How Singapore makes vaccination updates easy

By Yun Xuan Poon

National healthtech agency IHiS shares how they set up a new service in an all-in-one citizen health app.

Even for a tiny country like Singapore, rolling out a nationwide vaccination campaign is a big undertaking. The government has to coordinate vaccination centres across the country, manage supplies and make sure citizens know exactly where to go.

National healthtech agency IHiS has made part of this process easier. It has pulled personal vaccination records and updates onto a single app, so citizens have all the information they need in one place.

IHiS has built this service into HealthHub, a one-stop app that covers everything from appointment booking to refilling medications. Alan Goh, Assistant Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman of IHiS’s VacTech Workgroup, explains how it works.

A personal Covid-19 dashboard

Citizens and permanent residents can now check their vaccination records on the HealthHub app in real time, “ immediately after receiving their jab”, says Goh. The app shows the brand of vaccine, what batch it belongs to, where and when they were vaccinated, and the date of the second dose.

All this is displayed on a Covid-19 Records dashboard in the app, which also includes detailed Covid-19 test results for swabbed patients. The dashboard pulls data from Singapore’s central Covid-19 test repository, which connects test labs, hospitals and health authorities.

Citizens can download information from this dashboard as a PDF file. They can then present it at some schools, workplaces or events that may recognise this report as a supporting document of their vaccination status, Goh notes. More than 213,000 unique users have accessed the Covid-19 dashboard as of 31 March 2021, IHiS shares.

The Singapore government is also exploring a blockchain-based vaccination certificate that can be used internationally, CNA reported. This has been used to verify health documents across borders, including pre-departure Covid-19 test results.

How it works

Multiple agencies came together to build and enhance the connecting systems behind this service. These include the Ministry of Health, GovTech, the Health Promotion Board and IHiS, Goh says.

HealthHub takes information from the National Immunisation Registry, which is automatically updated as on-the-ground healthcare staff key in records. This allows HealthHub users to see their vaccination records update in real time.

These systems were also important for the actual vaccination process. Health centres pull allergy information from the National Electronic Health Record database to ensure all doses are administered safely.

One app to do it all

But what exactly is the HealthHub app, and why did Singapore choose to build vaccination record updates on it?

HealthHub is Singapore’s national health services app. Citizens already use it to book appointments, make payments and even refill medications.

The app helps to make trips to the hospital more convenient by combining all digital health services on one platform. Citizens can check estimated waiting times just before they see a doctor, and pay directly through the app.

Patients can also choose to share their records with caregivers, who will then be able to pay for their bills or check lab test results. Parents can check their children’s school health assessment results and upcoming scheduled immunisations.

Singapore plans to innoculate its entire population by the third quarter of this year. HealthHub’s new service places vaccination records in a single platform so it's simpler for citizens, which will be helpful for pushing the country’s vaccination campaign along.