February 29, 2024

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Singapore: Diagnostics and Digital Health

Singapore’s healthcare system is pivotal as it grapples with an ageing population, increasingly susceptible to chronic diseases. By 2030, approximately one in four Singaporeans will be aged 65 or above, underscoring the need for a closer examination of diagnostics as a cornerstone of healthcare.

Recognising the pivotal role of diagnostics in early disease detection and intervention, Singapore’s healthcare community is propelling the nation towards a sustainable healthcare model. The lack of access to diagnostics can lead to delayed disease detection, poor health outcomes, and burgeoning healthcare costs – challenges that are all too real in a rapidly ageing society.

Image credit: a-star.edu.sg

One of the most compelling testaments to the power of diagnostics was observed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, the Fortitude Kit was among the world’s first, and the Resolute Kit significantly boosted testing efficiency.

Within a year of the pandemic’s onset, Singapore’s healthcare and innovation ecosystem rallied to develop a range of COVID-19 test kits, enhancing daily testing capacity from 2,900 to 40,000. This swift response enabled the rapid identification of infected individuals and helped Singapore become one of the first countries to reopen its borders safely.

Singapore’s COVID-19 response demonstrates the broader potential of diagnostics innovation in healthcare. By harnessing early intervention and emerging digital diagnostic tools, Singapore is poised to confront healthcare challenges, from an ageing population to rising chronic diseases and healthcare costs.

Singapore’s dedication to diagnostics is evident through initiatives like the Diagnostics Development (DxD) Hub, established in 2014. Hosted by the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR), the DxD Hub serves as a national platform for diagnostics, fostering collaboration between clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and industry experts to accelerate innovative diagnostic solutions.

GASTROClear, a remarkable blood test developed by Mirxes, an A*STAR spin-off with strong support from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and local research institutions, offers a shining example of such innovation.

GASTROClear helps identify individuals at risk of gastric cancer, a disease often diagnosed in its late stages. Traditional diagnostic methods like endoscopy are invasive and costly, limiting their early use. GASTROClear provides a simpler, more cost-effective, and less intimidating option that can detect early-stage gastric cancer with accuracy.

Advancements in digital diagnostics, including medical software and digital therapeutics, hold immense promise for improving population health. Powerful artificial intelligence (AI) can assist clinicians in rapidly stratifying patients, selecting tailored treatments, and monitoring their progress, enhancing treatment efficacy, and cost-effectiveness, and reducing side effects.

AI-based solutions like aiTriage, which was trialled by SGH, streamline the diagnostic process by rapidly analysing patients with chest pain. Developed by SingHealth and DxD Hub, this system minimises costly and lengthy emergency room visits by integrating heart rate variability readings and patient data to calculate a risk score, expediting the triage process.

Recognising the transformative potential of digital diagnostics, the government launched the Digital Health Accelerator (DHA) in July. The programme aims to stimulate the development and deployment of digital health solutions, forging innovative pathways that enhance patient care and reshape Singapore’s healthcare landscape.

The emphasis on prevention, fueled by advanced diagnostics and digital tools, is poised to have a profound impact on Singapore’s healthcare system. Reducing the burden of late-stage diseases and hospitalisations, not only contributes to better health outcomes but also alleviates the financial strain on healthcare infrastructure.

The success of the Healthier SG initiative hinges on collective effort, involving government agencies, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and, most importantly, individuals. The initiative encourages the cultivation of a culture of health awareness, where the primary goal is not just treating illnesses but preventing them in the first place.


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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.


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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.


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