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   The Ministry of Health (MOH) will further invest in enablers such as IT and innovation, as well as in infrastructure, which form critical supporting pillars of our healthcare system. This will support our healthcare transformation efforts and future-proof the healthcare system.

Investing in Infrastructure to Future-proof our Healthcare System

Polyclinic development plans

2.   We had previously announced that we will expand our network of polyclinics to 32 [1]. A summary of our plans is as follows, of which those underlined are new announcements this year:

New Polyclinics

a)   Sembawang Polyclinic, which is being developed as part of the Bukit Canberra integrated development, will open in 2022;

b)   Six polyclinics planned in Kaki Bukit, Khatib, Serangoon, Tampines North, Tengah and Yew Tee are scheduled to be completed by 2026; and

c)   Three more polyclinics planned in Bidadari, Bishan and Taman Jurong are scheduled to be completed by 2030.

Polyclinic Redevelopments

a)   Pasir Ris, Clementi and 
Queenstown Polyclinics will be redeveloped by 2026, 2027 and 2030 respectively; and

b)   Bukit Merah Polyclinic and Outram Polyclinic will be consolidated into a larger polyclinic in Tiong Bahru by 2030.

New polyclinic in Taman Jurong and redevelopment of Queenstown Polyclinic

3.   To meet the healthcare needs of our population, MOH will continue to invest in our primary care infrastructure. We will open a new polyclinic in Taman Jurong by 2028. Together with Pioneer and Jurong Polyclinics, the polyclinic in Taman Jurong will serve residents in the Jurong planning region.

4.   We will also redevelop Queenstown Polyclinic at a new site by the end of the decade. The existing Queenstown Polyclinic will serve residents living in the vicinity until the redeveloped Queenstown Polyclinic is operational.

5.   The polyclinic in Taman Jurong and the redeveloped Queenstown Polyclinic will incorporate elderly-friendly and accessibility features for the convenience of the patients, and incorporate new requirements to ensure that the infrastructure is pandemic-ready. Both polyclinics will provide a comprehensive range of primary care services such as medical treatment for acute conditions, chronic disease management, women’s and children’s health services, allied health services, as well as radiological, laboratory and pharmacy services. We will share more details when ready.

Technology and Data as an Enabler for Better Health

Leveraging technology to deliver better care

6.   During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth technology solutions were deployed to meet the heightened demand for healthcare services. Accelerated by the pandemic, we will continue to leverage tele-treatment and tele-monitoring technologies to enhance convenience of care and improve overall health outcomes:

a)   COVID-19 Virtual Ward;
Mobile Inpatient Care at Home (MIC@Home) sandbox; and
Primary Tech-Enhanced Care (PTEC) Home Blood Pressure (BP) Monitoring.

COVID-19 Virtual Ward

7.   Daily reminders are sent via a chatbot or phone call for COVID-19 patients to measure and submit their vital sign readings, such as their body temperature and blood pressure. This has helped more than 700 patients on home recovery, and saved more than 5,000 physical bed days.

MIC@Home sandbox

8.   With the results achieved from the Virtual Ward programme, MOH will extend the programme to other groups of non-COVID-19 hospital patients under MIC@Home, which is suitable for patients who are typically stable, but still require hospitalisation to manage their active medical issues until they are fit for discharge. The MIC@Home mobile care teams will deliver selected inpatient-level services at home, including teleconsultation, remote vital signs monitoring, regular visits by doctors, nurses and therapists, intravenous therapy and simple blood investigations.

9.   About 2,000 suitable patients will be enrolled into the programme over two years, starting in the first half of 2022. MOH will then study the implementation of the sandbox programme before considering scaling it up to a mainstream medical service model to complement inpatient hospital care for suitable patients.

PTEC Home BP Monitoring

Patients with chronic diseases visit polyclinics regularly to better manage their conditions. The PTEC Home BP Monitoring programme was developed to provide remote care support with easy-to-use technologies for those with chronic high blood pressure so as to help patients better self-manage their conditions with reduced visits to polyclinics.

11.   Patients enrolled in the programme will receive Bluetooth-enabled home BP devices to monitor their blood pressure regularly. These readings are automatically transmitted via a mobile application to the polyclinic care team, who will then follow up with teleconsultations.

12.   The PTEC Home BP Monitoring programme was officially rolled out at Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic in August 2020, following a one-year pilot. The programme was also introduced at Bedok Polyclinic in October 2020 and is being implemented at Clementi Polyclinic this year. The roll-out across the polyclinics island-wide is expected to be completed by 2023. The programme will also progressively include other chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Use of Artificial Intelligence for early detection of dementia

13.    Currently, one in 10 local seniors aged 60 years and above has dementia. Usually, a large proportion of our seniors and their caregivers are caught unaware until the seniors have reached a more advanced stage of the disease, missing the opportunity for early intervention. This is partly due to early symptoms being subtle, and requiring specialised tests, which can only be administered by a trained healthcare professional in a hospital of clinic.

Project Pensieve is a technology-driven initiative that supports earlier detection of dementia among seniors who are at high risk of the disease. Tapping on local clinical and technology expertise, an inter-agency team is developing a digital drawing test to estimate the risk of dementia automatically using artificial intelligence in just about 10 minutes.

9 MARCH 2022

[1]  Currently, there are 23 polyclinics, and our target of 32 polyclinics will be achieved after consolidating Bukit Merah Polyclinic and Outram Polyclinic into a larger new polyclinic in Tiong Bahru by 2030.

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