'School of X' design thinking pilot programme aims to tackle real-world problems

The staff at Alexandra Hospital are exploring the idea of an app that consolidates patients' care plans and that enables the information on their needs to be shared across different carers and settings, as part of a School of X pilot programme. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A patient's hospital experience could be improved further if there is an application that consolidates their care plans and enables the information on their needs to be shared across different carers and settings, with the patients' consent.

The staff at Alexandra Hospital exploring the idea say such an app may help elderly patients after they have been discharged and as they are cared for at home.

The idea is one of several being explored as part of a School of X pilot programme.

At Alexandra Hospital, staff are being challenged to find a model where patients are cared for by a single team within the hospital, and their post-discharge care is integrated with the community.

A three-day workshop was held in October last year, attended by 30 participants including staff from the hospital's care team and community partners.

Mr Lim Cher Wee, who is chief operating officer of the Health Ministry's Office for Healthcare Transformation, said of the idea behind the app: "This can allow care teams in the community to better coordinate holistic care that is appropriate to the patient's needs."

The current practice, he said, can be complex as it involves different teams.

"Healthcare is a complex human-centred practice, delivered one patient at a time," explained Mr Lim on Wednesday (July 3).

"It is important to take in the voices of patients and their communities, as they are often in a position to describe their care needs, and imagine ideas that can help address such needs."

There may also be underlying social or functional factors that cause an elderly patient to be admitted to hospital, he said. For example, a patient could have been injured from a fall at home because he had no caregiver.

"We want to look at the patient from a 'whole-of-person' perspective, not just a clinical or medical perspective; and address the root causes, more than the symptoms," said Mr Lim.

The School of X programme was proposed by the Design Education Review Committee to support a recommendation it set out on Wednesday on creating more real-world design learning platforms for professionals.

The committee made four other recommendations on Wednesday: strengthening industry links; giving students more trans-disciplinary opportunities; enhancing training programmes; and empowering the public to learn about design. The recommendations aim to enhance existing design programmes in the institutes of higher learning, and embed design in their non-design programmes.

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