NHG to survey 7,200 residents on health matters

Researchers will use data to establish general health status of those living in central region

The National Healthcare Group (NHG) began a survey this month to better understand the state of health of 7,200 residents living in central Singapore.

The three-year Population Health Survey, which is led by Dr Heng Bee Hoon, director of NHG's health services and outcomes research (HSOR) unit, aims to establish baseline data on the general health status of a typical Singaporean in the central region.

HSOR researchers will use the data collected to create an index that will be an indicator of the physical, mental and social health status of the people.

The study's principal investigator, Mr Li Ruijie from HSOR, said that similar studies have been conducted in other regions but NHG is "the first regional health system (RHS) to create an index to summarise health status".

The survey's first phase - involving 3,200 Singaporeans or permanent residents aged 21 years and above - started this month and will end in May 2017. The second phase, which will poll 4,000 residents, will be conducted from September 2017 to March 2018.

NHG, which is funding the study, is the RHS for central Singapore. Under the RHS model, a general hospital works closely with its cluster of community hospitals, nursing homes, home-care and daycare providers and private clinics in the area.

In a statement yesterday, NHG group chief executive Philip Choo said that a sustainable healthcare system "is built on the basic principles of population health which emphasise prevention, education and early detection of diseases".

Home addresses in the central area, in estates such as Geylang, Toa Payoh and Ang Mo Kio, have been selected randomly from the national database. Those selected will receive an invitation letter from NHG.

More than 30 trained interviewers will be conducting face-to-face interviews, which are expected to last 45 to 60 minutes.

Participants will be required to answer 138 questions, covering the status of their physical and mental health, nutrition and cognition. They will also be asked about how they take medication and make use of healthcare services, as well as their lifestyles and environment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2015, with the headline 'NHG to survey 7,200 residents on health matters'. Print Edition | Subscribe