Forum: More checks and controls needed in healthcare

Tighter checks and controls are critical in the healthcare sector.

My wife's recent experience reflects this. She went to Singapore General Hospital last Thursday for an endoscopy, was found to be suffering from gastritis and was prescribed medication for it.

At the hospital pharmacy, the pharmacist was visibly surprised at what my wife had been prescribed, as it was a very potent medication meant for very special gastritis cases. The pharmacist went on to ask my wife a few more questions, and decided to verify the appropriateness of the medication with the doctor who had prescribed it.

The pharmacist eventually established that the doctor had prescribed for my wife medication meant for another patient. The doctor had mistakenly entered the medication into my wife's medical record.

Such mistakes could have severe consequences; human lives are at stake.

While controls on IT, procurement and contract management are essential to strengthen governance and accountability over funds and resources, let's not forget other critical areas that also need scrutiny.

Ong Kok Lam

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