Singapore seeks to make all health providers utilise national electronic healthcare records
Established back in 2011, Singapore’s National Electronic Health Record (NEHR) system was implemented to further its “one patient, one health care record” ambitions. However, six years down the line, the number of GP clinics and healthcare providers who have embraced the system remains slim in both the public and private sector.
To tackle this issue, the Ministry of Health in Singapore will aim to pass legislation early next year through a Healthcare Services Bill to make it compulsory for both public and private healthcare providers to contribute to the NEHR system.
The move will see the industry achieve the integration of patient data into one core database, promote cross-collaboration and the sharing of clinical information, which will ultimately lead to the delivery of exceptional patient care.
Many private healthcare providers remain using a paper and pen organisational system, where records can be lost. It is currently optional for private healthcare providers to share this information through a digital database, leading to gaps in patient records if they move into the private sector.
"This will not be an easy journey. The state of IT adoption is uneven across the 4,000 over healthcare institutions in Singapore and there is a large number of IT solution providers with wide variation of offerings,” explained Ministry of Health CIO and IHIS CEO Bruce Liang.
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"As such, we expect challenges in on-boarding all licensees to the NEHR. However, it is a journey we must make as a strong digital backbone is essential in meeting our patients' and healthcare system's needs in the future.”
The Ministry of Health will set aside a significant financial grant of approximately $20 million to enable medical establishments to upgrade and digitise their current systems.
"Patients will benefit from the NEHR when their doctors and care teams are able to access their key medical history when necessary and, work across settings to provide them with coordinated, holistic, and safer care,” commented Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong. “This is particularly important during emergencies."
Additionally, the recent Futurehealth Conference 2017 has seen the country unveil its Industry Transformation Map (ITM) which encompasses its strategies to further develop a smart healthcare environment and an engaged workforce.
Further training will be provided across a multitude of healthcare divisions, as well as the development of new opportunities and pathways to enable Singaporeans to gain and upgrade their existing skillsets in order to join the healthcare sector.
Additionally, further investment in technology will be a primary focus within the country’s strategy to support its ageing workforce.
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”