Page 1

January–March 09

A SingHealth staff magazine

At Home With...

Dr Wong Yue Sie shows us a side of him that nobody knows!

SingHealth on Facebook Join our social network!

Allied Health Professionals Find out more about them in our special report!

Contents • • •

Foreword by A/Prof Colin Song Our staff’s new year wishes The artists behind the Sunshine Man

01-02 me+YOU • •

• • • • • •

Our patients’ stories in our Annual Report 2007/8 Our mentors nurture the next generation of healthcare professionals Meet our SingHealth innovators Let’s face it—SingHealth on Facebook Celebrating A/Prof Lim’s conferment IT security SingHealth shines at the awards News-in-brief

03-12 me+GROUP

• • •

• • • • •

Highlights from SingHealth’s Workplan 2009 Healthcare I Care— The President’s Challenge 2008 Dr James J. Mongan presents the key to an organised healthcare system All about Health Technology Assessment Quality Matters Live On—Organ donation support Advanced Medical Directive Explained Snapshots of staff in major events

14-26 me+SPOTLIGHT • • • • •

At Home With... Dr Wong Yue Sie A new you for a new year More of staff’s new year wishes Symphonie spa debuts in Chinatown E.A.T Drink and be merry

• • •

The Lighter Side Patients. At The Heart Of All We Do. me@SingHealth

34-35 me+SMILES • •


This quarter in history Upcoming events


Mediactive Editorial and Design Team Lyon Low Florence Long Mediactive Pte Ltd 65 Ubi Crescent #06-07 Hola Centre Singapore 408559 T: 6846 4168 | F: 6846 4768

Correction me+SH Oct/Dec 08 on Page 29 should be: Based on a 70g slice, the nutrient content of fruit cake should be: • Energy 226 kcal • Protein 1.9g • Carbohydrate 43g • Fat 6.3g

27-33 me+LIVING me+SingHealth or me+SH represents who we are in SingHealth—as intertwining threads conveying synergy and complementing one another to form a beautiful fabric. me+SH links you to the action in all of SingHealth and around the healthcare industry. Do check out me+SH Online (http://mysinghealth/Singhealth/ MeSH) and me+SH Flash in your emailbox too!

Patients. At the Heart of All We Do.

SingHealth Editorial Team Tan-Huang Shuo Mei Amelia Champion Katheryn Maung Jeanie Cheah Arthur Wong

All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without the written permission of SingHealth and the publisher. The views and opinions expressed or implied in the publication are those of the authors or contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of SingHealth and the publisher. Whilst due care has been exercised, both SingHealth and the publisher do not accept responsibility for errors in advertisements or articles, unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations.

MICA(P) 234/03/2008

Out of the





oom and gloom. It’s on everybody’s lips. It’s the last sentiment left with us from 2008; it’s the first expectation that now greets us in 2009.

We’re all aware of the reality of spiraling commodity costs and economic crises. Yet depending on how we choose to face up to uncertainty, I believe it’s still possible to view this New Year as a time that’s brimming with positive anticipation of things to come. Allow me to share a personal example. During my days as a medical student in South Africa, I learnt that it is better to be pleasantly surprised than to be bitterly disappointed in times of uncertainty. As a South African, life meant living through the stark reality of a world where you’re not seen as a person of equal standing or aptitude. Even so, it’s not right to view everything in a negative light because in reality, things won’t always go the way we expect. It’s wiser instead to see any setbacks as personal challenges, not obstacles that stop us from achieving our ideals or goals. Keeping ourselves educated is one positive way of moving forward. At SingHealth, I believe we’ve been heading in the right direction with our consistent efforts to accord education its rightful place here. We’ve seen that previously with the advent of Duke-NUS; this year we’ll see it again with the upcoming launch of our SingHealth Academy. What’s also exciting is that we’re not going to teach in the traditional teacher-disciple method anymore; with new methodology coming on board this year, it will allow us to do things more intuitively. The key here for all of us is not to lose focus because of a possible global recession, but to continue placing our SingHealth staff on an academic path in terms of changing culture and cultivating academia. In this issue, you’ll find that education and self-improvement are going to be very much in the limelight. I’d also like to highlight and congratulate the winners of the various awards. This only confirms the formidable talent we have on board here, and I hope that all of us will continue to work together to channel those energies in the right direction.

A/Prof Colin Song Group Director, Education SingHealth; Head & Senior Consultant, Dept of Plastic Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, SGH; Director, Postgraduate Medical Institute, SGH


Hear Our Staff


2009 looks set to be an exciting year. We ask our staff what their new year wishes are.


Ms Jean Tan, Physiotherapist, CGH I wish for some kind-hearted soul to help provide equipment and rehab gadgets (at low cost) for needy patients. We should remember the less fortunate who will need more assistance during these challenging times. Find out more about Jean’s profession in the Allied Health Special.

This issue’s cover features the works of artists Eeshaun and Chiau Ling, who are part of the SingHealth Arts For Health Programme. Here they share the symbolism behind their Sunshine Man illustration. Watch out for works of these two artists around Outram Campus in the coming months. Eeshaun… … is a self-taught 28-year-old artist who enjoys the immediacy of spontaneous and whimsical drawings. He challenges logic and perspective in his artwork and it is the unexpected twists, mistakes, irreverence and surprises in his pieces that bring on endless amusement for him. Eeshaun has created artwork and illustrations for Adidas, Nike, Discovery Channel, onedotzero (UK), FARMWORK, Nicholas, Cleo Fashion Awards, Singapore Fashion Festival 2006, Play Imaginative, Zouk, IDN, Pictoplasma (Berlin), and the San Diego Comic Conference among numerous others.

Dr Wong Yue Sie, Chairman, Division of Ambulatory and Clinical Support Services, SGH

Ms Jean Tsai, Programme Director, Arts For Health

I wish for a new me. I haven’t thought about myself as much as what I need to do in the new year. However, I’ll keep to the same resolutions I make every year—to keep my weekends for my family, and not bring any work home. If need be, I’d rather stay in the office until I’ve completed what needs to be done. Find out what Dr Wong does at home on page 27.

I wish more (people) will embrace art in their lives, to stimulate the creation of new views, new rhythms, new ideas, and new dialogues. Get creative with Arts for Health in The Lighter Side on page 34.

On The Cover Seo Chiau Ling… … is a young artist willing to take on new challenges and work beyond convention. Her current art direction encompasses wall drawings, spatial relationships and site specificity. Her works can be seen at numerous exhibitions in Singapore including 7 SINS (Sculpture Square); Deller Butcher Award and Philip Morris Singapore Art Awards (NAFA); Fart, Sex, Lollies (The Colony); A New Level of Creativity (Ngee Ann City’s iforum), and the prestigious CDL Sculpture Award Exhibition 2003 (SAM).

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Celebrating Patients and their stories of triumph come alive in the SingHealth Annual Report 2007 - 2008


s our Chairman, Mr Bernard Chen, aptly says, “Everyone of our patients has a story to tell, and in their remarkable stories is our achievement.” Echoing his sentiments is Group CEO Prof Tan Ser Kiat who says we must “never lose sight of the reason why we are here in the first place—our patients.” Our leaders’ inspiring words anchor our Annual Report 2007/8 to bring to life our staff motto, “Patients. At The Heart Of All We Do.” The publication adopts a bold approach and features photos of patients throughout its pages. Along with the stark photography come stories and testimonials of how they have overcome their illnesses while under the care of SingHealth staff. Mr Karthigayan Ramakrishnan is only one of the many remarkable characters featured in our Annual Report. The 24-year-old burns patient at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) was a survivor of the fighter jet crash in Taiwan in May 2007. Third Sergeant Karthigayan suffered 45 per cent burns to his body, and may have succumbed to infection if not for the donated skin that covered his injuries during the first two weeks of treatment. The graft acted as ‘natural bandages’ for the Muay Thai enthusiast, who spent the first six weeks unconscious, yet progressed rapidly to be discharged from hospital only two months after admission. THE PATIENT, We feel proud to have been able to serve and play a THE WHOLE PATIENT AND part in his triumph over his illnesses. The heartwarming NOTHING BUT THE PATIENT. success stories of Mr Karthigayan and other patients continue to spur us on to do even better. Read more patients’ stories in our Annual Report, available online at SINGHEALTH ANNUAL REPORT 2007

Patients. At the Heart of All We Do.

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t SingHealth, we are committed to nurturing generations of healthcare professionals, tapping on the wealth of experience from our three professional groups—doctors, nurses, and Allied Health professionals. Celebrating the spirit of mentorship, young healthcare professionals work alongside SingHealth veterans and learn through first-hand experiences with their mentors. Dr Arundhati Anshu, a Cornea Fellow, whose mentor is Prof Donald Tan, Medical Director of Singapore National Eye Centre and Senior Consultant and Head of Cornea and External Eye Disease Service, says, “The clinical, surgical and research experience I have gained working with Prof Tan, a pioneer in opthalmology, is stimulating and inspiring. The extensive healthcare network gives us referrals to the most interesting and challenging cases in the country, so everyday is a new experience.” Apart from doctors, veteran nurses and Allied Health professionals also offer their knowledge to eager mentees. Ms Joyce Lim’s nursing career has been shaped significantly through her mentor, Ms Paulin Koh, Deputy Director of Nursing at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. “My mentor has provided me with great guidance and coaching based on her wealth of experience and knowledge,” she says with gratitude. Their experiences are among the many captured in the Learn From the Best series of recruitment advertisements, where SingHealth takes a personal approach that exemplifies the importance of education and the development of our professionals. By adopting a learning culture, we hope to nurture future leaders in continuing its role as the leader in healthcare.

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SingHealth Mentors and their Mentees in our Recruitment Advertisements

The best managed healthcare systems have always been open to innovation and change. At SingHealth, we applaud the spirit of inquiry and creativity as we strive to provide better care for all patients.

The CFC aims to encourage viable innovations that will improve healthcare quality and efficiency. Here are two innovations awarded grants from the Infocomm Development Authority (iDA).


Allied Health Innovative PractiCe Award 2008 SingHealth staff are encouraged to take a proactive approach in improving existing healthcare processes and systems. The Allied Health Innovative Practice Award 2008 in December celebrated the innovation and creativity of our Allied Health professionals. The three winning teams each won cash prizes and a certificate.

1. QC Neurons, CGH The team was recently at Corporate Office’s Synergy event to present their winning idea. Their innovation, the newly designed and improved version of the Sputum Trap, investigates the effectiveness in reducing patient’s discomfort during the suction process. Prior to QC Neurons’ innovation, sputum collection was a harrowing business, costing the hospital valuable time and money because the design of previous traps resulted in numerous failures to obtain samples. It was not uncommon to spend more than four minutes collecting a sample as professionals had to QC Neurons were at Synergy to try at least twice per patient. demonstrate the Sputum Trap. With the new design by QC Neurons, collection time has been reduced to a single minute, and success rate is close to 100 per cent. This also results in cost savings of $12,960 annually.

1. Improving Door-to-Balloon Time in Patients Developed by: SGH Dept of Emergency Medicine, NHC, and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) Through the use of wireless Electrocardiogram (ECG) transmission from the SCDF ambulance, emergency departments at the hospital can now arrange earlier activation and treatment for arriving heart attack patients, significantly reducing the mortality rate for a widespread health problem.

2. Healthcare X-change Portal Developed by: SingHealth, ECnet An online portal that will improve the flow of useful information and advice on medical care through expert content and online interaction. This will result in a healthier nation with greater awareness in illness prevention and healthier living.

2. Eat More, CGH

Eat More’s winning entry helps better the lives of dysphagia patients.

The team helped improve the treatment of dysphagia patients by having a dietitian attend the twice weekly Dysphagia Tables along with Speech Therapists to complement speech therapy with dietary expertise. Patients and their caregivers are now able to grasp swallowing strategies and how to adjust food consistencies. They are also advised on their proper nutritional needs.


Innovators In SingHealth

Healthcare Call-forCollaboration (CFC)

Team member Dawn Tan receives the award from GCEO Prof Tan Ser Kiat.

3. The Parkinson’s Mobility Aid, SGH It improves the mobility of the patient by addressing gait problems faced by Parkinson’s disease patients, it can also reduce the risk of falling down, thus giving patients a better quality of life.








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Scribble a message on our wall Tell us what you would like to see online and in our print magazine, or simply say hi to all our friends.

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Extra SingHealth EMR Discussion Group

Chua Mei Ling, NHC wrote on your wall “I wish to be able to provide better information to my patients whenever they are in doubt.”

Chin Chu Sing, SGH wrote on your wall “I wish that my days will be happy, my heart will be light and my new year will be joyful and bright”

A Family Celebration!

Nurses with Degrees

We applaud the spirit of learning and continuing education among our nurses. Many have furthered their studies at the tertiary and post-graduate levels, while more are in the midst of doing so even while juggling work responsibilities. They bear testament to the strong desire of our nurses to continually improve and advance to greater heights in order to attain better patient care and build an academic work environment where service, education and research come together synergistically. We congratulate our most recent graduates who received the Master of Health Science (Management) degree from the University of Sydney... Clary Bell Fernandez (CGH), Gormit Kaur (SGH), Karen Perera (SGH), Kaneswary d/o Kandesamy (CGH), Kuttiammal d/o Sundran (SGH), Leong Siew Teing (SGH), Lee Yen Yen (CGH), Lim Fong Chee (SGH), and Connie Yeoh Wai Yee (CGH). Kudos to Lee Yen Yen, who was also conferred the Faculty of Health Sciences Award for Excellence in the Master of Health Science (Management).

Up Close

with A/Prof Lim

Q: What was your first thought when you received the conferment? A/Prof Lim: I am honoured and humbled to receive the conferment on behalf of nursing. I consider this as recognition of the progress made by the nursing profession in Singapore as this prestigious invitation is not often offered to nurses. I hope that this appointment is just the beginning and will act as an inspiration to the nurses to give their best, do all they can to achieve quality patient care and continue to push the frontiers of nursing. Q: How did your family react to the good news? A/Prof Lim: My family was very proud and happy that I am able to contribute to nursing. They are also very proud to have an A/Prof in the family.


At SingHealth




oth SingHealth and Madam Lim Swee Hia’s family rejoiced at her conferment to Adjunct Associate Professorship by Curtin University of Technology, one of Australia’s leading universities, to its School of Nursing and Midwifery. A/Prof Lim had earlier received a similar honour from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, to its Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies. In the 1960s, when nursing was perceived as a lowly job that involved only “changing bedpans” and “turning patients”, A/Prof Lim’s father was worried that his eldest daughter would have to go through much hardship as a nurse. Fortunately, A/Prof Lim’s twin brother convinced their father to support her ambition of taking up formal nursing training. As a first-year nursing student at the paediatric ward of SGH, A/Prof Lim was so impressed and inspired by the senior nurses that she made it her personal goal to excel as a nurse. Through her many portfolios, she has been responsible for various initiatives that have improved recruitment and retention of nurses. A/Prof Lim is ever confident that she had made the right career choice, and looks forward to sharing her wealth of nursing experience with the younger generation of nurses.

he SingHealth IT Security Day 2008 Seminar ended on a positive note on 22 October 2008. The event was well received by our staff from various institutions and invited participants from the National Healthcare Group. Keeping in line with SingHealth’s annual security seminar for staff to update themselves on new technological trends and the latest security threats, IT Security Day consisted of two tracks—fundamental and advance—to cater to the different levels of understanding in IT security.

With the surge in participants and their interests in IT security knowledge, international IT experts were flown in to share and discuss various topics and scenarios of how employees from different departments might be affected by loss of confidentiality and compromised security. Participants walked away with a greater appreciation of IT security and how to protect their work data.

Tips to increase the security of your computer data: 1. Choose a good password Don’t use passwords that are based on personal information or can be found in the dictionary. Instead, use a combination of numbers and letters in both upper and lower case.

2. Lock your computer when you’re away from it Even if it is for a few minutes, someone could easily gain access, copy, or delete sensitive information in your computer.

3. Manage cookies When you browse the internet, information about you are stored in cookies (i.e. IP address, type of browser used, what websites you’ve visited). Disable cookies and only allow them for sites you visit



Our staff continue to receive numerous awards – securing many firsts in the history of SingHealth as well as Singapore – for their commitment in delivering quality work and professional care to patients.

Shines at the Awards


0 SingHealth is proud of our EXSA 2008 winners.

EXCELLENT SERVICE AWARDS (EXSA) 2008 Our staff received a record win of 1,808 awards. This serves as a glowing testament to the collective efforts of our institutions and staff in exemplifying service excellence. The EXSA SuperStar Award only has one winner from each industry. This is the third consecutive year our practitioners have won the accolade. Congratulations to:

EXSA SuperStar Award Winner (Healthcare) Prof Phua Kong Boo, Senior Consultant, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital Widely commended for his professionalism in the delivery of care towards patients at work and beyond, including his active involvement with voluntary welfare organisations such as the Children’s Society and Club Rainbow. Prof Phua’s projects and initiatives bring clinical benefits to many, an example is the Rotavirus vaccine trials, which decrease the incidence of severe rotavirus gastroenteritis among children locally. Other notable awards he has garnered in recent years are the EXSA Star Award 2005, Ruth Wong Award 2006 from the Singapore Children’s Society, Healthcare Humanity Award 2006 and The CEO Heart Award 2007 – KKH’s pinnacle award for excellent service qualities.

EXSA SuperStar Award Finalist Rosie Khoo, Senior Nurse Manager, Singapore General Hospital Highly committed to her profession and the organisation, she demonstrates a great capacity for hard work and constantly performs beyond the call of duty. An ardent supporter of quality improvement, several of

her projects have been borne out of a need to look at patient care and safety, ensuring seamless service for patients and improving work processes for staff. These projects have been presented at international meetings overseas. Rosie works well with all levels of staff and continues to be the motivating factor for her colleagues.

AARP INTERNATIONAL INNOVATIVE EMPLOYER AWARDS 2008 SingHealth was one of only two winners from Asia at the inaugural awards ceremony which marked the first time employers outside the United States were conferred awards. They recognise demonstrated innovative workforce or human resource practices that address issues relevant to employees aged 50 years and above, and are judged on the criteria of recruitment practices, workplace culture, lifelong learning and education, career development, and alternative work hours among others. SingHealth has been at the forefront of recruiting, retaining, and re-employing mature workers through our Silver Connection programme since 2006. Currently 18% of our employees are above the age of 50, and almost 80% of retired staff have continued to work at SingHealth. “We believe that age brings wisdom and skills that are not easily replaced. Our age-friendly human resource practices... help mature workers remain meaningfully employed while fulfilling their personal goals,” explained GCEO Prof Tan Ser Kiat.

Presented at Hospital Management Asia 2008 held on 26 September in Manila, Philippines, AHMA recognises outstanding hospitals that serve as a benchmark for others by displaying exceptional performances in various fields. SingHealth and its hospitals clinched seven awards—two winners and five runners-up. They reflect our continual efforts to find new and better ways to improve healthcare. Congratulations to the following winners: Category


Customer Service

• SGH (Winner) “Express Service@SOC: No more queuing for payment and reappointment”

“I wish that all the poor and sick elderly people can receive the appropriate medical treatment.” – Lau Minyi, SGH

Departmental • KKH (Joint Winner) “Reducing Waiting Time And Enhancing Service Improvement Access for Paediatric Magnetic Resonance Imaging” Human Resource Development

Internal Customer Service

• KKH (Excellence Awardee; Runner-up) “KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital-Singapore International FoundationNational Paediatric Hospital, Cambodia: A four-year collaboration in train-the-trainers on paediatric emergency care project” • SingHealth (Excellence Awardee; Runner-up) “Scan and Click: Patient Context Switching” • KKH (Excellence Awardee; Runner-up) “Development and Implementation Of Financial Capital Budgeting System (eCAPEX)”

Marketing, PR/ Promotional

• SGH (Excellence Awardee; Runner-up) “Engaging Our Community And Patients Through Awareness Outreach”

Patient Safety/ Quality Medical Care

• SGH (Excellence Awardee; Runner-up) “Multi-prongs Interventional Patient Falls Prevention Program”


New Year Wish “Peace and harmony for all. Hopefully common sense and goodwill will prevail.” – Christopher Chang, SHP

The following were also invited as speakers at the event: 1. Dr Wong Yue Sie, Chairman, Division of Ambulatory & Clinical Support Services, SGH 2. Alson Goh, Director, Speciality and Ambulatory Services, KKH 3. Stephanie Teo, Assistant Director, Service Quality, SingHealth

In the pink of HEALTH

4. Phua Tien Beng, Assistant Manager, Service Operations & Performance Management, SGH

SINGAPORE’S FIRST ISHIDATE AWARDEE Dr Camilla Wong won the very first 2008 Ishidate Award for Singapore in the Hospital Pharmacy category during the opening ceremony of the Federation Of Asian Pharmaceutical Associations (FAPA) 2008 Congress held in Singapore last November.

TAN CHIN TUAN NURSING AWARD Established by Dr Della Lee of the D.S. Lee Foundation in 2005, the Tan Chin Tuan Nursing Award recognises promising and talented enrolled nurses who are dedicated to advancing the nursing profession locally. This national level award was named to honour the memory of the late banker and philanthropist, Tan Sri (Dr) Tan Chin Tuan. Congratulations to our four nurses who clinched the award on 21 November 2008.

Certificate of Merit (Special Commendation) - Ms Puspha d/o Meenachi Sundram (SGH)

Certificate of Merit - Ms Chan Kim Geok (SGH) - Ms Goh Sher Ann (SGH) - Ms Lim Pui Ching (NHC)

NDC Platinum HEALTH Award 2008

A holistic approach of incorporating health screening, educational talks, healthy eating and physical activities—this is the winning formula for the National Dental Centre Singapore (NDC). In recognition of their commitment to have staff embrace wellness in their daily life, NDC was awarded the Platinum Singapore HEALTH. The centre’s Executive Director, Dr Kwa Chong Teck, received the award from Health Minister Mr Khaw Boon Wan on 20 November 2008. Our other institutions have also been given the award, and it exemplifies SingHealth’s mission to improve workplace health and wellness.





I n The News


SingHealth Corporate Office MISSION POSSIBLE On 25 October 2008, we migrated our Electronic Medical Record (EMR) platform to the new Eclipsys Sunrise Clinical Manager (SCM) V5.0. Called Mission for Improving Clinical Outcomes (MICO), this Herculean exercise took a mere 13 hours without a glitch. It involved more than 300 healthcare and IT staff in planning and execution. MICO is a clinical transformation • providing SingHealth with the ability to optimise and standardise clinical workflows across its nine institutions, ensuring consistent care across all institutions; • enabling our doctors and healthcare staff to make better clinical decisions; • reducing errors in work processes. This brings us closer to realising the national goal of “One Patient. One Record.” Clinical information on a patient is now captured from the moment he enters an institution to the moment of discharge, through to continued care in an outpatient setting. Through the new platform, doctors may place their clinical orders for laboratory tests, prescriptions for patients, etc., electronically. CGH doctors were the first in the group to use this Computerised Physician Order Entry system in December 2008. Another major component – the Closed Loop Medication Management system – will be implemented in April this year by KKH. This allows for a common view of inpatients’ medication information at each point of care. All MICO components across the group are expected to be completed by the end of 2010.

KK WOMEN’S AND CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL (KKH) FAMILY VIOLENCE DIALOGUE GROUP APPRECIATION AWARD Congratulations to KKH’s Medical Social Work (MSW) team for winning the inaugural

Family Violence Dialogue Group Appreciation Award 2008. It is given to outstanding individuals or teams who embrace the spirit of inter-agency cooperation, client-centred approaches and openness to innovation as well as learning from best practices in intervention work with families experiencing violence. Award winners are nominated by other agencies for their child-focused practices: KKH’s MSW team scored in its management of child abuse cases. One of the improvements and initiatives that the team introduced included streamlining the referral of child abuse cases to the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS). The team proactively attended child protection training, both locally and overseas, and was outstanding in their preliminary investigation and risk assessment of child abuse cases. They also enhanced inter-agency partnerships by initiating regular networking sessions with the police and MCYS to discuss operational issues and ways to improve service delivery for children and their families.

STORIES OF HOPE AND INSPIRATION KKH Breast Unit organised a breast cancer awareness exhibition last year to coincide with the launch of KK Alpine Blossoms and a public forum on breast cancer. The exhibition, entitled Stories of Hope and Inspiration, featured five artistic sculptures made from real casts of breast cancer survivors. The works of art were created by students of LaSalle College of the Arts, Singapore, and depicted real surgery scars of survivors to alert the women of Singapore of the need for regular and timely screening for breast cancer. The exhibition also included a display of educational panels, videos and personal counselling to highlight the importance of early detection in the treatment of breast cancer. Stories of Hope and Inspiration is the brainchild of A/Prof Hong Ga Sze, Head and Senior Consultant, KKH Breast Unit.


Chlorine contaminated casualty (played by simulator) being washed down by decontamination personnel

Casualty being pushed to the Critical Care (P1) Area

P1 doctor checking on casualty’s condition

MOH mass casualty exercise held on 11 October 2008. The aim of this full-scale hospital-wide movement was to prepare SGH and the larger Outram Campus for mass casualty situations arising from civil emergency incidents involving bomb blasts and hazardous material release; while still providing adequate care to existing patients and responding to other medical emergencies. Those involved included the hospital’s key clinical and supporting departments as well as Campus centres’ medical manpower reinforcements. In recent years, government agencies, healthcare professionals and public health advocates have sought the best ways to mitigate the potential impact of a mass casualty incident that would otherwise overwhelm both public and private resources. Hospital disaster preparedness has therefore taken on an increased importance. SGH is definitely one of the leading public hospitals to take a renewed interest in re-examining its civil emergency plans and conducting mass casualty preparedness exercises.


CARE officers interviewing a casualty’s next-of-kin

P3 nurses checking on a casualty

DEM staff scanning simulated casualty for radiation contamination, using the newlyacquired Radiation Survey Meter

22 November 2008 marked yet another historic moment for NHC as it launched its 10th Anniversary Time Capsule. The capsule contained numerous memorabilia including the first Annual Report in 1999, old medical devices and uniforms. About 200 guests and staff witnessed the momentous occasion with Minister for Health Khaw Boon Wan as the guest of honour. He praised NHC for having a strong team of highly skilled and deeply compassionate specialists led by A/Prof Koh Tian Hai. The time capsule will be opened in 2028 on the centre’s 30th anniversary.


Hospital Decontamination Station (HDS) staff pushing the supplies trolley to the Decon Station for washing of casualties





FIRST ANNUAL COURSE On 18 October 2008, NNI organised its first annual course for the Community Care Partners Programme (CCPP). The CCPP is an initiative by the Parkinson’s Disease And Movement Disorders Centre of NNI, which provides specialist training for healthcare workers in the community who are managing patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Ms Lisette BuntingPerry, a nurse expert in PD with a strong focus on palliative care was one of the speakers which included therapists and dietitians from TTSH who spoke on PD management from gait and balance, home modifications, rehabilitation strategies, swallowing, and speech improvement to nutritional concerns. Over 100 health workers involved in PD patient care attended the workshop. The event also recognised the efforts of the existing seven CCPP partners and welcomed five community care organisations—AWWA Elderly Services, Ren Ci Hospital & Medicare Centre, St. Andrew’s Community Hospital, Sunshine Welfare Action Mission and TOUCH Home Care—as new partners.

MOH NURSES MERIT AWARD Ms Lee Kah Keow, a Nurse Clinician of NNI, was one of the recipients of the MOH Nurses Merit Award 2008. This award is given during the Nurses’ Day commemoration each year in recognition of nurses’ excellent work performance and commitment to their patients and the nursing profession. Ms Lee’s main role is to provide education and counselling to family members and patients in cases involving head injuries, neurovascular conditions and hydrocephalus, so that they can better understand and cope with their conditions. She has also developed new patient education brochures and initiated the first pre- and post-brain surgery and carotid endarterectomy written guide in Singapore. She is actively involved in research activities to provide evidence-based care to her patients. Her works have been presented in various local and international conferences, and published in medical and nursing journals.


10th SINGAPORE STROKE CONFERENCE The 10th Singapore Stroke Conference, organised by NNI and CGH, was themed “Neurorestoration—Reducing Recurrence, Enhancing Recovery”. The three-day conference (31 October-2 November 2008), attended by some 450 healthcare workers from both local and regional hospitals, had highlights on neurorestoration, stroke nursing and neurorehabilitation. It covered many clinical concepts in stroke prevention, acute intervention restorative treatments, nursing and rehabilitation. Guest of honour, Mr Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health, officiated at the opening ceremony.

Ms Hasliza Abdul Majid (below, extreme right), SHP’s Senior Manager of Administration, received the medal from Minister of Health Khaw Boon Wan at the Ministry Of Health’s Investiture Ceremony held on 24 November 2008.The medal is awarded to officers who have rendered consistently good service, shown special performance under difficult circumstances, and demonstrated significant efficiency, competence and devotion to duty.




SingHealth Workplan


As we kick off the new year, I would like to address the goals and priorities for the cluster for FY09; the purpose of which is to focus our efforts on key high-impact initiatives. These priorities represent many months of dialogues between your key institution leaders and the SingHealth senior management. SingHealth’s strategic goal is for our group of institutions to be a trusted leader in healthcare in our respective fields; from the pursuit of best tertiary care and academic medicine by SGH, KKH and our national centres, to the integration of care as a trusted regional hospital in the eastern part of Singapore by CGH, to becoming the leader in family medicine by SHP. To achieve our goal of becoming a trusted leader in healthcare, SingHealth as a group will focus on five key areas in the next financial year.

With a commitment to teamwork and riding on our collective strengths, we can push ahead in strengthening Patient Care, Education and Research.

Patient Care

Our patients who visit us at Outram Campus, regardless of which doctor they see, view us as ONE entity dedicated to providing quality service. •

Integrate and coordinate care: o Institutions on Outram Campus need to improve on care coordination such that the care delivery is seamless and holistic o CGH will continue its pilot project on how it can conceptually function as an integrated healthcare provider in the east by building closer working relationships with primary care and step-down care providers. o SHP will forge closer links and relationships with GPs

Increase access to care: Reduce wait times for new Specialist Outpatient Clinic (SOC) appointments; reduce time to admit A&E patients; improve and re-engineer work flow and processes; aim for 70 per cent of all departments to meet target of subsidised wait times to appointments

Improve service, clinical quality and patient safety: o Continuously improve our clinical quality and patient safety goals by adopting JCI’s international patient safety goals and implementing clinical governance frame o SingHealth hospitals and national centres need to be the standard-bearers for professional and ethical standards o SGH, KKH and national centres to become regional referral centres for complex cases and regional training centres of choice o Improve on annual Ministry of Health customer satisfaction scores o Increase the percentage of patients strongly recommending SingHealth institutions’ services

Engage and empower patients: Clinical departments to regularly publish and update clinical outcomes of common conditions to benchmark ourselves internationally

Invest in new and proven technologies: Be at the forefront of rapidly emerging leadership by investing in both proven new technologies as well as in our professionals

Priorities for FY09 1 2 3 4 5

Total patient experience Education and Research Operations integration, infrastructure and technology Building leadership, retraining talent and driving performance Ensuring long-term financial sustainability

Prof Tan Ser Kiat, Group CEO


~ Minister Khaw Boon Wan at the National Medical Exellence Awards on 26 Mar 2008

Education and Research •

Launch the SingHealth Academy, to synchronise and synergise offerings from the existing institutions to become a trusted leader in preferred healthcare education Build a dynamic win-win partnership with DukeNUS Graduate Medical School

Strengthen research governance and harmonise workflow and processes

Strengthen Translational & Clinical Research

Operations Integration, Infrastructure & Technology •

Space for patients and staff: o Complete new projects on time and within budget o Build new and supporting infrastructure Facilitate staff movement: o Harmonise credentialing and privileging processes for medical personnel; establish common competency, privileging and re-privileging standards at group level

Building Leadership, Retain Talent and Drive Performance •

Performance management: o Implement common online performance management system embedding core values and 5Cs, introduce 360° assessment, harmonise staff benefits and establish shared HR data warehouse o Strengthen employee engagement efforts and build robust Talent Management System o Multi-generation workforce: Engage and develop reemployment options and plans to meet our manpower requirements

Ensuring LongTerm Financial Sustainability • Maintain financial sustainability through prudent, effective and efficient operations • Expand planning horizon to cover three-year rolling work plans and financial projections


“The Outram Campus has a great chance of success too. It has a strong talent pool and excellent clinical assets in SGH, the various national centres and the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School. If we can further galvanise the talents, integrate clinical services, teaching and research in a holistic patient-centric manner, Outram can be unbeatable in this part of the world.”




o do their part for charity, our doctors and nurses hung up their uniforms to don aprons, traded their stethoscopes and syringes for woks and cloths to turn chefs, bakers, and car wash crew! In the months leading up to the finale on 15 November, we saw staff coming together, volunteering their time, resources and skills in myriad ways to support The President’s Challenge 2008. A record total of $302,778.60 was raised for our beneficiaries, and it was all due to the effort of a collective Campus. This is a truly laudable achievement, especially in such times of an economic downturn. Most importantly, we are glad that our united efforts have helped to better the lives of some 400 beneficiaries.

The planning committee consisted of representatives from SingHealth institutions and was headed by the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC). One could certainly feel the camaraderie on ‘Healthcare, I Care!’ Day as the entire Outram

Campus came together to do their bit for charity with free health screenings and other activities. Like-minded partner Coca-Cola also joined SingHealth in a round-the-campus walk-a-jog, called the SingHealth & Coca-Cola Friendship Walk, where staff from both organisations walked alongside beneficiaries in a show of friendship.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Mr Hawazi Daipi also took part in the event by touring the institutions and flagging off the Friendship Walk. It was the fifth consecutive year that the SingHealth family has participated in the national campaign. It has become a signature event on our annual calendar and we take pride in having the opportunity to serve the less fortunate and give back to the community we live in. To date, SingHealth has raised more than $1 million for the President’s Challenge. me+SH would like to congratulate the planning committee led by SNEC for a job well done! Let’s look forward to improving our efforts for this year!

Staff across SingHealth institutions took part in the grand finale event where Outram Campus played host to more than 2,000 beneficiaries.

National Dental Centre (NDC) offered dental screening for disadvantaged children.

Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) offered eye screening (eye health, visual acuity, eye pressure, counselling) for beneficiaries and the public.


National Heart Centre (NHC) offered general health screening (history taking, blood pressure, height and weight, BMI, blood glucose, blood cholesterol and counselling).

Singapore General Hospital (SGH) organised a Rehab Carnival for the elderly and wheelchairbound residents from Sathya Sai Social Services and St Hilda’s Community Services Centre to help them keep fit and enhance balance and coordination of fine motor skills. The Carnival was also part of the annual SGH Community Day programme.

SingHealth Polyclinics (SHP) offered general health screening (blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol, foot care, and medication counselling for beneficiaries).


15 November 2008

SingHealth and Coca-Cola organised a Friendship Walk where some 200 SingHealth staff walked alongside beneficiaries in a show of friendship.





rganisation Is The Key

Dr James J. Mongan, President and CEO of Partners HealthCare, was our distinguished visitor at the SingHealth Leadership Series 2008. me+SH brings you the highlights of his visit and what we can learn from it.


rganised healthcare systems can advance medical knowledge. This is the opinion of James J. Mongan, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Partners HealthCare in the United States. He gave the keynote address entitled Building A High Performance Public Hospital – From Great Ideas To Winning Results at the SingHealth Leadership Series 2008 held on 7 October 2008. Under SingHealth Leadership Series, SingHealth invites notable figures in the healthcare field to come and share their experiences with their counterparts in Singapore. In his keynote address, Dr Mongan shared with attendees how Partners HealthCare is one of a handful of

organised healthcare systems serving as models for improving the delivery of healthcare services and is also leading the way in demonstrating how organised healthcare systems can advance medical knowledge. He went on to highlight that an organised healthcare system could assume responsibility for a population of patients over time, link providers and patients with comprehesive electronic medical records showing decision support, and foster providers working as teams across institutions coordinating care for patients. Furthermore an integrated academic health system adds value to its patients and the community through the use of various innovative

An integrated academic health system adds value to its patients and the community.

healthcare institutions around Singapore where he conducted dialogues and meetings with not only SingHealth professionals, but also representatives from DukeNUS Graduate Medical School, the National Healthcare Group, Agency for Science, Technology & Research (A*STAR), and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (iDA).

Key O

Dr Mongan

n Changes In…

… the healthcare industry in the next decade I would anticipate developments in the fields of genetics, imaging and minimally invasive procedures.

… institutions

Be prepared to keep up with advances in medical knowledge, ensure cost effectiveness, and have a continual supply of personnel.

Through such exchanges, SingHealth provides an avenue for healthcare professionals to share experiences and knowledge with their counterparts from all other organisations.

You can view Dr Mongan’s keynote address on the SingHealth Desktop Portal at sg/corpvideo/flash/title1_1_1.html

Highlights Of Dr Mongan’s Singapore Visit 7-9 October 2008

Day 1 A dialogue with educational leaders from SingHealth and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School on medical education, followed by a meeting with clinical staff and senior management of the National Healthcare Group on leadership in healthcare.

… healthcare professionals

Be attentive to cultural issues as medicine becomes a more evidence-based practice.

… himself in 2009

Ensure a smooth transition of leadership as I prepare for retirement by year-end as well as spend more time travelling and reading!

Day 2 Tours of Agency for Science, Technology & Research and KKH. At the latter, he spoke about the opportunities and challenges of leading in integrated hospital healthcare for women and children, and training excellence. Day 3 A visit to Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore to meet up with the CEO, and a series of dialogues with SingHealth institutions’ department heads covering topics ranging from the Partners model and succession planning to maximising the use of new information technology to insights gleaned from his visit. Day 4 A discussion with representatives from various ministries and statutory boards on Singapore as a medical hub and a dialogue about the challenges in developing a patient-centric culture in public institutions. This was followed by media interviews.


and breakthrough initiatives like investing in quality and utilisation infrastructure, enhancing patient safety, expanding disease management, and integrating a model organised system. In those aspects, Dr Mongan stressed the importance of electronic medical records and called it the “new glue of the medical system”. Dr Mongan’s week-long visit to Singapore took him to various



Getting to Know….

Brought to you by the SingHealth Centre for Health Services Research. For more information, visit http://www.singhealth.

Health Technology Assessment What it is… Health Technology Assessment (HTA) provides a framework for making decisions based on a comprehensive overview of new technologies and the evaluation of their consequences in the health service. ‘Technologies’ here encompass all methods used to promote health, prevent and treat disease and improve rehabilitation or longterm care. HTA considers the effectiveness, appropriateness and cost of technologies by asking four fundamental questions: Does technology work? Who does it benefit? At what cost? And how does it compare with alternatives? (UK National Health Service R&D Health Technology Assessment Programme 2003) Started in the United States in the early 1980s, HTA is now well established in many countries such as Canada, France and the United Kingdom. The impact of HTA HTA is not merely a paper exercise. It has contributed in many different ways

“Evidence-based management is a philosophy towards managing organisations that emphasises the importance of the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in decision-making.” – Pfeffer J & Sutton R (2006)

– Haute Autorité De Santé

to evidence-based management, including the development of standards, guidelines and other healthcare policies. At SingHealth, it is usually conducted when determining an annual work plan, renewing or purchasing new equipment, and devising new programmes. Our clinicians would need to perform HTA for projects seeking funding from the Ministry of Health under the Health Service Development Programme. In the UK, the National Healthcare Service’s HTA programme routinely conducts assessments of healthcare interventions, which underpin the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s (NICE) technology appraisals and guidelines. One example would be the systematic review and economic evaluation of the clinical and cost effectiveness of the drug, Imatinib, undertaken by the West Midlands HTA Collaboration. NICE guidance now recommends

Imatinib as the first choice of treatment for patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumour that cannot be removed surgically or has spread to other parts of the body. The cost of Imatinib is covered by the NHS. In 1994, the Quebec Health Technology Assessment Council published a report on the benefits, risks and costs of prostate cancer screening. It advocated that a province-wide prostate cancer screening programme would not be useful and that patients should be informed of the risks and benefits of screening before undergoing the test. This technical assessment led to the Ministry of Health and Social Services’ decision not to launch the programme, as well as the development of clinical practice guidelines on prostate cancer screening. More recently, in Finland, an HTA on foetal screening has resulted in new legislation and the development

of a comprehensive national training programme. Previously, health centres in Finland offered varied methods of foetal screening, with no standards available on when to use which method. Through the HTA, evidence on the various screening methods were gathered, evaluated and disseminated; eventually contributing to the establishment of a statute on screening and the implementation of a comprehensive national training programme for both professionals and parents-to-be.

Did you know? SingHealth is coorganising the 6th Annual Meeting of Health Technology International (HTAi) 2009 from 21 to 24 June. HTAi is the only international professional society focusing specifically on Health Technology Assessment and embracing all those who use it, be it academic institutions, healthcare facilities, industry, business, voluntary sector or the government.

For more information visit the official website

See you there!

“I wish that all the children in the world would not have to suffer.”


New Year Wish

– Marlini Karim, SGH


“Improving the quality of the healthcare system means acting both at the individual level, on individual patient management; and at the collective level, on maintaining a united and fair system.”


The Power

Of Effective Collaboration “There is a saying that it is amazing what teams can achieve if you don’t care who gets the credits. I think that is a large part of why teamwork was so effective in this case.” ~ Dr Daphne Khoo

Tips On Collaboration “Teamwork, effort, sacrifice, understanding and support from the ground level to the top management all contribute to the success of the project.” Han Seng & Sister Vir “Participate and treat each other with respect and sincerity.” Vincent & Ming Ling “Mutual understanding positions us to achieve congruence among fellow team members.” Wendy “Maintain an open mind and a positive attitude during discussions and brainstorming sessions.” Sister Thanam “No one is perfect. Our teammates complement each other.” Stephanie

Article contributed by Group Service Quality.


n the true spirit of collaboration, endocrinology doctors, together with nurses, administrators and the call centre, embarked on a project to reduce the long waiting time for new endocrinology patients. Named “Reducing Waiting Time at SGH Endocrinology”, the project yielded dramatic results. The number of days that patients had to wait to see endocrinologists was reduced by up to 50 per cent. Recently awarded first runner-up in the National Clinical Quality Improvement Poster Competition 2008, the project was also selected for a poster display during the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Forum in USA. Moreover, it was used as a case study during the Hospital Management Asia (HMA) Conference in the Philippines. The project’s success has generated curiosity on the identities of its contributors and their experiences on starting and sustaining this exciting collaborative journey. Involving more than nine different departments, the team included staff from SGH, SingHealth and iHIS. me+SH caught up with some of them to find out what made the project tick.

OOOOOO OOOOOO OOOOOO OOOOOO OOOOOO me+SH: How did the project start? Dr Khoo: The SingHealth Board saw a need to address the complex issue of long waits at SGH endocrinology. As Director of Quality Management for SingHealth and Head of the Department of Endocrinology at SGH, I volunteered my SGH department as the pilot site.

me+SH: What were your initial thoughts on the project? Wendy: I thought it was a great initiative to reduce waiting time and to improve on the service level to patients. Joanne: It allowed us to further develop the situation in a positive way. I encouraged the team to look at the problem from a different perspective, and explore areas that were not thought of before. Sister Vir: Likewise, we felt it was possible to reduce the waiting time—that was the reason why we embarked on the project. Dr Bee: Prior to implementing the initiative, patients from the primary care sector had to endure long waiting times before being seen by an endocrinologist. It is a well-known fact that poor diabetes control translates to an increased


A/Prof Lim Swee Hia in a discussion with nurses

risk of complications. Hence, I felt there was an urgent need to revise our referral system in order to reduce the waiting time of these patients.

me+SH: What were some of the challenges faced? Sister Thanam: It was important but necessary to conduct staff training and periodic reinforcements on the new workflow. Sister Vir: We, at the Specialist Outpatient Clinics (SOC), had to educate and track staff on new processes. Initially, it was quite tough without the manual booking system; we had to finalise and disseminate information to all doctors and SOC staff, and screen referral letters to ensure that the new criteria were met and reinforced. Dr Bee: Many doctors from other departments have been used to referring diabetic patients to the Diabetes Centre. The key challenge was to convince them that stable diabetic patients need not be seen by an endocrinologist but can be

Project Contributors from iHIS (left to right): Ming Ling and Vincent seen here with their Deputy Director Soo Tong.

managed adequately by primary care physicians. Having said that, we do advise our colleagues to speak to the endocrinologists if they feel a particular patient requires specialist care. Joanne: To build a sense of trust and respect in everyone, so that they understand why certain things have to be done. Thus at the start of the project, we engaged and shared the new approach with the clinicians and sought their agreement on it. They in turn gave us their rules of engagement to abide by.

me+SH: Could a single department achieve this? Vincent: No, this project required team effort. Every team member has complementary strengths, talents and skills which contributed to the success of the project. Wendy: We are but players in a larger team. The critical success factor was the effective collaboration among the various departments involved.

Project Contributors Dr Daphne Khoo, Head & Senior Consultant, Department of Endocrinology (SGH) & Director, Quality Management & Clinical Governance (SHS) Ms Joanne Yap, Director, Operations and Performance Management (SGH) Ms Stephanie Teo, Deputy Director, Operations and Performance Management (SGH) Mr Phua Tien Beng, Manager, Service Operations (SGH) Dr Bee Yong Mong, Associate Consultant, Department of Endocrinology (SGH) Dr Wong Yue Sie, Chairman, Division of Ambulatory and Clinical Support Services (SGH) A/Prof Lim Swee Hia, Group Director, Nursing (SHS) & Director, Nursing (SGH) & All Ward Nurses & Staff (SGH) NC Vir Kaur Gill & NC Thanam d/o Balakrishnam, Staff Nurse Clinicians II, DBC & SOC A/B & All DBC, Clinic A & B Staff (SGH) Mr Yeo Han Seng, Assistant Director; Mr Lee Kok Liang, Senior Executive, Specialist Outpatient Clinic (SGH) Ms Wendy Kwok, Assistant Manager; Ms Catherine Khor & Ms Selina James, Team Leaders, SGH Call Centre & All Call Centre Staff (SGH) Mr Vincent Soo, Manager; Ms Lau Ming Ling, Principal Systems Specialist, Information Technology (iHIS) Ms Linda Xue, Executive, Quality Management & Clinical Governance (SHS) Ms Jane Cheong, Senior Executive, Group Service Quality (SHS) Mr Tong Shao Chuen, Policy Analyst, Policy & Research (SHS)


Give the gift of life to our fellow human beings. Give them a chance to live on.


o increase public awareness and support for organ donation, the Ministry of Health launched a movement called “Live On” on 1 November 2008. It aims to capture the spirit of organ donation and brings to mind the legacy of renewed life that a donor can leave behind. At the same time, it conveys a strong message on the promise and sanctity of human existence and how organ donation embraces hope, compassion and the gift of life for a fellow Singaporean in need. “Live On” is a long-term public education programme that will highlight the need for more donors and familiarise everyone with the rules and regulations of organ donation. Since the 1970s, organ donation in Singapore has given as many as 2,000 people a second chance to live. Despite an increase in organs available as a result of the amendments made to the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA)—which includes all causes of death, the liver, the heart, the cornea, as well as Muslim Singapore citizens—the growth in demand for transplant organs (especially kidneys) continues to surpass the supply. This is partly due to increasing rates of some common diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. The “Live On” logo is a symbol of Singapore’s pledge to support organ donation. It is filled with the hopes of every citizen willing to stand by this programme and inspires organ recipients to live on. For the first time, supporters and advocates will be able to pledge their support online at by throwing a virtual “Live On” ball into a virtual flower receptacle. The website also features organ recipients and their personal stories. Log on to find out more.

Advance Medical Directive: What You What is AMD?

Need To Know

A legal document that you sign in advance to inform the doctor treating you (in the event you become terminally ill and/or unconscious) not to use any extraordinary life-sustaining treatment to prolong your life.

Why is it needed? With advances in medical science, it is possible to provide treatment and even prolong the lifespan of the terminally ill. In cases where death cannot be prevented and further medical treatment is seen as ineffective or futile, a decision has to be made whether to withdraw such medical intervention. Procedures and safeguards to prevent misuse or abuse of the legislation are in place. The AMD Act was passed in Parliament in 1996, hence consenting Singaporeans are allowed by local law to make an AMD.

New Beginning —the story of an organ transplant patient For 25-year-old Nurashikin Jasman, the nightmare started nine years ago. A trip to the doctor for gastritis turned out to be kidney failure. At 18, she was on dialysis. Her doting parents wanted to donate their kidneys to her but were ineligible due to her mum’s diabetes and her dad’s liver cancer. Due to her condition, she had to stop school twice but the plucky lass managed to earn a diploma in business administration and went on to do secretarial and sales jobs. Meanwhile, Nurashikin signed herself up for a kidney transplant and waited eight years to find a matching donor. Today her health has returned and she can make a fresh start. She finds joy in everything she does, even the household chores which she was too ill to do before dialysis. Ever the optimist, she plans to take up more sports such as swimming, trekking and bungee jumping once the doctor gives her the go-ahead to pursue these strenuous activities.

Who can make an AMD? Anyone who is 21 years old and above, and of sound mind can make an AMD. Just complete an AMD form, sign it in the presence of two witnesses, and return it to the registrar. The AMD takes effect when the patient who has made the AMD fulfills all the following conditions: (a) the patient is suffering from a terminal illness (b) the patient requires extraordinary lifesustaining treatment (c) the patient is unconscious or incapable of expressing rational judgement

For more information, please go to

Cross-cultural Communications 101 • Be open to new concepts and experiences. • Don’t isolate yourself. • Pick up some of the local lingo, e.g., kopi peng siew dai, teh-o kosong, etc. • Learn to handle popular conversation starters such as “Makan already?” with grace. • Observe facial expressions and body language. • Find out how to pepper your speech with Singlish sparingly ok?—Ok lah.

No cultural barrier too great…

• And don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Dr Salioc (second from right) from the Philippines

“Being in a foreign land, I get to appreciate the different festivals. Chinese New Year was an eye-opener, with ‘lo-hei’ organised by our division chairman. I liked the lanterns and other decoration, and the sales.” Dr Elvin Lokino Salioc Clinical Associate, Orthopaedic Deparment, KKH Romilly Laws with her husband, Peter

“Chinese New Year here is very similar to Christmas celebrations back home in Australia. I like the idea of getting together with family and ushering the new year in. The tradition of reunion and fostering family unity is meaningful, and I find it fascinating that people are actually making a conscious effort to wear red and other auspicious colours throughout the fifteen days of Chinese New Year. I have a Chinese New Year wish, and that is for my family to be happy and healthy.”

“My local friend gave me a really good introduction into culture and food here every weekend when I first came. I have tried the claypot rice in Clementi, chicken wings in Queenstown, and crab in Geylang. I enjoy the local festivals and have fun shopping for a red outfit for Chinese New Year.” Dr Angela Takano Senior Consultant, Pathology, SGH

“Although I may not be an adherent of Chinese New Year customs, it has become an elaborate part of my life indeed. Over the years, I have started attending social gatherings and I enjoy the ‘potpourri’ of food very much, having adapted to traditional Chinese and other local cuisines. Singapore is like glue – once you get stuck you cannot get out; perhaps you simply do not want to! This country has opened my eyes to the different colors of the world.” Dr Shephali Tagore Associate Consultant Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine, KKH Dr Tagore in bright CNY colours

Romilly Laws Radiographer, NCCS

Dr Takano (seated on the left) and her colleagues



n the public hospital setting, which sees patients of all races and ages, communication is key in the work of healthcare professionals. For the foreign healthcare professionals, who have to navigate language barriers, local culture and lingo, the challenges of communication are multiplied. me+SH compiles some survival tips after speaking to our colleagues from Australia, India, Peru and the Philippines, who also share their thoughts on Chinese New Year. But perhaps what surpasses all tips is best summed up by Dr Namuduri Rama Padmavathi, Service Registrar, Gynaecological Oncology Unit, KKH, who says, “Ultimately, cultural distinctions dissolve in the face of the business of saving lives. Concern for each other as humans surpasses any amount of cultural barrier.” Dr Padma and her kids


me+SPOTLIGHT 26 What:

Synergy Charity Tunch in aid of President’s Challenge 2008

Where: Corporate office School of

Nursing Auditorium


22 October 2008


Commun ty Sp r t What:



Garden of Healing


17 October 2008


- Prof Tan Ser Kiat’s Beer Chugging Challenge - SingHealth’s Perfect Platter Challenge

Organised by E.A.T

At Home With... Dr Wong



t was American author, Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), who said: “Many a man’s reputation would not know his character if they met on the street.” Needless to say, Dr Wong Yue Sie has proven this saying wrong. He may be well-known in SingHealth for his numerous achievements in healthcare, but back home at Greenwood Avenue, he is just your average family man who dutifully takes out the trash. He jokes and warmly welcomes the me+SH team during our recent visit. “I’m surprised you guys want to interview me. I’m quite a boring person, you know.” It is a remark that could not be further from the truth.


Yue Sie

This new year, Dr Wong Yue Sie will probably be busier than in the last, but if you think his tripartite management in healthcare leaves him hardly any time for anything else, you are in for a surprise.

me+LIVING 28

Balancing three managerial responsibilities is a task few dare to take on; add to that a lively family of three and a half (not forgetting Chester the doe-eyed beagle) and you’re looking at a life that is nothing short of ‘boring’. “My jobs keep me on my toes, and there’s never a dull moment in what I do,” says Dr Wong on his multiple roles. “It’s just a matter of finding time and handling issues as they occur across the spectrum of healthcare.” These issues are actually quite diverse. Not only is he the current Division Chairman of Ambulatory and Clinical Support Services and the CoChairman for Mission for Improving Clinical Outcomes (MICO), Dr Wong is also the interim CEO for Ren Ci Hospital and Medicare Centre—a stimulating undertaking which he relishes. “The main challenge at Ren Ci lies in understanding its business and how to get the new hospital up and running. Working there has been a great experience for me, as I’ve learnt a great deal about a healthcare sector that I previously had little exposure to,” explains Dr Wong. He estimates that his working hours are evenly divided between administrative work, seeing patients, and his duties at Ren Ci. It all sounds so simple and straightforward. But to those who know him, it has been an arduous journey fraught with difficulties plus the occasional danger, to arrive at where he is today. How many doctors, for example, can count ‘surviving a possible chemical missile attack’ among their career experiences? “I had the opportunity to be part of the medical team that was sent to

Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War,” recalls Dr Wong of his time as a medical officer in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). “It was about 1:00am when the sirens for the chemical air raids suddenly went off. So there we were, having just arrived and wondering if this was already the end of our mission!” Fortunately for him, the missiles were intercepted; marking the end of a near-death experience and the beginning of a new philosophy. Dr Wong strongly believes that getting things done right the first time is never about chance; that planning is needed to ensure everyone involved knows how to get it right. To some extent, the same discipline applies to his loved ones. When it comes to family time, Dr Wong is adamant in keeping his work-self and personal-self separate. “I try to draw a boundary. It’s about having a personal life and work life balance by focusing on finishing work that needs to be done in the office,” says the doting father of two daughters, ages 11 and 15. Completing the family unit is wife Sok Cheng, a woman with a penchant and talent for cooking and culinary experimentation. These days, she is into baking and the Wongs’ spotless multi-functional kitchen has turned into a nucleus of baking activities. It is not surprising that Dr Wong fondly refers to it as ‘Mom’s Kitchen’ and says it is the best place to hang out as a family on weekends. Everyone helps out in the kitchen, from cooking to cleaning—the latter of which the good doctor is in charge of. The striking thing about the Wong family is the close bond they

share with one another, despite his long working hours. Every effort is made to spend quality family time on a regular basis. Even Dr Wong’s wine collection plays an important part during family meals. “Half the wines are from Australia, a third from France and the rest probably from America and Italy,” reveals the avid wine lover who prefers labels from the Rhone region in France. “We usually share one or half a bottle over dinner several times a week, to match whatever Mom’s Kitchen cooks up.” His lucky daughters have their dad to thank as he has thoughtfully set aside special wines for the days they turn 21. “We’ve bought some ‘93 and ‘97 Magnums to celebrate the special occasion,” beams Dr Wong. That said, has any of his daughters shown interest in following daddy’s footsteps for a career in healthcare? None so far, he replies. In fact, he sheepishly admits to not having any interest himself during his younger days. “I was a confused kid for many years,” he laughs. “It was only when I was about to take my ‘O’ levels that things changed.” Perhaps it was fortuitous that his turning point took place in a hospital. A bad case of appendicitis left a young Yue Sie hospitalised for six long weeks. As he was recuperating, he decided there and then, to join a career that would eventually change the direction of his life. “My schedule is fuller now than it was then,” says the doctor, a little rueful when his daughter reproaches him for coming home so late. “But still, it’s healthcare which is my passion and something I enjoy doing. That’s what keeps me going.”

Home Profile Friends Inbox




Virtually Wong me+SH takes a probe into the histories section of Dr Wong’s internet browser. His 3 favourite websites… 1. Wikipedia—a great resource on almost anything. 2. Facebook—a great social networking site that allows people to keep in touch. 3. CNET—a great place to catch up on technology news and developments. His take on Facebook… “It’s a double-edged sword. Its concept of a social network website is extremely useful for keeping people in touch, especially when you don’t see them regularly on a face-to-face basis. It’s a very effective tool for updating each other’s status even though you may not get the chance to talk. As a result, there’s more to share when you actually meet, because you don’t need to spend lots of time catching up on things.” His favourite Facebook application… “I don’t really have any—it’s really just a place to figure out what everyone else is up to.” If he could have a friend on Facebook…who would it be and why? “I’ve not thought about who else I would like to meet on Facebook; I’d rather meet people in person, it’s a far more meaningful encounter. I guess I am still old-fashioned.”






Hear it from

th e

Ex p er t s

Taking care of your eyes

Dr Cordelia Chan, Senior Consultant Opthalmologist, SNEC 30

“Here are some important tips to keep your eyes in tip-top condition. When you go out, remember to wear sunglasses to protect against damaging UV rays, and don’t forget to take regular breaks when using the computer and handheld gadgets. Artificial tears can also be very useful to prevent dry, tired eyes.”

Taking care of your mind

Prof Lim Kah-Leong, Senior Research Scientist and Head, Neurodegeneration Research Laboratory, NNI “Any serious researcher will acknowledge that stress is like our Siamese twin. In our hectic society, stress is virtually in every occupation. In the coming year, my humble advice to you is this: The fundamental step towards achieving peace of mind amidst tension is to take stress in our stride, rather than trying to escape from it. Like it or not, we cannot wish our work- or family-related stress away. Often, an imbalanced life is a key stress aggravator. My philosophy is ‘When at work, forget about family; when at home, forget about work.’ The mind will naturally be more at peace.”

NewYear, New You Taking care of your hands

Therma Cheung, Senior Principal Occupational Therapist, SGH “During the festive season, many of us are so busy shopping, cooking and cleaning, that we neglect to see what all these activities and chores are doing to our hands. Problems can arise from overuse and overwork. There have been an increasing number of people with repetitive stress injuries in their upper limbs. One of the reasons, of course, is related to the numerous tasks that require the use of our hands in this modern world, for e.g. SMSing, computer work etc. Another reason is just a general unawareness and neglect of pain when the problems are at their initial stages. The next time the festive season approaches, take care not to overuse your hands: Use shoulder-slung shopping bags rather than hand-held ones, and always plan your cleaning chores over a longer period of time. That way, you will truly enjoy your festive celebrations.”

Taking care of your feet

Jasper Tong, Principal Podiatrist, SGH “A year has passed, yet another awaits you. Are your feet ready to pound the pavement as they take you through 2009? Do a reality check: It’s about time you gave your feet a well-deserved treat. Visit a reliable shoe store and pamper yourself with a pair of comfortable and elegant-looking dress shoes with maximum support. In addition to that, remember to moisturise your feet as you would your face. So if you want to keep walking, be sure to keep your feet healthy!”


“I wish for good health for my family of four, my colleagues, my friends and or course myself; that we will be completely free from misery, sickness and pain.” – Lee Kok Liang, SGH

31 “I wish that state administrations around the world will denounce peace imposed through the barrel of a gun.” – Jacquelin Chen, SGH

“I wish to have a gift box filled with smiles from all of us; to be opened for all the world to see, with a little laughter added for that special effect.” – Goh Sue Chern, KKH

With a brand new year ahead of you, it is only fitting to know how to treat your mind, body and soul right. Let our team of professionals offer you some tips. At the same time, hear SH staff share their heartfelt thoughts on the new year.

“I wish for all of us to take the time to care for the needy children in Singapore so that they will feel loved and wanted all year round, not just during Christmas.” – Charles Gullo, SGH, a volunteer at the Sunshine House for children who cannot live in their own homes.

“I wish for peace and happiness around the world, and hope that the crisis and misery will end soon.” – Thenmolzi d/o K Arumugam, SGH

“I wish to experience the essence of re-living a new life with every new year; for people to accept the flaws of mankind and appreciate the individualism of others, and for people with special needs not to be misunderstood so that they have a safe place to function in society and have a sense of belonging.” – Elizabeth Mary Joseph, SGH

me+LIVING 32

Wine For Skin


veryone knows that dry skin is a thirsty skin. But have you ever thought about applying wine to your face instead of sipping it? Someone obviously has. Symphonie, a spa located in Chinatown, aims to bring out the healthy glow and radiance in the faces of their clients—both men and women alike—with the aid of a specially imported organic wine extracted from white grapes. This sweet smelling wine extract is a natural alternative to AHA and BHA peels which are more commonly available in the market. It is milder and, therefore, less harrowing for someone with sensitive skin. Nonetheless, it does cause a tingling and stinging sensation when first applied. For most people, the film of wine extract is kept on the face for ten minutes, although the duration can be shortened to five for those with sensitive skin. Going for a face spa is indeed an enjoyable treat. It is pampering as well as relaxing and

SMS 96567182 with your Name <space> IC number by 31 March 2009 to get a “Cheerios, Bottoms up!” facial at a special price of S$8 (usual price: S$120). The first 50 to SMS will get an additional Ginseng eyemask.

a luxury well worth the money. Positive results are seen if one follows a regular regiment of facial treatments. A typical session at Symphonie involves five simple steps: 1. Cleansing the face. 2. Applying the wine extract. 3. Steaming and extraction of impurities. 4. Applying concentrated serum that hydrates the skin. 5. Applying the mask. What we liked best was the machine that helps to massage the concentrated serum into the skin. The application of CryoSonic Therapy on our faces was the perfect way to soothe the last traces of rawness left over from the peeling and extraction. Overall, a spa experience is not merely about improving your skin condition. It is in fact a wonderful way to spend some quality time pampering yourself and escaping from reality. What you get is a refreshed and rejuvenated you!

Symphonie 235A, New Bridge Road, Level 2 For more details, please visit



What happens when a group of ardent food enthusiasts come together? EAT! They took it one step further and formed the Epicurean Arts Team (E.A.T.) in September 2008. Its vision: To eat, drink and be merry through wine and dine activities that facilitate bonding among SingHealth staff. So far, E.A.T. has organised Oktoberfest@ SingHealth 2008 which was held at the Bowyer Block-Healing Garden on 17 October 2008.


E.A.T., Drink Be

A band of foodies have started an interest group dedicated to bringing individuals together through their tummies.


E.A.T.’s Upcoming Events: • Chefs’ Cook-off, Heritage Food Fest, and yearround SHS Culinary Workshops@ LIFE Kitchen.

E.A.T. is a special interest group supported by Office of Student Affairs, SingHealth Academy. Sign up for E.A.T. now and find out more about our events! Email or add us on Facebook!

Main Course

Credit: Dr Vincent Lim, Medical Board, SGH

E.A.T. tempts your tastebuds with this winning recipe from the Oktoberfest Perfect Platter Challenge—Kwality Schweinshaxe by Dr Kwa Chong Teck, Executive Director, NDCS.



1 pork knuckle 1 clove garlic (optional) Salt and pepper Caraway seeds (essential) Beer (for basting)

1. Dry the pork knuckle and score it. 2. Rub with salt and pepper, crushed garlic and caraway seeds. 3. Roast upright on a spit at 250˚C for 30 minutes or until skin is crispy. 4. Turn down heat to 180˚C and roast for another 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on how well done you want the meat to be. 5. In the last 15 minutes, baste with cold beer. 6. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. 7. Serve with juniper and cumin flavoured ¨ sauerkraut and spatzel or flour dumplings.

Dr Kwa’s

Kwality Schweinshaxe


Spring Blossoms


Do you think these quirky blossoms will cause hay FEVER? How about create irregularities in your HEARTBEAT? Affect your WEIGHT or make you SNEEZE?

Lighter Side Wall flowers are creations of Laura Soon, a Singapore-born artist with a Masters of Arts, Fine Arts from LaSalle College of the Arts. Her works are currently on display at SGH and NDC as part of the Arts for Health programme. They examine the relationship between space, memories and human experiences, capturing figures which mold into patterns and motifs that invite closer inspection to determine their minute elements.

How good are your observation skills? All are not what they seem!


The SingHealth Arts for Health programme comprises a series of creative activities, services and research projects that aim to improve individual/ community health and healthcare delivery using arts based approaches, visual and performing arts as well as services of artists and designers and other specialists in health care arts.

Identify the species Is it

Graphicia splendiflorus ?

Creativia blossomus ?

Artificia floriana ?

Medicia equipmenta ?


( be your most creative and send in your best guess ! )

What usual objects make up these unusual blooms ? 1.


The first 10 creative and correct readers will receive a limited edition T-shirt with a print of this exotic blossom.



Name Dept E-mail Tel number T-shirt size





STAFF OF WARD 53A, SGH I would like to commend you for your prompt attention and care rendered to me during my hospital stay (22 to 25 October 2008). Special thanks go to the nurses on night shift for their gentle care after my C-section delivery of my son on 22 October 2008. You have a wonderful team of staff who work well together. Thank you once again. Well done! All the best. Kasmawarn Yayit

PROFESSOR A/Prof Lim Boon Leng and Dr Chee Hui Leng, department of Anaesthesia & SIC We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to you and the surgical team of SGH ICU for giving your devoted care and attention to our late mother, Lee Kia Keng, during the last few weeks of her life. We appreciate your efforts in discussing her condition with us and giving us suggestions on the possible ways forward. What you have done certainly went a long way in helping us manage the challenges and the outcome. Thank you and God bless. Tan Sin Guek (on behalf of the family of the late Mdm Lee Kia Keng)

me @ SingHealth


Professor Phua Kong Boo —winner of highest accolade in the Excellent Service Award 2008— tells us what makes his career in healthcare worthwhile.


sk Prof Phua, Senior Consultant at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), what motivates him to come to work and his simple yet candid reply is: “I don’t hate my job.” Humour aside, this year’s Excellent Service Award (EXSA) SuperStar winner adopts a humble approach to work, always putting his patients at the heart of all he does. To Prof Phua, what keeps him going is the joy in


seeing his patients get better. “The best reward is for the children to get well; when their parents give thanks, it’s a bonus.” His colleagues at KKH also add to the fulfillment. “When you like your job, and everyone works together, you can really help patients get better.” What better way to sum up the true meaning of our staff motto than the words of a SuperStar.


There are heroes and heroines among us who, through their words or actions— and sometimes, a listening ear—make a difference in the lives of others. me+SH recognises such heroes.



This Quarter 36

In History



In recent years

SARS hit our shores, and medical professionals from SingHealth stand vigilant in the fight against the deadly disease. Singapore becomes the first Asian country to accede to the Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S).


Not too long ago...

New Year, New You?

We look back in recognition of the breakthroughs achieved by the SingHealth family as well as look forward to yet another exciting year ahead.

Nanyang Polytechnic takes in its first cohort of occupational therapy students and Singapore becomes a full member of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.

The International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM), founded in 2006, is a voluntary association uniting and assisting licensed practising physicians in aesthetic medicine in the areas of education, ethical standards and credentialing. Aesthetic medical specialists adhere to scientific-based procedures and are trained in both invasive and non-invasive treatment modalities. Their focus is primarily on the pathophysiology of aging skin as well as to meet patients’ aesthetic needs.

Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, IAPAM has over 600 physicians and associate members all over the world including Singapore.


Upcoming Events February

SGH and Outram Campus Quality Week


New Year Wish

21 February

CGH Tinnitus Awareness Day 2009 Public Forum

11 March

Corporate Office Synergy

28 April – 6 May

Pulse of SingHealth 2009 (in conjunction with GCEO Excellence Awards and Launch of SingHealth Academy)

“I wish for my son to be talking soon. I really want to hear him speak in proper words so that I can understand what he means” – Nurfitri Binte Ahmad, SGH



1. What is the welcome message (listed under ‘Recent News’ on the webpage) on me+SH’s Facebook page? 2. What are the five key areas of focus in the SingHealth Workplan 2009?

3. What is the main focus of SingHealth’s latest annual report?

Please email your answers (together with your name, designation and contact number) to by 31 March 2009. The lucky winner will receive a $50 Harvey Norman voucher.

Here are the answers to the last ISSUE’S quiz: Q1. What is the new staff motto? Ans: “Patients. At the Heart of All We Do.” Q2. Prof Tan Ser Kiat, Group CEO, SingHealth, urged all staff to move forward in three sure steps adapted from Daniel Koshland’s Cha-Cha-Cha Theory of Scientific Discovery. What do the three Chas stand for? Ans: Chance, Challenge, and Charge.

And the winners are... Chu Pui Ming, Senior Pharmacy Technician, SHP-Sengkang Noor Hudayah Mohamed Ariff, Multimedia Specialist, NHC Nor’ain Mohd Yusoff, Senior Admin Assistant, SHS

Each winner will receive a Golden Village gift card worth $28. me+SH will be contacting you shortly with prize collection details.

Thank you for the warm response to our ‘Finding Santa’ contest on the SingHealth Desktop Portal! We are proud to announce the three winners:

Ang Wan Zhi, Diagnostic Imaging, NCCS Charles Gullo, Principle Research Scientist, SGH Elizabeth Mary Joseph, Department of Nursing Administration, SGH Each winner will receive a $50 Robinsons voucher. me+SH will be contacting you shortly with prize collection details.

Have an


We want to hear from you! We want to hear from you!

Are you a wizard of words? Do you have a keen eye for capturing images? Would you like to use me+SH as an outlet to express your thoughts and expressions? If so, we welcome your contributions! Send your comments, feedback, story ideas, photos and even videos to Be sure to check out me+SH online (http://mysinghealth/singhealth/ mesh), as well as me+SH on Facebook!

“My health was like a tune without rhythm” Mr Mohamed Noor received life-saving treatment from CGH’s team of Gastroenterologists. He was pleasantly surprised with the high standards of service and medical treatment he received and praised Dr Andrew Kwek for being “tactful”, “compassionate”, “detailed” and “attentive”. Putting our patients foremost in our minds keeps us focused on delivering the best possible care, and allows us to continue to work closely as a team to meet our patients’ needs. We are proud to have served and played a part in their triumph over their illnesses. Their heartwarming success stories are what spur us on to do even better for our patients. Read about them in our Annual Report.

The patient,the whole patient and nothing but the patient. SingHealth Annual Report 2007-2008

Mr Mohamed Noor Bin Yusoff, 42 Gastroenterology patient, CGH

me+SH (January 2009)  

- At Home With Dr Wong Yue Sie - SingHealth on Facebook - Allied Health Professionals