A pioneering new project from Singapore’s Health Promotion Board lets people check their health details online, including test results, screening records, and upcoming appointments.
What’s pioneering is that the scope of the project will keep increasing. As the department receives feedback, it will expand the range of records and services available – creating a cutting-edge digital healthcare service.
GovInsider caught up with Chung Mui Ken, Chief Information Officer of the Health Promotion Board (HPB), to discuss how her team built the HealthHub, and what’s coming next.
When was the idea conceived?
The idea for a one-stop portal and mobile app for Singaporeans to access a wide range of health content, deals, rewards and e-services was first conceived in late 2013.
Recent research found that sourcing for health information is a popular online pursuit globally.Singaporeans often ask for information regarding their health from HPB and our healthcare institutions. Given Singapore’s high smartphone and Internet penetration rates, introducing a one-stop online health information and services portal and app, is a natural progression and a good showcase of Smart Health.
Who worked on it?
HealthHub is an initiative by the Ministry of Health and the Health Promotion Board, supported by MOH Holdings and Integrated Health Information Systems. Other supporting public healthcare institutions include the Agency for Integrated Care; Alexandra Health System; Eastern Health Alliance; Health Sciences Authority; Jurong Health Services; National Healthcare Group; National University Health System; Singapore Health Services.
How did you design it?
The HealthHub team conducted focus group discussions during the design phase to understand what the public would like to have in HealthHub.
The segments of participants in the focus groups are: parents-to-be; parents of young kids; the health conscious; those diagnosed with a condition; and the recently screened.
We will continue to gather feedback from the public through focus group discussions, usability testing sessions, and the online feedback form in HealthHub.
What challenges did you have to overcome to make this possible?
One of the key challenges is to provide the medical information and records in a way that the man in the street can easily understand.
Another challenge is to integrate a vast amount of data across many IT systems in the public healthcare sector which require us to prioritise and roll-out the services offered in HealthHub, in phases.
What was the easiest and quickest part of the project?
We have readily available public content such as healthy living, A-Z, news, events, programmes and directories which were the easiest to curate, edit and publish.
How do you plan to adapt it according to feedback?
HealthHub will be built in phases. It will be continuously enhanced over the next few years to feature more information and services such as payment of medical fees, medication lists to help patients and caregivers keep track of prescribed medications, and printable child immunisation histories.
The HealthHub team welcomes public suggestions and feedback to this early release. This will help us to introduce relevant content in later releases, making the portal and mobile application become increasingly useful to Singaporeans. This will enable them to take greater ownership of their own health and wellness.
Other than health articles and information, HealthHub actively engages users through the offering of health and wellness deals, to make healthy living more attractive and rewarding. Users can also accumulate Healthpoints by sharing health articles, events and apps through social media, widening the reach of these content and activities.
Healthpoints can then be converted into Plus! Linkpoints to offset grocery bills or redeem vouchers and other deals. Through these engaging activities, HealthHub will be able to integrate outreach and engagement to encourage the adoption of healthy habits.
In the near future, it is envisioned that HealthHub will feature the following features:
- Push Notifications (e.g. Screening, Student Health/Dental, Immunisation)
- Student Health/Dental Consent Form
- Patient Medication (e.g. Medication reminders, Medication Refill, Medication Adherence Data)
- A Medication Information Leaflet
- Patient Self Management of Chronic Conditions
We love your project. What other schemes have you found inspiring?
We recently launched a new app, Healthy 365, to help public track their calories in (via food intake) and calories out (via physical activity). Caloric balance will be one of HPB’s key focus moving forward, and along the way we will be continually working on the app, adding new features so that it will be relevant.
Healthy 365 is different from other apps that tracks calories because the database is localised and adapted to include specific local dishes. While there may be different ways in which food can be prepared which may change the calorie count, and there will always be a percentage of errors in the tracking of calorie intake using technology, the calorie count will still be more accurate compared to other apps based on overseas databases.
Additionally, Healthy 365 is fully integrated by the HPB into the National Steps Challenge, a physical activity initiative by HPB to encourage Singapore residents to be more physically active, enabling the easy tracking of steps taken every day.
This further differentiates the Healthy 365 app from other readily available apps, allowing Singaporeans to make use of the app to manage their own health with ease and convenience.