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Opening Address By Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister Of State, Ministry Of Health And Ministry Of Manpower, At The Launch Of The SIMS i3 Hub, 18 January 2022, 12.15pm

Mr Cheng Wai Keung, Chairman, SingHealth

Mr Goh Yew Lin, Chairman, Duke-NUS

Professor Ivy Ng, Group CEO, SingHealth

Professor Thomas Coffman, Dean, Duke-NUS Medical School

Prof Fatimah Lateef, Co-Director, SingHealth Duke NUS Institute of Medical Simulation

Fellow healthcare colleagues and friends

       Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to join you at today’s official launch of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Institute of Medical Simulation (SIMS), i3 Hub. 

Convergence of Technology and Healthcare Simulation 

2.    As a former educator, I have had the opportunity to witness first-hand the benefits of healthcare simulation in training healthcare professionals. Till today, it remains a topic close to my heart. 

3.    Back in the early 2000s, the use of simulation in the healthcare setting began to take root through the use of task trainers and low-fidelity manikins, which incorporated basic technology. Over the past few years, we have seen an increased adoption of technology in healthcare, which has undoubtedly resulted in greater efficiency, better patient management and more integrated care delivery. Today, in the sphere of healthcare education, technology plays a key role by providing realistic simulated environments that allow learners to hone their clinical skills in a safe, supervised environment. 

4.    As technology rapidly evolves, it is also important to keep in mind that the profile of learners has also changed. The new generation of healthcare professionals are digital “natives” who have grown up well-versed in various technologies and their capabilities. They are, therefore, highly adaptable and comfortable with the use of high-tech training modalities. This shift in learner profile calls for continuous review in the methods of engagement and modes of teaching in a digital language they can understand. 

Enhancing Learning with Serious Games

5.    Serious games are by no means a new concept, but one that has been gaining fresh relevance with new learner demographics. The incorporation of serious games in teaching and learning enhances the breadth of healthcare simulation capabilities – offering more engaging and interactive learning opportunities, and empowering healthcare professionals with increased ownership in their learning process. 

6.    SIMS has been making great strides in incorporating serious games in its training programmes. Over the last two years, SingHealth has obtained several grants, such as the iNnovative Learning Grant from SkillsFuture Singapore, which supports healthcare educators in the development of serious games to improve learning outcomes. To date, SIMS has successfully completed the development of 18 serious games that cover a wide variety of skills and knowledge across various healthcare professions. 

7.    One must truly commend the educators whose relentless and painstaking efforts have driven the development process. Beyond the technology and equipment, each customised game reflects the educators’ passion and drive to share their personal insights, clinical know-how and expertise with learners.

8.    One of the benefits of serious games is their ability to simulate difficult or challenging scenarios for learners to practise critical skills in a safe environment. This can be seen in the Acute Care game, developed by the Singapore General Hospital’s Department of Internal Medicine. The Acute Care game uses Virtual Reality (VR) technology to re-create the pressures of these scenarios, in which doctors can practise critical thinking and decision-making skills. For younger doctors, the opportunity for practice without actual risk to patients is reassuring and invaluable in preparing them to face future real-life scenarios. The scenario on management of septic shock is a superb example, as medical professionals need to be well-versed in providing timely diagnosis and accurate treatment for this group of patients.

9.    Serious games are also able to facilitate remote and virtual learning, which has become especially pertinent amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Developed by the SingHealth Alice Lee Institute of Advanced Nursing, the Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS) game teaches learners how to identify and perform CPR on persons who require it, allowing healthcare professionals to refresh their CPR knowledge and skills remotely without having to congregate in a classroom. Come 2022, it will be integrated as part of the official BCLS certification training across SingHealth, which is attended by up to 5,000 healthcare professionals every year. With the inclusion of the game, in-person hands-on training duration is projected to be reduced by some 25 percent, allowing healthcare professionals to be trained with reduced manpower and cost. Since gameplay is done individually, this not only minimises the risk of COVID-19 transmission as compared to a typical classroom setting, but also offers healthcare professionals greater flexibility to train at their own time, without having to compromise or re-schedule their clinical commitments. 

10.    To support the proliferation of serious games in healthcare education, SIMS collaborated with Serious Games Asia to develop the Healthcare-Training and Assessment Hosting Platform (Health-TAP) which was launched in June last year. This cloud-based software is a one-stop integrated platform that hosts serious games for up to 5,000 players at any one time. The platform also collates data across the games in a central repository, which in the future will offer healthcare educators useful insights into learning gaps, and spark ideas for the development of new serious games. 

Launch of the SIMS i3 Hub

11.    The launch of the SIMS i3 hub today is another step forward. i3 stands for “Inspire, Innovate, Incubate”. This launch signals truly exciting times for healthcare simulation, with serious games opening up new opportunities in healthcare learning. As a dedicated space where learners and educators can engage through new technologies and educational modalities, the i3 Hub will serve as a springboard to enable continual innovation that will transform the future of healthcare education in a safe and holistic manner. 

12.     In closing, I would like to express my heartiest congratulations to Prof Fatimah Lateef and the SIMS team on the successful launch of the SIMS i3 Hub. May the i3 Hub be a catalyst for transformation in healthcare delivery, as we inspire, innovate and incubate new ideas to nurture future generations of healthcare professionals. Thank you.

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