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Singapore public hospitals win technology awards

Jack Loo | Oct. 29, 2013
CGH’s RFID-based initiative and TTSH’s use of QR codes lauded for aiding patients, doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

Singapore's public hospitals Changi General Hospital (CGH) and Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), together with the Health Ministry IT arm IHiS, have been recognised at a regional awards ceremony for their innovative use of IT in healthcare.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), a not-for-profit group that promotes the use of IT to improve healthcare quality, and Elsevier held the inaugural HIMSS-Elsevier Digital Healthcare Awards.

The awards honour organisations for outstanding achievements in the implementation and usage of health information and technology to successfully improve quality of care and patient safety.

TTSH and IHiS won for their SmartSense system which continuously monitors patients' temperatures and wirelessly records their vital signs, while CGH and IHiS won for their medication management system which uses Quick Response (QR) codes.

At the Digital Healthcare Awards, six hospitals from the region including TTSH and CGH were recognised for their efforts.

IHiS has rolled out the RFID-based SmartSense system at all TTSH general wards serving over 1,400 patients daily.

The SmartSense RFID tag attached to the patient allows doctors and nurses to instantly view online the patient's latest vital signs to provide timely treatment. The RFID tag also tracks patients' locations, enabling staff to better manage infection control during pandemics. It also protects nurses' safety as there is minimal patient contact for temperature recording.

"SmartSense has revolutionised the way our nurses work. They can now spend more time on direct patient care. With the system, we are today better equipped to manage pandemics," said TTSH Director of Nursing, Yong Keng Kwang.

The location tracking feature also helps staff improve bed management to maximise the number of patients the hospital can admit. When a patient is discharged, housekeeping and bed-management units are alerted immediately, and the bed is cleaned within 30 minutes for the next patient.

IHiS CEO, Dr Chong Yoke Sin, said: "The system is a first in Southeast Asia in functionality and peripheral interfacing. There are plans to integrate SmartSense with other clinical charting applications."

The CGH's Closed Loop Medication Management system uses QR codes instead of conventional barcodes to match and verify the doctors' prescriptions, drugs and patient data.

Eastern Health Alliance Group CEO, TK Udairam, said: "The Closed Loop Medication Management system with QR code enables us to deliver safer care through the administration of the right drugs and right dosage to the right patient at the right time." CGH is part of Eastern Health Alliance Group, a healthcare cluster set up to look after patients in the eastern part of Singapore.

"It has also substantially increased productivity and staff satisfaction by improving inventory management and enabling our healthcare professionals such as nurses more time for direct patient care," added Udairam.


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