Lim Voon Hooi, Chief Nurse, National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, Singapore

By Yun Xuan Poon

Women in GovTech Special Report 2021.

How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your  role or organization. 

As a Chief Nurse, I manage the nursing leadership, strategic planning, development and implementation of nursing professional services in the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics (NHGP).

Technology is vital to support nurses in delivering safe and effective care. Our nurses working at the forefront use IT solutions to a great extent to streamline workflows and improve overall productivity.

Along with various stakeholders, we evaluate, test and continuously enhance our IT systems. We also look for innovative solutions that support primary care transformation.

What was the most impactful project you worked on this year? 

In 2021, the most impactful project I worked on was the implementation of the Next Generation of Electronic Medical Record (NGEMR) system at NHGP. It was a defining moment for us as we were the first institution under the Group to go live with this advanced medical record system.

NGEMR is a major milestone in our IT roadmap as it symbolised digital transformation not only in primary care, but across various care settings in many public healthcare institutions. I was part of the team that helmed the implementation and rollout of NGEMR and was involved in content design, end-users training, and managing change analysis and mitigation strategies impacted by the migration.

What is one unexpected learning from 2021? 

Implementing a major IT project such as NGEMR in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic  required a herculean effort. Having to learn and be proficient in the use of advanced  electronic medical record systems before going live was extremely daunting as there were  concurrent priorities to support the nation’s effort in managing the pandemic.

Due to the need to observe safe management measures, end users training had to be done remotely, making it even more challenging. We had to be agile, open-minded, have a strong  sense of trust among team members, and a clear line of communications to ensure a  successful IT deployment. Always be prepared and prepare for the unexpected.

What’s your favourite memory from the past year? 

The successful implementation of Tele-Direct Observed Therapy (Tele-DOT) service in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic, which is also the first-of-its-kind in public primary care.

Tele-DOT uses synchronous video consultations which allows persons with tuberculosis to be observed remotely in the privacy of their home. This eliminates the need for physical visits to polyclinics for the sole purpose of medication ingestion.

The project was a collaborative  effort with Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s Tuberculosis Control Unit to ensure treatment adherence is not affected by the shift from conventional face-to-face visit to virtual consultations. The acceptance of this remote monitoring is high as it promotes flexibility and convenience.

Tele-DOT is now part of NHGP’s suite of telehealth service offerings.

What’s a tool or technique you’re excited to explore in 2022? 

I am looking forward to a streamlined vaccine management process, which we are currently  working on. This will help to improve nursing productivity and ultimately enhance patient safety.

What are your priorities for 2022? 

My priority is to evaluate technologies that can improve nursing care delivery. An area of  interest will be the application of wound analytics for wound care management.

Who are the mentors and heroes that inspire you? 

Ms Samantha Ong, Chief Nurse from the Institute of Mental Health for her mentorship  and candid advice as I advance into my leadership journey.

Walt Disney, who demonstrated that dreams can come true if one never gives up and has the courage to keep pursuing them.

What gets you up in the morning? 

My belief that my work and others are meaningful. That spurs me on everyday.