SINGAPORE - A team at the Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) had plans to develop over a 12-month period more features for pandemic management in an IT system officially launched in December 2019 to manage healthcare resources.
But when it became quite clear the Covid-19 pandemic "was coming our way in January last year, we finished this in about four months", said Mr Bruce Liang, the chief executive of the technology agency for public healthcare.
IHiS was honoured on Thursday (March 18) for its role in helping to develop this command, control and communications (C3) system at the IT Leader Awards.
This year's awards, organised by the Singapore Computer Society, was themed "Tech Heroes From Crisis" to pay tribute to people who made a significant positive impact on the community through technology during the Covid-19 crisis.
The C3 system at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) helped the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) quickly make bed space available for patients and safely manage the crowd flow as Covid-19 numbers surged.
Its rapid deployment was done progressively, with 21 versions of the system, or one to two releases a week. This contrasts with systems that might get upgraded once or twice a year, or patched once every month or so, noted Mr Liang.
The amount of work involved was huge, requiring the IHiS team to integrate information from sensors and real-time data with IT systems, process the data and make sense of it visually.
Using artificial intelligence and data analytics, the C3 system helps healthcare workers to predict demand for hospital beds and other healthcare resources, as well as identify bottlenecks such as long waiting times for patients and or at laboratories performing a large number of patient tests.
This allowed TTSH and NCID to better control the flow of resources across both institutions, which are closely located and share the same pool of manpower.
The C3 system has over 1,500 indicators, including tracking of hospital equipment and how congested beds and wards are, many of which are monitored in real time.