care .. ( Health )

11 Jun

At an unnamed institution he visited recently, Mr Chee said arm rests for patients doing blood tests used to be cleaned between patients and would be ready by the time the next patient arrived. But the procedure was changed for the arm rests to be cleaned in front of incoming patients — leading to time wasted waiting for them to dry. “How does cleaning in front of people, compared to cleaning before the patient arrives, improve safety?” he asked at a conference to discuss rising healthcare costs.

Courtesy of : PUBLISHED: 4:00 AM, JUNE 11, 2016

SINGAPORE — The Republic’s healthcare system cannot keep operating on the current care model, and there is a need to question the rules and purposes of certain procedures to improve efficiency, said Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat yesterday.

At an unnamed institution he visited recently, Mr Chee said arm rests for patients doing blood tests used to be cleaned between patients and would be ready by the time the next patient arrived. But the procedure was changed for the arm rests to be cleaned in front of incoming patients — leading to time wasted waiting for them to dry. “How does cleaning in front of people, compared to cleaning before the patient arrives, improve safety?” he asked at a conference to discuss rising healthcare costs.

A business-as-usual trajectory for healthcare is unsustainable, said Mr Chee to an audience of 180 doctors, dentists and members of the insurance industry at The Good Life Cooperative conference.

Singapore cannot keep building more hospitals and hiring more healthcare workers in the same manner, as the population is ageing and the workforce will hit a plateau and eventually decrease, and care needs to move more into the community and lessons should be learnt from other countries and industries, he said.

Also more data is critical, and data sharing should also benefit those who provide it. Later this year, the Health Ministry’s publication of total operation fees for common procedures will include data of private hospitals, and the fees will be further broken down into “surgeon fees”, “anaesthetist fees” and “facility fees” to provide more transparency.

Factors that contribute to escalating healthcare costs include inefficiently delivered services, little priority on prevention and opaque pricing systems, said geriatrician Carol Tan, chairman of The Good Life Co-operative, which aims to provide quality and affordable healthcare.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), potential efficiency savings from human resources, medicine, hospitals and other areas could amount to 20 to 40 per cent of total health spending. NEO CHAI CHIN



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