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OPENING SPEECH BY DR AMY KHOR, SENIOR MINISTER OF STATE, MINISTRY OF HEALTH, AT THE HEALTHCARE INFRASTRUCTURE TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING CONFERENCE (HI.TEC) 2019

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by April 2, 2019 Politics

His Excellency Mr Scott Wightman, British High Commissioner

Her Excellency Paula Parviainen, Ambassador of the Republic of Finland

Mr Goh Aik Guan, Managing Director, MOH Holdings

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning. Let me warmly welcome our distinguished overseas visitors. I am pleased to join you today at the seventh Healthcare Infrastructure Technology & Engineering Conference (HI.TEC). I would like to welcome our partners, the British High Commission, the UK Department for International Trade, Healthcare UK and the Embassy of Sweden in Singapore. For today and the next, distinguished speakers from these and other countries will be sharing with us their experiences and lessons learnt during their healthcare digital transformation journey.

2. I am also heartened to see many local and overseas healthcare experts coming together to share best practices, exchange ideas and discuss innovative infrastructural solutions. Let me once again extend a very warm welcome to everyone.

Increasing Healthcare Accessibility Through Capacity Development and Care Transformation

3. To meet rising healthcare services demand, the government has been ramping up healthcare service capacity across all healthcare settings. We have completed seven new hospitals since 2010, including the Sengkang General and Community Hospitals which were officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 23 March 2019.

4. Primary care, which plays a crucial role as the foundation of our healthcare system, also saw considerable growth in service capacity. Two new and three redeveloped polyclinics were completed since 2017. We will also expand the current network of 20 polyclinics to reach 30 to 32 by 2030.

5. We also injected a significant supply of aged care services, especially in home and community care, to encourage ageing in place. We have added 2,700 daycare places since 2015, so that seniors can access day care services near their home, especially if they have working caregivers. Home care places also grew by an additional 2,300 places over the same period, to cater to seniors who need to be cared for at home.

6. Despite the rapid pace of development, it is important for us to do so whilst maintaining quality and managing costs. We seek to do so through close collaborations with industry players and healthcare providers. This has led to the adoption of innovative construction technologies and methodologies in many aspects of healthcare infrastructure building and management.

HI.TEC 2019 � Transforming for Integrated Digital Delivery

7. This is why, as a concluding statement in last year’s HI.TEC conference, Minister for Health also challenged Singapore’s healthcare industry players to go beyond building smart, to developing smart buildings, so that long term healthcare costs and resource requirements are sustainable.

8. This year’s conference, which focuses on transforming our healthcare landscape to enhance the digital delivery of care, is a fitting extension to Minister’s challenge. As we know, the key challenges faced by Singapore’s healthcare landscape are growing manpower constraints, an ageing yet growing population as well as increasing land scarcity. However, the emergence of new technologies such as advanced artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning and the Internet of Things have unlocked exciting new opportunities for us to improve healthcare development and delivery, and simultaneously address some of these key challenges.

9. MOH and MOHH have embraced these opportunities where possible. For the past few years, we have been actively incorporating appropriate new construction technologies, such as Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction and Building Information Modelling into new public healthcare projects. We are starting to see the fruits of these efforts, as new healthcare projects are developed with less manpower than traditionally required. For example, the use of Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction and advanced pre-cast concrete solution in recently completed nursing homes in Woodlands, Bukit Batok West and Taman Jurong have enabled us to achieve manpower savings of between 25% to 65%, compared to conventional construction methods. Outram Community Hospital, which will be opening by 2020, has thus far achieved an average of 20% in manpower savings via the use of structural steel technology.

10. From this year onwards, selected new large-scale public healthcare projects will be adopting the Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD) approach, which involves the use of digital technologies to integrate work processes and connect all stakeholders involved in the project during and after its construction. This will enable MOHH to better track and manage the building’s assets and life cycle costs. The new Health Sciences Authority building and the Kallang Polyclinic and Long Term Care Facility, when completed, will be the first two public healthcare developments to be IDD certified.

MOH’s SMART Strategy for Public Healthcare Facilities

11. Last year, we shared that MOHH will be working to implement a SMART hospital infrastructure framework for public healthcare facilities, which will complement our ongoing Smart-Nation drive. Since then, MOHH has mapped out the framework where several key infrastructure initiatives will be implemented to support the connectivity, sustainability and well-being of future healthcare facilities.

12. For example, data analytics will be adopted to support a more optimised and predictive maintenance schedule for key infrastructure, such as lifts. In addition, a variety of sensors will be put in place to regulate the building’s indoor environment and monitor facility usage, in order to help better achieve an optimal balance between energy consumption and user comfort. We will continue to refine and implement this framework on new large-scale healthcare projects, starting with the Woodlands Healthcare Campus development that is currently under construction, to achieve greater efficiency and sustainability in our healthcare facilities.

Setting Up of a Healthcare Laboratory at BCA Academy

13. Similar to how every chef needs a kitchen to create and perfect his/her new recipe, we recognize the importance of providing adequate avenues for our healthcare innovators to pilot their concepts. To facilitate this, MOHH is exploring with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to develop a new healthcare-specific mock-up facility to support the testing of innovative technologies and design solutions, such as energy management, indoor environment monitoring, digital workflow simulations and predictive analytics. In time, this facility can also collaborate with other existing industry laboratories, thereby enabling the sharing and testing of new technologies across different industry settings.

Concluding Remarks

14. With finite land, manpower and fiscal resources against the backdrop of increasing healthcare demand, there is greater urgency today to leverage on IT and digital innovations to support both the development of Singapore’s healthcare infrastructure and the subsequent delivery of healthcare.

15. I hope the sharing and insights gleaned from this year’s conference will help catalyse new and innovative ideas on digital transformation, and open the door to further collaborations amongst the stakeholders, leaders and industry partners.

16. Let me wish all of you a most productive conference ahead. Thank you very much.

Source: MINISTRY OF HEALTH (MOH)

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