SingHealth and Singapore Innovate have signed a three-year partnership to advance the development and adoption of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies to enhance diagnostics, treatment, healthcare delivery and clinical outcomes on the island city-state.
According to a press statement, SingHealth will combine its extensive clinical research capabilities and pool of clinicians and healthcare innovators with SGInnovate’s expertise in deep technologies and a diverse community of corporates, startups and innovators.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
They will focus on three main areas: advancing AI thought leadership; supporting the growth and innovation of startups in health and biomedical sciences; and building a health innovation talent pool.
To nurture AI thought leadership, a Community of Practice will be set up that regularly connects both organisations’ networks. This includes quarterly AI and Digital Innovation Journal Clubs and a yearly AI in Health workshop.
Education and engagement initiatives, such as panels, roundtables and reverse pitches, will be promoted to support the startups’ growth and innovations. In particular, the reverse pitches will provide a platform where clinicians and healthcare leaders can present to technology startups their disease and clinical workflow innovation needs. The partners will also identify “technically and clinically robust” AI health initiatives and connect them to strategic collaborators in the industry.
Moreover, they will also work with various biomedical ecosystem stakeholders, including venture capitalists and multinational firms, to develop on-the-job training opportunities for talents.
WHY IT MATTERS
SingHealth Group CEO Ivy Ng noted that the adoption of new healthcare technologies such as AI is “critical for the future of medicine” in order to optimise resources and ensure a robust healthcare system that responds to the evolving patient needs.
SGInnovate CEO Dr Lim Jui also mentioned that there is “much more” to be done to turn the breakthroughs in healthcare and biomedical sciences research into “impactful solutions”.
THE LARGER TREND
Singapore has seen several initiatives around AI in healthcare recently. A chatbot called Doctor COVID enables its healthcare system to better monitor the conditions of migrant workers infected with COVID-19 at community care facilities by speaking to them in their languages.
The Changi General Hospital and the Integrated Health Information Systems have built a deep-learning system that estimates the likelihood of a patient to develop severe pneumonia based on an automated chest x-ray assessment.
Another tool called SELENA+ (Singapore Eye Lesion Analyser Plus) is an AI system that uses retina images to spot eye diseases. Developed by a research team from the Singapore National Eye Centre, Singapore Eye Research Institute and NUS School of Computing, it has been rolled out to about 20 polyclinics in the city-state.
ON THE RECORD
“With the breadth and depth of SingHealth’s clinical capabilities and patient data, we aim to synergise with SGInnovate’s access to deep tech communities and resources to develop innovative solutions that improve care delivery and clinical outcomes. This new partnership will be strategic in equipping our healthcare innovators to advance AI in health and catalyse the process of translating novel ideas from bench to bedside,” SingHealth’s Ng said.
“Working with SingHealth to create partnership and innovation opportunities for biomedical startups is part of SGInnovate’s mission to grow Singapore’s deep tech economy and advance our smart nation ambitions while reinforcing our position as a global centre of excellence for health innovation,” Dr Jui of SGInnovate also commented.
“This partnership will combine the unique strengths of SingHealth and SGInnovate to harness the vast potential in technology and innovation. And indeed, we are at the cusp of a revolution in healthcare technology,” Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s health minister, also said during the signing of the memorandum of understanding.