SMU, SingHealth offer new undergraduate programme in healthcare administration

Students will be schooled in areas including health systems and policy, applied analytics in healthcare management, operations and supply chain management, and medical sociology. They will also have the opportunity to do an internship at a SingHealth
Students will be schooled in areas including health systems and policy, applied analytics in healthcare management, operations and supply chain management, and medical sociology. They will also have the opportunity to do an internship at a SingHealth healthcare institutions.ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI

SINGAPORE - In another boost to the healthcare workforce here, a new undergraduate programme in healthcare administration will start in January next year, it was announced on Tuesday (Aug 14).

The Health Economics and Management programme will be offered as a second major at Singapore Management University (SMU), in partnership with SingHealth, one of three healthcare clusters here.

Students will be schooled in areas including health systems and policy, applied analytics in healthcare management, operations and supply chain management, and medical sociology.

They will also have the opportunity to do a 10-week or six-month internship at any of SingHealth's 11 healthcare institutions.

A memorandum of understanding between SingHealth and SMU was signed at the Singapore Healthcare Management Congress on Tuesday.

The programme, which is open to all SMU students in their first or second year of study, will  rope in SingHealth staff to co-teach four of the courses.

Mr Tan Jack Thian, SingHealth’s group chief operating officer, said that more healthcare administrators will be needed, as  several new hospitals and nursing homes are due to open over the next few years.

“We are looking at having ready-trained healthcare administrators who can join us, so that there will be less of a learning curve and they can immediately do the job,” he added.

Currently, many healthcare administrators are recruited from other industries and they often require more training , said Mr Tan. 

The programme is the second formal training partnership between SingHealth and SMU. The first is the SMU-SingHealth Graduate Diploma in Healthcare Management and Leadership, launched in 2009.  More than 200 clinicians and healthcare administrators from Singapore and elsewhere in Asia have graduated from the programme.

The Singapore Healthcare Management Congress, held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, provides a platform for healthcare administrators to share best practices in areas like hospital operations, human resource and communications.

Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health, who was guest of honour, highlighted the important roles healthcare administrators play.

"Being key partners to clinical professionals, administrators are in a unique position to identify outcomes that matter to patients, collaborate with professionals to pioneer new care models, and manage enterprise risks in innovation," she said.

More than 1,400 healthcare administrators from Asia will attend the three-day congress, which concludes on Thursday.

SMU student Tham Qian Yu, 22, is keen on pursuing a career in the  healthcare and information technology sectors after graduating in two years’ time with a Bachelor of Science (Information Systems).

His interest has been fuelled by a volunteering stint in translation services at Changi General Hospital’s accident and emergency department since February last year.

“There’s a lot more that can be done in the back-end to better manage patients,” said Mr Tham. “I also want to show people that both the front-end staff like doctors and nurses, as well as administrative staff are equally important.”