Changi General Hospital's (CGH) new medical centre, housing 14 specialist clinics and centres, was officially opened yesterday.
The centre will better serve the hospital's increasingly older patients, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at the opening ceremony.
A key feature of the facility is that doctors are organised into teams of different specialties so as to treat patients with complex problems, he added. The new nine-storey building, which is linked to the main hospital, has a corridor running behind the clinics so doctors can easily speak to one another.
Another advantage is the way the specialists are clustered.
Mr Gan gave the example of how gastrointestinal surgeons and gastroenterologists are both housed in the Digestive Diseases Centre.
He said: "Patients with particular complex conditions will be able to receive same-day referrals to more than one specialist, if necessary.
"Through these efforts, the MSPs (multi-specialty practices) help patients make fewer trips to the hospital (and they also benefit) from more timely, consolidated diagnosis and treatment."
A CGH spokesman said about 28 per cent of its patients need the care of more than one specialist.
Mr Gan also spoke about the hospital-to-home programme in public hospitals, which has helped more than 20,000 patients since its launch in April last year.
Under this scheme, healthcare professionals from the hospital work with neighbourhood volunteers to see that the patient's move back home is smooth and to provide continued care from community partners, if needed.
Mr Gan told the story of patient Tan Ka Chiew, a smoker with lung disease, who was depressed and had financial problems. Ironically, he would hope that his illness would worsen so he could be readmitted to hospital and there would be someone to care for him.
After being put on the hospital-to-home scheme, he now takes his medicine and has cut down on smoking. He even volunteers as a senior befriender.
The minister said that with the integration of services and the moving of care from the hospital to the community, primary care becomes even more important.
As part of this move, he said Pasir Ris Polyclinic will be redeveloped in the Pasir Ris Integrated Transport Hub and will be more user-friendly, with barrier-free access. A Health Ministry spokesman said the tender for the integrated hub will be awarded next year.