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.
Introducing Dosis - the AI powered dosing platform
Cloud-based platform Dosis uses AI to help patients and clinicians tailor their medication plans. Shivrat Chhabra, CEO and co-founder, tells us how it works.
When and why was Dosis founded?
Divya, my co-founder and I founded Dosis in 2017 with the purpose of creating a personalised dosing platform. We see personalisation in so many aspects of our lives, but not in the amount of medication we receive. We came across some research at the University of Louisville that personalised the dosing of a class of drugs called ESAs that are used to treat chronic anaemia. We thought, if commercialised, this could greatly benefit the healthcare industry by introducing precision medicine to drug dosing.
The research also showed that by taking this personalised approach, less drugs were needed to achieve the same or better outcomes. That meant that patients were exposed to less medication, so there was a lower likelihood of side effects. It also meant that the cost of care was reduced.
What is the Strategic Anemia Advisor?
Dosis’s flagship product, Strategic Anemia Advisor (SAA), personalises the dosing of Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESAs). ESAs are a class of drugs used to treat chronic anaemia, a common complication of chronic kidney disease.
SAA takes into account a patient’s previous ESA doses and lab levels, determines the patient’s unique response to the drug and outputs an ESA dose recommendation to keep the patient within a specified therapeutic target range. Healthcare providers use SAA as a clinical decision support tool.
What else is Dosis working on?
In the near term, we are working on releasing a personalised dosing module for IV iron, another drug that’s used in tandem with ESAs to treat chronic anaemia. We’re also working on personalising the dosing for the three drugs used to treat Mineral Bone Disorder. We’re very excited to expand our platform to these new drugs.
What are Dosis' strategic goals for the next 2-3 years?
We strongly believe that personalised dosing will be the standard of care within the next decade, and we’re honored to be a part of making that future a reality. In the next few years, we see Dosis entering partnerships with other companies that operate within value-based care environments, where tools like ours that help reduce cost while maintaining or improving outcomes are extremely useful.
What do you think AI's greatest benefits to healthcare are?
If designed well, AI in healthcare allows for a practical and usable way to deploy solutions that would not be feasible otherwise. For example, it’s possible for someone to manually solve the mathematical equations necessary to personalise drug dosing, but it is just not practical. AI in healthcare offers an exciting path forward for implementing solutions that for so long have appeared impractical or impossible.