Global Health Asia-Pacific Special Issue | Page 68

Singapore has received international praise for having one of the lowest COVID death rates
Like many countries , Singapore also saw a rise in the use of telemedicine during the pandemic to follow up with patients . between medical facilities , specialists in private practice and public institutions , and non-healthcare establishments . “ One of the synergies that we are practicing is the “ Hospi-tel ” model where patients can simultaneously experience five-star accommodation at One Farrer Hotel and consulting a specialist or undergoing treatment at Farrer Park Hospital , providing a convenient and comfortable stay that is ideal for therapy or recovery ,” he explained .
Dr Low also reaffirmed the importance of Singapore ’ s infrastructure that was well regarded in delivering transparency , professionalism , and a high level of patient care which are all benchmarked to international standards . Additionally , Singapore intends to provide more comprehensive options , with start-ups focusing on next-generation solutions , hospitals improving efficiencies to provide better patient care , and technology complementing staffing and supporting procedural and medical objectives .
While Singapore has received international praise for having one of the lowest COVID death rates among developed countries , Dr Low expressed caution given that the pandemic was far from over due to the emergence of new variants . He also said the local medical sector should continue analysing data and studying the effects of long COVID . He further stated that Singapore ’ s pandemic response could be summarised in two words : vigilance and vaccination . “ The former involves implementing strict measures in view of case numbers , ICU admissions , and reported symptoms at any given time , while the latter reflects the calibrated distribution of vaccines and boosters based on susceptibility , availability , and logistical convenience ,” he explained .
The COVID pandemic has prompted Singapore to plan long-term strategies to ensure that the healthcare system and the health travel industry are resilient in the event of another public health crisis . Dr Low stated that the country ’ s National Centre for Infectious Diseases was already increasing its funding and recruiting more personnel to respond rapidly in surveillance and research so that the country could tailor its response if a new disease outbreak turned into a pandemic . He assured that Farrer Park Hospital would contribute to the fight against infectious diseases and expressed optimism that the existing government framework was adequate as a foundational baseline upon which specialists , nurses , and patients at Farrer Park could continue to work toward achieving desired healthcare outcomes .
Like many countries , Singapore also saw a rise in the use of telemedicine during the pandemic to follow up with patients . This was the norm at Farrer Park Hospital where initial healthcare travellers underwent health screening in person , which was then followed up with consultations via video conferencing , which Dr Low described as patients enjoying “ the best of both worlds .” He is optimistic that telemedicine can become a vital complement to existing services and this trend will probably gather momentum in the years ahead . Dr Low envisioned the hospital as a leading practitioner of artificial intelligence ( AI ) in strengthening the local healthcare system . As an example , he emphasised the benefits of incorporating AI in the performance of colonoscopies for accurate detection of polyps , enabling early detection and removal of cancer . Similarly , AI-assisted magnetic resonance imaging ( MRI ) can detect early dementia , while integrating AI into the National University Health System would enable healthcare service providers to predict duration of hospital stays and patient waiting times so that they could adjust scheduling and staffing for patient convenience .
The recently announced Healthier SG strategy has been deemed a game changer as it links each Singaporean to a single family physician to develop personalised health plans and improve preventive care . Dr Low affirmed that this national framework was crucial for preventing dangerous diseases and conditions , particularly among an ageing population in which certain classes of symptoms manifest only after a specific period . “ This shift represents moving away from a one size fits all approach and contradicts conventional practice of receiving medical attention on an ad hoc basis . Moreover , the key point of Healthier SG stresses on a single source of interaction to determine a wider range of health determinants ,” he said . n
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