Singaporean health chiefs embrace digital health to tackle staff shortage: report

Healthcare executives and young professionals across Singapore have a shared vision of delivering more connected and sustainable healthcare enabled by digital technologies.

Based on the Singapore findings of the Future Health Index 2023 report by Royal Philips, Singapore is making “steadfast” progress in digital health transformation. Findings from across Asia-Pacific were earlier published in the regional version of the report. 


The country’s Ministry of Health earlier projected a need for as much as 24,000 additional allied health professionals and support care staff to meet the demands of their nation’s ageing population by 2030. 

Based on a survey with 200 healthcare senior executives and young clinicians, 75% said they already use or are planning to use digital health technology to temper the effect of the growing workforce shortage in healthcare. In particular, they are looking at cloud-based technologies, out-of-hospital solutions, and workflow technologies like digital health records and patient flow automation.

Recognising opportunities and benefits from AI, a quarter of the respondents said they are currently investing in the technology. As much as 84% of them have committed to investing in health AI over the next three years. Among applications of AI, most healthcare leaders polled prefer AI for predicting outcomes and AI for clinical decision support. 

Meanwhile, an institution that is enabled by AI is a top consideration for employment among young healthcare professionals. 

About half of the healthcare leaders surveyed said they are also currently investing in virtual care, which has been recognised for having a “significant impact” on improving patient care.

As new technology-enabled distributed models of care have grown in popularity over the recent years, Singaporean healthcare leaders have not missed out with about two-thirds of respondents saying they are “well equipped” to work effectively with these new care models. Most of them expect these models of care to contribute to a better work-life balance and improved work satisfaction. 

In terms of benefits, these distributed care models are expected to deliver increased patient compliance or adherence to treatment; increased revenue opportunities; and increased efficiency and more convenient locations for patients.


Another evidence of Singapore’s strong commitment to AI adoption in healthcare is the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding between its national health technology agency Synapxe and Microsoft. The organisations are now collaborating to use generative AI to raise clinical productivity, among other areas of cooperation to modernise the country’s public healthcare IT. 

Singapore’s lead R&D agency, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, has recently launched a joint AI lab with health tech company EVYD Technology. The lab aims to facilitate multi-institutional, cross-border collaborations in digital health.


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