How do you use technology and innovation to improve the lives of patients? Tell us about your role or organization.
SingHealth is Singapore’s largest public healthcare group with 30,000 employees in our network of acute care hospitals, national specialty centers, polyclinics and community hospitals.
As Group Director of Innovation and Transformation at SingHealth, I work with colleagues across the cluster from various professional groups, including physicians, nurses, allied healthcare professionals and administrators, and the various offices and institutional innovation programs to catalyze the transformation of healthcare through a strategic transformation across the cluster. projects, as well as supporting local innovation.
The Innovation and Transformation Division that I oversee includes SingHealth’s Office of Innovation, Singhealth’s Office of Medical Technology, SingHealth’s Office of Services Transformation, and our upcoming SingHealth Duke-NUS Innovation Center.
I see technology as a fundamental enabler of innovation. Some of the most impactful innovations are those where we fundamentally redesign work processes, train our people to be ready for new workflows, and back this up with new technology that acts as a force multiplier for our busy IT professionals. Health.
For example, the SingHealth Office for Service Transformation and SingHealth Artificial Intelligence (AI) Program, with support from the National Council for Medical Research, partnered with A * STAR to develop a multilingual messaging bot called Doctor COVID in 2020.
The bot helped SingHealth engage and care for thousands of migrant workers with Covid-19 in community care facilities run by SingHealth, such as Singapore EXPO, at the height of the pandemic last year.
Doctor COVID allowed the transmission of information and critical content in different languages for the easy understanding of migrant workers. It also had self-report questionnaires to monitor the clinical risk factors and mental well-being of migrant workers.
In 2021, Doctor COVID was further developed in partnership with Singapore General Hospital to enable our nurses to monitor and communicate with higher risk Covid-19 patients who were discharged from the hospital for recovery at home.
The bot frees nurses from having to make repeated phone calls to check patients’ vital signs by sending automatic reminders to patients directly. Additionally, it automatically alerts nurses via a dashboard if patients’ vital signs cross a certain threshold.
The bot can also send multilingual videos and other messages such as patient education to monitor the well-being of patients. This is a good example of a new workflow that was jointly developed by nurses, physicians, and process redesigners, enabled by robust technology, technical experts, and IT colleagues. Most importantly, the technology was field tested and refined with feedback from patients and staff.
What was the most impactful project you worked on this year?
In June 2021, we launched the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medicine Innovation Institute (AMII). AMII brings together the various innovation programs and innovation offices at SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Center, to jointly map out our innovation strategy and better support our innovators.
AMII Co-Chair along with my Duke-NUS counterpart, and I am delighted with the network of innovation leaders leading several exciting initiatives and priority areas as part of AMII.
For example, a priority area is looking at how we can drive meaningful adoption and scaling of successful innovations. We also created a joint SingHealth Duke-NUS unit for impact assessment, which assesses innovations for their impact and potential benefit, and guides the funding and scale of these innovations.
What’s an unexpected learning from 2021?
What many people expected when Covd-19 arrived was that innovation would dry up as healthcare professionals crouched down to look only at regular work. But we saw the opposite on SingHealth.
In the past 2 years, we have experienced a 400% increase in the number of internal innovation initial grant applications and a strong interest in innovation. Our innovation seminars, like our AI webinars, also saw a high staff participation rate compared to before the pandemic.
What is an innovation project or technology that you are excited to explore in 2022?
I am always excited to explore new technologies and always ready to hear about new innovation projects. In fact, that comes with work!
What are your priorities for 2022?
As a working mother, finding the right balance between the work I do and the people I would like to help, on the one hand, and my duties to my beloved family, on the other, is always difficult. In 2022, one of the top priorities is working on this balance.
Who are the mentors and heroes that inspire you?
SingHealth’s Group CEO Professor Ivy Ng is someone who has been a mentor figure for me. She has always been generous in sharing her own experience, beyond work. His tenacity and vision inspire me.
I had the privilege of working with Mr. Lim Siong Guan, when he was Permanent Secretary. His values and wisdom motivate me and I greatly appreciate the lessons he taught me. My Christian faith is important to me and it is also my anchor. Finally, the selflessness and love of my parents inspire me to do better every day.
What makes you get up in the morning?
One of the things we started two years ago under the SingHealth Office of Innovation was a multidisciplinary innovation clinic. The clinic enables our innovators to obtain advice from a panel of experts and, more recently, access seed funding as well.
I am always inspired during these clinical sessions, because we see healthcare professionals at all levels, from junior nurses to senior neurologists to mid-level administrators, who come to share the problems that bother them and talk about how they are going to solve them. I feel energized by these sessions as they remind me why my team and I do the work we do to support innovation, so that we can solve problems, improve clinical and patient outcomes, and lighten the burden on our staff through innovation and technology.
I always leave these sessions inspired by the passion and energy of our innovators, and their desire to put patients at the center of everything they do.