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SPEECH BY MR MASAGOS ZULKIFLI, SECOND MINISTER FOR HEALTH, AT THE SINGAPORE HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT CONGRESS 2023, 16 AUGUST 2023, 9.30AM, SANDS EXPO AND CONVENTION CENTRE

Mr Cheng Wai Keung, SingHealth Chairman

 

Professor Ivy Ng, SingHealth Group CEO

 

Mr Tan Jack Thian, Organising Chairman, Singapore Healthcare Management 2023

 

Distinguished guests

 

Delegates

 

Colleagues and friends

 

1.             Good morning. I am pleased to join you for the Singapore Healthcare Management Congress 2023. It is great to see healthcare professionals, administrators, industry, gathered here to exchange ideas and learn from one another.

 

Our Healthcare Outlook

 

2.             Singapore is a fast ageing country. One in four Singaporeans will be aged 65 and above by 2030, up from one in six today. Like many developed countries, there is a rising prevalence of chronic diseases and with these, a higher demand for healthcare services. At the same time, we are experiencing a shrinking workforce, and the healthcare sector is not exempt.

 

3.             The impetus for more effective and innovative strategies in healthcare management is great. To ensure the sustainability of our healthcare system, we must evolve our healthcare delivery and management models.

 

Going Upstream and Emphasising Preventive Care

 

4.             To address this, we are shifting our focus from curative care to preventive care. We are going beyond treating illnesses in our hospitals and clinics, to minimising the risk of illness in the first place.

 


5.             This shift towards preventive care will not happen overnight. We must put in place new systems and frameworks to transform our healthcare system in this direction.

 

6.              We have embarked on this through Healthier SG, our national strategy for preventive care. We have been working with the healthcare clusters to enhance primary and community care. I am glad that SingHealth has been developing teams of community nurses, primary care providers, and community partners to support residents in the East region in Singapore, and many have enrolled into Healthier SG.

 

Strengthening Families and Communities

 

7.             Second, we are strengthening families and communities to enable individuals to thrive and remain healthy.

 

8.             Many families have a deep desire to care for their loved ones. We must not supplant their efforts. We need to enable healthy communities, and not just expand services for institutional care.

 

9.             Take the example of ageing. We need to support seniors to age in place within their communities, and create a supportive environment for families and their aged parents. Today, there are active ageing programmes in all neighbourhoods in Singapore, which seniors can access close to home. In this way, seniors stay connected with their families and friends, which in turn helps them stay healthy and avoid frailty.

 

Collaboration and Technology as Enablers

 

10.          Healthcare management is not confined to the four walls of healthcare institutions. We must break down barriers and work across disciplines. We must refine our approaches and put in place the infrastructure to enable better health outcomes.

 

11.          Healthcare providers will have to collaborate with a wider range of partners to enable better health in our communities. We have seen the positive outcomes of this approach from the Health Up! programme. To promote healthy habits and disease prevention, SingHealth worked with primary care providers and community partners to develop the Health Up! programme. Through this programme, Tampines residents above 40 years old up benefit from speaking with a Well-Being Coordinator, who work closely with them and refer them to relevant health screenings and resources. As a result, many residents are now up to date with their health screenings and have started adopting healthy lifestyle habits. SingHealth has expanded the Health Up! programme to benefit more residents in the East.

 

12.          We will also need to leverage technology to enable better health outcomes at scale. The fitness tracker is a simple illustration of this. With access to personalised data and instant feedback, individuals are more empowered to take charge of their health.

 

13.          At the systems-level, we need to leverage technology to deliver better care for our patients. We can redesign processes and IT systems so that patients can receive seamless and integrated care across different healthcare settings, whether they are in hospitals or primary care clinics and community care facilities.

 

14.          Iā€™m glad that SingHealth has been actively involved in these efforts. One example is the One Care Plan system, a lightweight digital platform co-developed by SingHealth, the MOH Office for Healthcare Transformation and community partners like NTUC Health and Thye Hua Kwan. Through the sharing of medical and social information, community providers and healthcare institutions are able to work as one care team to provide coordinated and holistic care for their patients.

 

Closing

 

15.          We are at the beginning of a journey to transform our healthcare system to bring better health, better care, and better quality of life to Singaporeans. I hope that these sessions over the next two days will generate good conversations and useful insights.

 

16.          I wish everyone an engaging and fruitful Congress ahead. Thank you.

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