Six public healthcare institutions to start using new system for medical consultations over video

The new video conferencing system could either replace follow-up medical consultations - saving people the time and effort of physically travelling to hospital - or give people access to more frequent consultations.
The new video conferencing system could either replace follow-up medical consultations - saving people the time and effort of physically travelling to hospital - or give people access to more frequent consultations.PHOTO: NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL

SINGAPORE - Six public healthcare institutions will be the first to start using a new national video conferencing system for medical consultations, which was officially launched on Wednesday (April 12).

These could either replace follow-up medical consultations - saving people the time and effort of physically travelling to hospital - or give people access to more frequent consultations.

Previous video consultation trials were carried out on an ad-hoc basis over the years. But this is the first concerted effort across different institutions.

The six institutions are KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore General Hospital, National University Hospital, Institute of Mental Health and National University Cancer Institute, Singapore.

Patients who will benefit in this first push include those who have conditions such as eczema, infectious diseases, or those who require speech therapy or post-stroke care.

It is part of the Smart Health initiative, under the broader Smart Nation drive, spearheaded by the Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS), the national technology agency for healthcare.

"We see telehealth technology as an opportunity to better serve our patients, support collaborations between healthcare professionals across locations, and improve overall productivity of our system," said Mr Bruce Liang, who is chief executive of IHiS and chief information officer at the Health Ministry.

Under the new system, patients typically make a video consultation appointment after their first face-to-face session with doctors.They will be given an appointment time and can simply log on with their smartphones or computers.

Other initiatives that will be rolled out this year include tele-rehabilitation and vital signs monitoring.