Singapore’s healthcare sector will further digitise information and employ data analytics to increase its productivity, it has been announced.

“Technology is a key enabler in our efforts to improve productivity,” said Minister of State for Health, Chee Hong Tat, at a budget debate yesterday. “Our strategy for technology is three-pronged: digitise, connect, analyse,” he added.

Hospitals and clinics will need to digitise information and processes, he said. The Ministry is also connecting IT systems to improve data sharing across different healthcare institutions, including government, private and voluntary organisations.

“Third, we are analysing the healthcare data collected to better predict care needs and utilisation patterns,” he added. “For example, using data to identify and reach out to seniors who visit hospitals regularly, to see how their healthcare needs can be better met through community and home care.”

Meanwhile, patients and caregivers are being encouraged to self-serve. Next month, the Health Promotion Board will launch a “personal health management app”. The app will be part of the HealthHub scheme and allow users to track their health conditions.

Another new tool in HealthHub will allow users to calculate their risk of getting diabetes. The tool will rely on a number of factors like family history, age, gender, body mass index, physical activity, nutrition, and any known history of diabetes.

Singapore will also continue automating labour-intensive work in hospitals. Changi Hospital, for instance, has started by use robots to deliver linen, drugs and documents. In the future, robots may also interact directly with patients. “We are looking at robots to be the interface between humans,” Selina Seah, Assistant Chief Executive, Changi General Hospital.