On 21 October, LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best joined 20 other healthcare and academic institutions led by new Centre for Healthcare Innovation (CHI) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and launch the CHI Co-Learning Network, in a ceremony at Marina Bay Sands presided over by Minister of State for the Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat. CHI is an open network and forum to bring together healthcare practitioners and enablers to co-build thought leadership in healthcare innovation, co-transform the workforce for the future and co-develop new training programmes and pedagogies.
Representing the School in the Network is LKCMedicine Executive Vice-Dean Professor Lionel Lee, who has taken on the role of council member. The Network is an important node in Singapore’s healthcare system which is being geared up to meet future healthcare challenges. The healthcare sector is facing the double whammy of a rapidly ageing population and the rise of chronic disease, which will increase the burden of care. By 2030, one in five people here will be 65 years or older, while the healthcare services battle a tight labour market.
Emphasising the need to collaborate to drive better value, adjunct Professor Eugene Fidelis Soh, CHI Co-Learning Council Chairman who is also TTSH Chief Executive Officer, highlighted the Network’s three strategic thrusts, saying, “Co-Learning is the idea that we learn better together as a Community of Practice. In this open network, we gather practitioners and enablers to make things happen. The strategic alliance today with our partners will be backed-up by a robust action plan.”
Already, some preliminary discussions have started for the Network’s partners to co-learn and co-create value in healthcare. Take for example, the Routine to Research project by one of the Network’s international partners, the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University in Thailand. There is strong local interest in the success of this initiative in providing essential resources such as funding, research tools, and relevant methodologies to aid the hospital’s staff in transforming their daily health services into scientifically sound research which then forms the basis for improved routine healthcare practices. The Network will explore how best to adapt this revolutionary project to the local institutions.
TTSH and another one of the 21 partners, MOHH’s Healthcare Leadership College, are also developing a module to introduce lean and design thinking. This will enable future healthcare leaders to drive continuous improvement and take a system approach to addressing future challenges in care. Tsao Foundation, currently the sole community partner in the Network, will bring in the perspective of the patient, the caregiver and the community into the discussion and development of healthcare solutions by the Network.
Echoing the need to co-learn, co-transform and co-develop, Prof Best emphasised the need for LKCMedicine students to have a micro as well as macro view of medicine. He said, “Our focus is of course on education and our goal is to prepare the next generation of doctors for Singapore not only to be able to embrace the changes that are essential but to lead those changes. We are preparing our students to be excellent team members, to take on leadership roles when necessary and to be comfortable with change. We teach them that knowledge is constantly evolving and that systems change. We teach our students to learn from the rest of the world (that is why this partnership includes international partners)…They also have to understand the broader health system and what their role in it is. And we have a strong focus of that in our programme.”
CHI will soon have a building of its own, just next to LKCMedicine’s Clinical Sciences Building, and the two will be linked via a footbridge on the fifth level. When completed in late 2018, the CHI building will be the largest purpose-built centre for healthcare innovation in Singapore. With nine surface floors and four basement floors, it will include simulation labs, living labs, innovation spaces, engagement spaces as well as meeting and conference facilities. CHI will also host the Ng Teng Fong Healthcare Innovation Programme with an endowment of $52 million to seed healthcare innovation, train the workforce for the future and enable our community of care.
The MOU signing and launch of Co-Learning Network was held on the second day of National Seminar on Productivity in Healthcare 2016 organised by CHI.