Assoc Prof Tay Kiang Hiong, President, College of Radiologists Singapore
Assoc Prof Tan Cher Heng, President, Singapore Radiological Society
Prof Chang Hong Liang, President, Asian Congress of Abdominal Radiology
Dr Teoh Wey Chyi, Organising Chair, SGCRWIRES 2021
Distinguished speakers and guests, ladies and gentlemen.
A very good morning to all. I am delighted to be with everyone here at the Singapore Congress of Radiology and Workshops in Interventional Radiology Education Singapore 2021. This year, the Congress will be held in conjunction with the 8th Asian Congress of Abdominal Radiology.
2 After postponement in 2020 due to the pandemic, the congress is now back in its first ever fully virtual format. I am pleased to welcome the invited speakers and key opinion leaders, together with more than 800 local and regional participants. I am heartened that all of you have taken time out of your busy schedules to learn and exchange knowledge.
3 Radiology is one of the central nodes of any healthcare system. The way the radiology community has risen to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic truly embodies the theme for this year: “Support and Grow our Community in Radiology”.
4 During the pandemic, timely and accurate interpretation of radiographs plays a vital front-line role in the diagnosis, grading and triaging of patients before their COVID-19 PCR test results are confirmed. At the start, the radiology community had to swiftly redesign their processes to manage the increased workload. This was on top of having to do minimally invasive image guided procedures in full PPE on isolated COVID-19 patients. These factors made it very challenging for radiologists. But nonetheless, the community persevered and made several breakthroughs in the process.
5 For example, drawing from their experience at the Singapore Expo Community Care Facility, a SingHealth team from the Department of Radiology published the first large study proving that baseline chest radiographs are not needed in COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms. Such knowledge would reduce patient’s exposure to unnecessary radiation, help promote judicious use of imaging and prioritise resources for sicker and more symptomatic patients.
6 The pandemic has fast-tracked innovation and redefined how we will run our operations in the future. Our radiology colleagues at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and their collaborators from the Agency of Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), designed and tested an artificial intelligence tool, RadiLogic. This tool can interpret abnormal chest X-ray findings and up triage these studies to be reported ahead of others. The uptriaging of X-rays will allow for quicker identification of sicker patients, thereby reducing morbidity. Deservingly so, this AI tool was awarded the Best Practice Medal in Automation, IT & Robotics Innovation, at the recent National Healthcare Innovation and Productivity Awards. Such drive and ingenuity gives me full faith that our healthcare family will continue to pioneer new technologies to seek out solutions to challenges in healthcare.
7 While the present effects of the pandemic are manifold, its impact will continue to be profound when we enter a new post-COVID era. Our ageing population presents further challenges with the increase in demand for healthcare, and consequently, more imaging needs. I believe that our radiology community will continue to be leaders in innovation, striving for medical excellence and ensuring value-driven healthcare.
8 Continuing with the theme of support and growth, the College of Radiologists will be celebrating Women in Radiology. This lecture brings together successful, renowned female radiologists from Singapore and abroad. Together, they will cover topics such as career-building, education, innovation and even showcase peculiar and serendipitous clinical cases. We hope that their collective experiences can inspire the next generation of radiologists, women and men. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Associate Professor Ong Chiou Li, senior consultant at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), who will be presenting the prestigious FY Khoo memorial lecture. Professor Ong is a well-respected radiology leader in Singapore and was pivotal in setting up the Radiology department for the then newly restructured KKH. She served two terms as the Head of the Radiology department spanning 17 years. By the end of her term, KKH had amassed 18 Ultrasound units, a CT scanner, 2 MRIs and CT cum gamma camera along with a breast imaging unit. The multiple awards under her name are evidence of her commitment towards growth and education. She will be the first local female radiologist to be conferred this honour. Congratulations, Professor Ong.
9 On this note, I would like to commend the Singapore Radiological Society, the College of Radiologists, Singapore and the Asian Society of Abdominal Radiology for their dedication in organising this conference. I wish everyone an informative and fruitful congress.
Thank you very much.