Singapore pushes public healthcare professionals to the forefront of GenAI experimentation

By Si Ying Thian

Singapore’s health tech agency, Synapxe, has specifically designed the GenAIus Programme to drive the co-creation of GenAI-powered solutions with public healthcare professionals.

Over 160 participants from Singapore’s healthcare industry were involved in the GenAIus Challenge. Image: Synapxe.

Instead of only developing Generative AI (GenAI) innovations from the top and then deploying them to users in public healthcare institutions, Singapore’s national health tech agency has chosen to do it the other way round.


Through a call-for-innovation known as the GenAIus Challenge, Synapxe is connecting its technology partners with public healthcare professionals to co-create GenAI-powered solutions for the sector from the ground up.


Launched on April 25, the programme makes up one of three GenAI initiatives rolled out by Synapxe this year. The other two include a virtual event held in January, and an on-demand learning repository that will be released in Q3.


The programme has seen more than 160 public healthcare professionals participating, including doctors, nurses and administrators, as well as close to 70 use cases submitted across both clinical and non-clinical use cases.

Raising GenAI competency amongst healthcare professionals


Speaking to GovInsider, Synapxe’s Data Analytics and AI Services Planning Director, Christine Ang, shares that the process of promoting the new tech has not always been smooth sailing.


To drive interest in GenAI solutions, the agency had to provide training to enhance user's competency and implement a secure environment that could address compliance requirements while enabling adoption.

GenAIus Programme is“specifically designed to cultivate an innovative mindset among our public healthcare professionals,” says Synapxe's Christine Ang. Image: Synapxe.

GenAI is a different ballgame from conventional artificial intelligence (AI), she explains.


GenAI largely depends on a user’s ability and familiarity of the technology to maximise its benefits, contrary to traditional AI, which tends to be used for specific tasks with minimal user intervention.


“We saw the need to enhance the awareness of GenAI among our public healthcare institutions and equip them with the ability to leverage the power of GenAI more confidently,” she says.


This led to Synapxe launching the GenAIus Programme “specifically designed to cultivate an innovative mindset among our public healthcare professionals.”

Industry partnerships to facilitate innovation


Through a three-stage process across 12 to 16 weeks, Synapxe’s tech partners will work with healthcare professionals to guide them to develop and deploy GenAI-powered solutions to solve real-world issues and improve health outcomes.


These partners include Amazon Web Services, Avanade and Microsoft, and Google Cloud.

Last year, Synapxe partnered with Microsoft to tap on OpenAI tools to build one of its earlier GenAI ventures, a secure GPT for healthcare professionals.


Known as Synapxe Tandem, it is a custom-built common platform that enables healthcare professionals to access advanced technology securely and efficiently to enhance healthcare delivery.


“These collaborations allow us to leverage our partners’ leading tools and methodologies.


“It also provides our participants with the support of design thinking frameworks to help refine their use cases and access to our partners’ proprietary tools and tech expertise,” explains Ang.


The industry’s role is not only limited to building competencies, but to ensure that the professionals are developing tools in a safe and responsible way.


The applications are hosted on a secure and realistic testing environment built by Synapxe for participants to safely test their minimum viable products (MVPs), through which “they would better understand how [the applications] would perform under typical conditions.”

Responsible AI on the agenda


Participants have been introduced to the importance of responsible AI, as they were guided to ensure that MVPs were designed to be safe and adhere to responsible AI principles and practices, Ang explains.


To enable GenAI innovation in healthcare, she says that leaders need to establish a clear data management governance framework that defines data ownership, access, and usage, as well as a safe and secure platform for users to interact with GenAI.


“Safeguarding the privacy and confidentiality of patient records is crucial to maintaining the trust between the public and our healthcare providers,” she explains.


Synapxe currently refers to regulations and guidelines set by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Next steps


Following positive responses from public healthcare institutions, Ang says that plans are underway to organise more of such challenges, events and workshops alongside their tech partners.

Singapore General Hospital (SGH) senior consultant Dr Aaron Lee and his team at the two-day GenAIus Challenge workshop. Image: Synapxe.

As for submissions received from the last challenge, Ang shares that the agency wants to “bring as many ideas to the MVP [stage] as possible” and even identify potential use cases to be expanded across the three public healthcare clusters.


The GenAIus Hub, which will be launched in Q3, will house GenAI learning resources developed by its tech partners for public healthcare professionals.


“For a start, it will feature on-demand content and resources by Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.


“There are plans to onboard more partners in the near future and to progressively expand offerings to include instructor-led courses and hands-on workshops on various GenAI related topics,” she adds.


These initiatives would complement the existing work by Synapxe’s data analytics and AI team.


Last month also saw a new cloud-based AI and analytics platform, HEALIX, for the entire public healthcare sector. The platform consolidates the sector’s data needs in one place, making it easier for professionals to develop and deploy analytics and AI models to improve patient care.