Health Care Services Information
Healthcare services have seen several changes throughout the years to respond to changing demands of the population. The present key drivers and issues that stakeholders (patients, healthcare providers, vendors and government) in the healthcare sector face are ageing population, increased burden of chronic conditions, rising public demand/expectation for quality healthcare, fragmented and uncoordinated healthcare services and rapid advances in information technology.
At present, information technology is considered a "strategic necessity" by world class organizations instead of just a supporting tool. To obtain a competitive advantage in an environment with intense competition, it is vital for organizations to use more sophisticated information technology tools to address the challenges of building and deploying system in the short term and the identification, research and design of future system.
Information technology (IT) is rapidly becoming integrated with healthcare to improve processes and communications, support decision making, reduce inaccuracies, and improve patient safety. The advancement of medical science through the years has made possible the use of more expensive equipment and the latest technology. This will allow healthcare providers and patients to gain access to health information easily and thus has the potential to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care. As the healthcare industry is information intensive and knowledge intensive, there is also a need to publish health care information and knowledge.
Healthcare systems vary from country to country but they all have a common aim that is to meet the healthcare needs of target populations. In this report, I will be focusing on healthcare IT in Singapore context.
Healthcare System in Singapore
Singapore has a dual health care system where individuals can choose between public and private providers. The government through Ministry of Health (MOH) manages the public healthcare system. MOH plays a major role in formulating national health policies, coordinating the improvement and planning of the public and private healthcare sectors and regulating health standards. MOH’s mission is to promote good health and reduce illness, to ensure Singaporeans have access to good and affordable healthcare and to pursue medical excellence (Ministry of Health, 2007). MOH’s vision is to develop the world’s most cost-effective healthcare system to keep Singaporeans good health.
Healthcare services in Singapore are provided by different types of providers from primary care to tertiary care and to step-down care.
Primary care includes primary medical treatment, preventive healthcare and health education (Info-communications Development Authority of Singapore, 2009). In Singapore, primary health care is provided through outpatient polyclinics and private medical practitioner's clinics. 80% of the services are provided by private practitioners while the remaining 20% by government polyclinics.
Conveniently located in town centers all over the island, polyclinics are one stop health centers which offered services such as outpatient medical care, maternal and child care health.
Secondary and Tertiary Care
For the secondary and tertiary care, 80% of the hospital care being provided by the public sector and the remaining 20% by the private sector.
This public sector is organized into two vertically integrated delivery networks, Na