ICT in Healthcare
ICT in healthcare, in recent years, has been widely used to help doctors, nurses and other practitioners to give better care to patients across Singapore's healthcare landscape, in both administrative and medical fields. (1) One of the examples include Electronic Medical Records Exchange, which allowed sharing of medical records between hospitals and polyclinics to facilitate and provide more efficient healthcare to the public.
1.1 Healthcare infrastructure
In Singapore, the government manages the public healthcare system through the Ministry of Health; its mission to ensure good and affordable basic medical services is available to all Singaporean (2). Of which two major public healthcare providers are SingHealth and National Healthcare group. Currently, there are 7 public hospitals comprising 5 acute general hospitals, a women's and children's hospital and a psychiatry hospital, in addition to the 6 specialist centres. (3)
Healthcare is also enforced in the private sector, where it takes up to 80% of primary healthcare (4) provided to the public. On top of that, there are 13 hospitals in the country catered to the public.
1.2 ICTs' role in healthcare infrastructure
In recent years, the government has placed much emphasis in the restructuring the healthcare infrastructure in order to keep up with the rate of technology advancement. Nevertheless, it is mainly because the government recognises the immense potential of ICT in the healthcare field, not just applications in medical field, but also administrative uses that can greatly improve the efficiency of its services.
Gradually, we can observe that Healthcare systems are moving from Propreitary to Open Systems, and ICT plays a critical role in this; a key benefit being providing healthcare practitioners with access to timely and accurate information and complementing their devision-making process with clinical decision support system. Currently, many technologies are implemented in hospitals to meet the needs and demands of patients and also to improve general healthcare standards. Some examples of ICT usage include, Computer-aided Tornography(CT), pacemakers for heart patients where anomally readings can be transmitted and databases for medical records.
- How ICT is being introduced into healthcare system
- What is the first ICT application?
- Describe timeline of ICT from first application to now.
3. General approaches
In the Ministry of Health budget Speech on 6 Mar 2007, Health Minister Mr Khaw Boon Wan highlighted the need to transfer healthcare so as to gear up Singapore for our healthcare needs of 2020. He recognises the need to innovate to meet diverse needs of patients to improve efficiency, reduce prices and providing customised and personalised medical care to patients. Moreover, in the iN2015 report by the Healthcare and Biomedical Sciences, the committee has also called for the following as its iN2015 goal for the healthcare sector.
In response to our current healthcare system and major trends in demographics, disease burden and medicine, IDA has hence implemented programmes to promote ICT in the healthcare sector, not just collaborating with Ministry of Health, but also seeking cooperation with the project sector.
3.1 Call-for-Collaboration (CRC)
The Healthcare call-for collaboration is project initiated by the Ministry of Health, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, and the Enterprise Challenge. It aims to improve overall healthcare quality and efficiency through innovative use of ICT by bringing healthcare providers and the infocomm companies together to develop and pilot innovative solutions and products.
This collboration aims to exploit ICT maximally, as a key enabler in healthcare transformation and to promote innovation to change work processes and how care is delivered.
3.2 Chronic Disease Management
For this programme to be a success, ICT is expected to be instrumental in the implementation of this nationawide programme.
3.3 Electronic Medical Record Exchange
4. Application of ICT
Currently, in Singapore, there are many applications of ICT available, regardless of whether is it in medical fields, for information transfer or medical services provided to patients. Shown below are some examples that have been implemented in Singapore's public healthcare system:
- Pharmacy Management System (E-pharmacy)
5. Case Studies / News
5.1 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
5.2 Iranian Twin Sisters
(See news in Healthcare)
- ICT in healthcare
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[1105sgict:1] Singapore e-Government. (2005, March 29). 15th e-Government Newsletter - Electronic Medical Record Exchange. Retrieved from Singapore e-Government Web site: http://www2.egov.gov.sg/online_newsletter/issue15/Electronic%20Medical%20Record.htm