Workshops for licensees will
be held from early 2018 to provide guidance on the various clinical standards
and requirements for data contribution and the process to meet them, address
their queries as well as collect further feedback from them. Online
support resources at www.ihis.com.sg/connectnehr will
also be available to provide information on the NEHR, its benefits on how it
enables licensees to better care for patients, various schemes and support
available to licensees, and a dedicated contact number (available during
business hours) and email for licensees to seek assistance.
2) Technical expertise: Workshops,
technical advisors and tools would be made available to IT solutions providers
who provide clinic management and/or medical record software. This will help
them understand the technical and security requirements and enable connections
to the NEHR. In turn, the vendors would be able to better support licensees to
achieve early data contribution.
3) Financial support: An Early
Contribution Incentive scheme totaling some S$20million would be
available to licensees who are using, or planning to use non-MOH funded IT
systems, if they start data contribution by June 2019. The
incentives are designed to help defray costs that would be incurred to enhance
IT system capabilities for contribution. Funds would be disbursed to licensees
after they start contributing the required quality data for at least three
months. Licensees can express their interest to participate in the scheme from
8 November 2017 at www.ihis.com.sg/connectnehr.
Data contribution to the NEHR is currently voluntary for all
private healthcare licensees. Since early 2017, discussions with licensees and
various professional bodies and associations have been ongoing to better
understand their needs and provide relevant support and assistance. For an overview of the NEHR, refer to the video by IHiS below:
Members of the public can find out more information on how
they benefit from the NEHR, view patient FAQs, and share their views on
the NEHR in a public survey at www.ihis.com.sg/nehr .