In the first of a six-part,
fortnightly series sponsored by enterprise development
agency Spring Singapore, Francis Chan and Dhruv Velloor look at how
local firms can
become leaders in the fast-growing health-care sector
PATIENTS are becoming more and more
discerning, so local firms will need to raise their game in order to
meet service expectations if they want a bigger piece of the lucrative
That is the view of Ms Samantha Su, deputy
director of Spring Singapore's services and biomedical division.
Ms Su, who regularly deals with local
health-care players, says patient service is just as important as
"Today, patients are more sophisticated,
have access to more information and hence make informed decisions about
their health and treatments," she said. "Health-care companies need to
address patient service standards in entirety."
These, she added, include enhancing doctor-
or nurse-patient exchanges, patient experiences at various touchpoints
and the treatment processes that patients have to undergo.
"To support these areas, health-care players
must leverage on technology or design optimal processes to ensure
positive experiences," said Ms Su.
Latest figures show that firms in the local
health services industry generated $7.7 billion in operating receipts
and employed about 61,000 people in 2008.
The value-add from these firms, which
comprise hospitals, clinics, dental services and other health service
providers, also rose by 7 per cent to $4.1 billion in 2008 from a year
Spring notes that health-care firms are key
to Singapore's continuing growth as Asia's health-care hub.
Ms Su said she has also seen more interest
from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in seeking information
on how they can be more productive. "For instance, many players are
seeing the need to digitise medical records and X-rays with the aim of
shortening processing time and greater accuracies," she said.
Spring has been working with SMEs to enhance
patient service standards by helping them improve process flows and
make the best use of technology.
Two years ago, Spring launched the Customer
Centric Initiative for Health Care - a programme to support companies
in identifying service gaps and designing initiatives to bridge such
"Process efficiency is often critical in the
health-care sector as patients, and their families or friends, are
facing real medical conditions when they are in the providers'
premises," said Ms Su.
"Hence, it is very important for health-care
providers to ensure that every touchpoint when the patients are in
their premises be meaningfully and sensitively thought through."
For more information on how to grow your
companies, visit http://www.spring.gov.sg or call