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Singapore Ministry of Health reveals plans for new Office for Healthcare Transformation

Above photo: Professor Tan Chorh Chuan/ Credit: NUS

The Ministry of Health (MOH) in Singapore announced today that the current President of the National University of Singapore (NUS), Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, will join the Ministry of Health (MOH) as Executive Director of the new MOH Office for Healthcare Transformation on 1 January 2018. He will concurrently be appointed MOH’s Chief Health Scientist. Prof. Tan will assume these appointments after stepping down as NUS President at the end of 2017.

As the founding Executive Director, Prof. Tan will establish and lead MOH’s Office for Healthcare Transformation. The Office will play an important role in the transformation of healthcare in Singapore to bring about good health outcomes for Singaporeans.

The Office for Healthcare Transformation will work with multiple stakeholders in the healthcare area, including the government, industry and community partners to identify and test-bed potentially game-changing, future-oriented concepts and care models. The objective is to promote the good health and well-being of Singaporeans, and enhance the delivery of care to patients to ensure it is cost effective and sustainable. It will focus on longer-term issues and take a broader perspective in identifying system-wide changes that have the potential to be adopted and scaled up across the public healthcare system.

The new Office for Healthcare Transformation will focus on a number of critical areas.

For example, it will look at new ways to help Singaporeans adopt health-promoting behaviours that will prevent or delay the onset of chronic conditions. The Office will also work with primary care providers to make home-based management a viable and effective care model, and in the longer term, the preferred choice, for patients with chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and high blood cholesterol.

Another focus area would be patients with multiple medical conditions. When such patients are hospitalised for treatment, they are often looked after by several specialists, which could result in fragmentation of care. The new Office will work with hospitals to explore new approaches to provide them more holistic inpatient care.

As MOH’s Chief Health Scientist, Professor Tan will guide the ministry’s research and development agenda, particularly in the health and biomedical sciences. He will strengthen the translation of research to develop better ways to manage and treat diseases and deliver clinical care.

Together with MOH’s National Medical Research Council, Professor Tan will also guide efforts to enhance Singapore’s thought leadership through the discovery of new knowledge on health and disease, novel therapies and more effective diagnostics. He will work in close partnership with the healthcare clusters[1]; Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR); Economic Development Board; National Research Foundation; SPRING Singapore, as well as the health and biomedical industry.

Minister for Health Mr. Gan Kim Yong said, “Singapore’s future healthcare needs will grow in demand and complexity. We need to transform our healthcare system to ensure that we are future ready. Innovations and research and development will play a key role in this, by helping us to find new and better ways to care for our patients, detect diseases such as diabetes early or even prevent it, in sustainable ways.”

“I am delighted that Professor Tan Chorh Chuan will be taking on the new appointments in MOH which will play a crucial role to prepare us in meeting our future healthcare challenges. He is a visionary leader and brings with him a wealth of valuable knowledge, experience and networks. I am confident that he will make a significant impact to MOH’s healthcare transformation as well as our health and biomedical research and development efforts.”

During his tenure as President of the National University of Singapore (NUS) from 2008 to 2017, Prof. Tan built up NUS into one of the world’s leading universities. He has also contributed to the healthcare system in several leadership capacities, including as Chairman of the National University Health System since 2011. From 2000 to 2004, Professor Tan served as Director of Medical Services at MOH, in which capacity he was responsible for leading the public health response to the 2003 SARS epidemic.  He has also served as Deputy Chairman of A*STAR since 2004. He is also the first Singaporean to be elected as an international member of the United States National Academy of Medicine.

[1]Singapore’s public healthcare system is divided into three clusters, Central region, Eastern region and Western region. 

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