New support centre to promote home treatment for patients

New support centre to promote home treatment for patients

SINGAPORE - Philips Healthcare has partnered with Eastern Health Alliance (EH Alliance) and CGH on a tele-health pilot programme for heart failure patients, with the aim of enrolling 150 patients by October 2015.

A tele-healthcare centre is a support centre that educates patients on healthcare integration in the home.

The innovative programme integrates three key elements, namely; tele-monitoring, tele-education, and tele-care support via the EH Alliance's Health Management Unit (HMU) nurse tele-carers.

This is in line with the government's projected increase in expenditure of up to over $13 billion in 2020 for the healthcare sector.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam had announced in his budget speech earlier today that the spending will "continue to increase beyond this decade." He also added that "while we had set aside monies last year to fund the full projected cost of the Pioneer Generation Package, the underlying healthcare subsidies received by all Singaporeans will need to be funded from annual budgets."

Senior Director, Asia Pacific for Philips Healthcare, Mr Fernando Erazo lauded this announcement by saying that the Pioneer Generation Package was a timely initiative to offset rising healthcare costs for the rising number of elderly patients admitted to hospital each year.

Mr Ezaro added that while the package is a great relief for the pioneers, there is a more pressing need to help seniors manage their chronic conditions better such that they do not need to be hospitalised frequently. "The rapidly ageing population, coupled with the patient load in hospitals, is leading to a huge burden on Singapore's healthcare resources," he said.

In response to the budget proposal that there is a need to better manage elderly patients within the home setting via innovative technology, Mr Ezaro says that, "Philips sees an answer in home-based care to reduce the patient load in hospitals and increase the role of primary care in Singapore, especially for chronic patients."

He highlighted the example of heart failure patients who are frequently readmitted as they are unable to properly manage their heart conditions at home.

The tele-health pilot programme has been localized for the Singapore population through customised programme protocols for patient's needs and making the content (e.g. educational videos) available in local languages.

Mr Ezaro also added that Philips recently announced the establishment of a new tele-healthcare centre in Toa Payoh, which is scheduled to be completed in early 2016 to remotely monitor patients. This will allow hospitals to treat more patients and give them a better quality of life from home.

This tele-healthcare centre will house a healthcare training centre and a mock hospital and aims to provide a base for Philips' expanding efforts in this field.

debwong@sph.com.sg

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