Community care sector to get $18m under new initiative to drive digital efforts: AIC

Bright Hill Evergreen Home residents interacting with Dexie, the humanoid robot. PHOTO: BRIGHT HILL EVERGREEN HOME

SINGAPORE - Some $18 million will be pumped into Singapore’s community care sector to drive digitalisation efforts via a new initiative known as the Community Care Digital Transformation Plan.

This was announced by Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Monday morning (June 13) at the Agency for Integrated Care's (AIC) annual Community Care Work Plan Seminar, a hybrid event held at Pan Pacific Singapore. AIC was set up by the Government to coordinate eldercare services.

The Community Care Digital Transformation Plan aims to raise digitalisation levels, enhance productivity and job satisfaction in community care organisations.

These efforts include the introduction of digital technologies, building digital capabilities to enhance organisational effectiveness and service delivery, AIC said in its press release on Monday.

The transformation plan offers community care organisations a comprehensive suite of digital solutions that are cost-effective and supported by reliable vendors.

Organisations can also seek consultancy services to guide them in harnessing technology, as well as a range of training programmes for management and staff, AIC said.

"AIC and the Ministry of Health (MOH) will coordinate more support to the community care sector to enable more community care organisations to advance their digitalisation efforts," the release said.

To further increase productivity, projects incorporating technology adoption, infrastructure design and process improvements are being conducted in selected nursing homes. These projects are being supported by AIC, in collaboration with MOH and MOH Holdings.

For instance, autonomous mobile robots are being used to streamline routine processes involving labour-intensive tasks, such as delivering linen, food and medical supplies.

The findings from such projects will be used to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of such digital solutions and equipment.

Furthermore, AIC will continue to support community care organisations to groom and retain talent under the Job Redesign (JR) pilot, the release said.

Launched by AIC and MOH, JR hopes to create new, higher value-adding support care roles that combine a range of skills and functions for enhanced job satisfaction and help staff build meaningful careers.

The first phase of the pilot was conducted from April to September 2021 in four organisations with different care settings, with 43 staff involved in testing the redesigned roles.

The second phase will start next month, with up to eight more community care organisations on board.

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AIC's learning institutes will also scale up training capacity. There has been a twofold increase since 2018, with more than 18,000 training places offered annually, the agency said.

AIC chief executive Tan Kwang Cheak said: "AIC will be with our community care partners every step of the way as they advance in their digital journey based on the CCDTP (Community Care Digital Transformation Plan), as well as press on with efforts to attract and retain talent, all for the common goal of helping seniors to live well and age gracefully." 

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