October 2016 | Issue 26
LKCMedicine Dean speaks as Guest-of-Honour at inaugural Medicine Update 2016


Speaking to an audience of about 1,000 delegates from various healthcare industries across the world, Guest-of-Honour LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best delivered the Opening Address of the inaugural Medicine Update 2016 organised by Raffles Medical Group (RMG) in collaboration with Mayo Clinic at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre on 24 September.

The Medicine Update, held in conjunction with RMG’s 40th anniversary, also marks the first anniversary of RGM joining the Mayo Clinic Care Network (MCCN). Over the course of the one-day symposium, participants engaged and shared ideas and knowledge with each other on the conference focus “Perfecting the Mayo Model of Care and Shaping the Future of Healthcare,” with five dedicated tracks on the topics of Cardiology, General Medicine, Haematology/Oncology, Healthcare Management and Neuroscience. RMG is the only MCCN member in Asia.

During his Opening Address, Dr Best focused on medical education and the teaching of doctors for the future, highlighting how LKCMedicine is contributing.

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LKCMedicine Dean Prof Best delivers his keynote address

Prof Best said, “We think we are at the frontline of innovative approaches in medical education towards the acquisition of knowledge and skills, with extensive use of IT in all aspects of their learning including assessment. But perhaps the most significant change in medical education in my career has been in relation to attitudes.” In the past, he said this was dealt with informally as part of a ‘hidden curriculum’. How do we approach this critical aspect of medical education, he asked?

“Well a good starting point is to think about the attributes we would like our students to display… what kind of doctors do we want our students to become? Quite simply, at LKCMedicine we want our students to be the kind of doctors you and I would like to have caring for us and for our families.

“Some of these attributes are found in doctors who make the interest of their patients paramount; care for their own health and that of their colleagues; understand and respect patients’ beliefs and choices; show humility … reflect on their experiences in quality and safety; recognise the obligation to pass on their knowledge and experience, and there are many more. It is quite a task…” – all of these ideals he knows are what the Mayo medical school is similarly committed to.

To achieve this outcome, he shared that LKCMedicine has a careful approach to the selection, culture, engagement, training and support of students across the five-year programme. His talk was well-received by the audience, which included more than 30 LKCMedicine students from the first to fourth cohorts.

Aside from Prof Best’s address, two other popular presentations that day were Mayo Clinic Rochester Minnesota’s Consultant Gastroenterologist and Associate Professor of Medicine Dr Mark Larson’s Stamford Lecture and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida Dr Gianrico Farrugia’s Victoria Lecture.

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Dr Larson delivers the Stamford Lecture

Dr Larson’s talk focused on the core elements of the Mayo model of care. “One of Mayo’s core elements is that the needs of the patient come first, and that has become Mayo’s primary value… directing every single thing that we do. Every critical decision that we make comes back to this.”

Dr Larson also spoke about the power of teamwork – the collegial, collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach at Mayo. “Teamwork. It’s never about one single physician. Always about the team!” Echoing Prof Best’s emphasis on the importance of being patient-centred in delivering healthcare and training of future doctors, he also said that at Mayo, there is a focus on “an unhurried examination with time to listen to the patient”.

“It’s remarkable what you can learn from the patient. Best way to practise is to listen and to focus on an unhurried examination,” he added.

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Dr Farrugia delivers the Victoria Lecture

Dr Farrugia’s presentation focused on “The 4th Industrial Revolution: Shaping the Future of Healthcare”, characterised by the blurring of lines between the digital and physical worlds.

Again emphasising patient-centred care, he started off his session with: “We spend US$900m every year on medical research and education. However, unlike other healthcare institutions, we always ask what is the link to the patient?”

Predicting the future of healthcare, Dr Farrugia told the rapt audience, “Artificial intelligence will be the healthcare disruptor in the near future with the advent of computer-driven diagnostics.” Also gaining traction are liquid biopsies, he said, which are types of specimen other than tissue, such as urine, blood and cerebral spinal fluid, that can be used as viable alternatives to traditional screening methods for cancer.

Concluding his talk, he had a word of caution for visionary institutions which are predicting new technologies. “About 80 per cent of the time, we did not accurately predict what’s going to happen… so what’s the best way forward?” Referring to a graph of highs and lows where standardisation helps to lift the bottom, he suggests “investing in innovations that can go towards the lifting of the bottom, but also the rising up of the top.”

Throughout the day, 27 exclusive discourses were presented by key opinion leaders and experts from RMG and Mayo Clinic. Among the international speakers, 15 were from Mayo Clinic. It is hoped that this inaugural event will be the start of a hallmark fixture that one can look forward to annually.

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L-R: Prof Best with Medicine Update organising committee co-Chairman Dr Donald Poon; Audience listening to Prof Best
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Prof Best with faculty, staff and students of LKCMedicine