Stressing on the focus of using technology to raise productivity as a part of the MOM’s 2020 Healthcare Manpower plan launched last month, many healthcare providers are already on board.
These include Peacehaven Nursing Home and St. Andrew’s Community Hospital, which is making use of a ceiling track hoist to support patients as they walk from one end of the centre to the other. The hoist also helps patients practise going up and down steps.
Many public and private hospitals in Singapore are now using inventory management systems to allow suppliers monitor and top up the level of consumables and medication within the ward, thus reducing the manpower required for such tasks. Similarly, a system at Mount Elizabeth Hospital has reduced man hours by 48.5 percent, thus saving a total of 387 man hours per month.
While technology has helped streamline back-end work, it is still not able to replace many other aspects of healthcare. With wearable devices freeing staff from performing only administrative functions and paperwork, the nurses at Tan Tock Seng Hospital are now able to dedicate 35 percent of their time on direct patient care.
Robots will definitely not be able to replace attention and care of nursing professionals, as the role of caregivers is more than just being on hand to assist with medication and routine patient care but to focus on rehabilitation to improve quality of the patient’s life. Also the cost of technology is sometimes way too high for healthcare institutions to bear.
Jamiyah Nursing Home director Lai Foong Lian was quoted by Today, “With subsidies, (tech innovations) become affordable, but how sustainable will that be? Will the Government give you subsidies all the time or just for the initial tryout?”
Meanwhile, Peacehaven Nursing Home is trying out a new type of robotic-assisted bed that activates an alarm whenever an elderly resident attempts to step out of the bed, thus allowing them to be monitored remotely rather than having to station staff nearby.
At the Home Nursing Foundation, a digital workforce optimiser schedules home visits based on patient’s care team’s assessments and care plan. The system automatically sends electronic text reminders to patients and caregivers three days before home visits.