How can we ensure successful ageing?
Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has taken a three-pronged approach to meet long-term healthcare needs sustainably. While ageing is one part of the problem, the other is that there is a rise in chronic disease incidences too. Not only is demand for healthcare rising, so is the complexity of treatment and consultancy required.
The first part of the approach is to move beyond healthcare to health. Prevention as they say is always better than cure. Promotion of health then becomes the priority – the pre-emptive measure to manage and nurture the health and wellbeing of Singaporeans. Second is to move beyond hospitals to communities – transforming healthcare delivery and shifting care services from hospitals out to the people in their community or homes. Finally, to move beyond quality to value, to ensure appropriate and cost-effective care.
Smart healthcare is the obvious choice in this digitalised world, where robotics and automation have become necessities to move industry and business forward. But there is the continued concern that smart technology will replace jobs, especially so in healthcare where the human touch is a necessary part of service. We can however look at things from a different perspective: Smart technology enables healthcare professionals, caregivers and patients.
At a time when there is a worrying manpower resource crunch in the sector, smart technology allows doctors and medical professionals to focus on their key role – to care for, advise, and see patients through their medical treatment. Technology on the other hand would free doctors and healthcare professionals from the tedious but essential administrative and data-related work. Patients too benefit, as they would then have greater autonomy over their treatment and consultancy options, and will be able to spend more time in the comfort of their own homes and with loved ones.