1. In the month of August, Singaporeans celebrate all things ‘national’. As we continue to enjoy the festive and patriotic mood from National Day that took place on 9 August, we now honour some of our best talents who have excelled and contributed significantly in medicine, with the National Medical Excellence Awards (NMEA).
2. Ten outstanding clinicians were the recipients of the annual NMEA at the awards dinner held at the Hilton Hotel on 28 August 2012. This year marks the fifth edition of the NMEA, an initiative of the Ministry of Health.
3. NMEA’s awardees include individuals and teams who have distinguished themselves in medicine, clinical research, clinical quality, education, training and mentorship. This year, the recipients come from a range of disciplines such as the fields of paediatric liver transplantation, obstetrics & gynaecology, orthopaedic surgery and ophthalmology.
NMEA 2012 Award Recipients
National Outstanding Clinician Award
4. There are two recipients this year. The first recipient is Professor K Prabhakaran from the National University Hospital (NUH). He is the pioneer and leader of paediatric liver transplantation in Singapore. An outstanding paediatric surgeon, he is credited with many “firsts” in paediatric surgery in the country. He has also played an important role in making Singapore the best paediatric liver transplantation centre in the region. In addition to his responsibilities, he has found time to do voluntary work, having trained surgeons in developing countries in Asia to perform complex surgeries in children.
5. The second recipient for this category is Professor Wong Hee Kit, a trailblazer in the field of orthopaedic surgery. He is credited with pioneering many new treatment methods, including the minimally invasive surgical technique of thoracoscopic anterior spinal fusion for scoliosis, which he later paired with instrumentation. Professor Wong is also from NUH.
National Outstanding Clinician Scientist Award
6. Professor Pierce Chow from the Singapore General Hospital is this year’s recipient for the National Outstanding Clinician Scientist Award. He has contributed much in clinical and translational research in hepatocellular carcinoma, the third most common cancer in Asia. His contributions have helped to improve the care and management of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Prof Chow’s work is widely recognised and he has also more than 160 peer reviewed publications to his name.
National Outstanding Clinician Mentor Award
7. This year, the National Outstanding Clinician Mentor Award goes to Professor George Yeo from the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Prof Yeo is outstanding in his contributions to training and mentoring. He personally trained many obstetricians in the safe conduct of prenatal diagnostic procedures using technologies like simulation and software to enable effective training and research.
National Outstanding Clinician Educator Award
8. To recognise the importance of clinician educators in preparing the next generation of clinicians for their work, the National Outstanding Clinician Educator Award was introduced last year. This year, Associate Professor Lim Tock Han from the National Healthcare Group (NHG), is the recipient of the award for this category. A/Prof Lim was NHG’s first Designated Institutional Official (DIO) for the Residency Programmes and he played a key role in the successful implementation of residency programmes in Singapore. As Assistant CEO (Education & Research) at NHG, A/Prof Lim will oversee NHG’s support of Singapore’s new medical school – the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine.
National Outstanding Clinical Quality Activist Award
9. Adjunct Associate Professor Tai Hwei Yee from Tan Tock Seng Hospital is awarded the National Outstanding Clinical Quality Activist Award this year. Holding multiple portfolios, she has effectively driven various initiatives that focused on improving patient safety and clinical quality. She had also served and led beyond her own organisation and institution and chaired the Safe Medication Practices workgroup in the National Medication Safety Taskforce.
National Clinical Excellence Team Award
10. The NUH team led by Associate Professor Sophia Ang is awarded the National Clinical Excellence Team Award this year. Her team members include Dr Sharon Saw, Associate Professor James Yip and Dr Sandhya Mujumdar. Their award-winning innovative project on “Critical Lab Result Alert System” leveraged on technology to help significantly improve the outcomes, standards, safety and quality of patient care in NUH.
11. The full citations of the winners can be found in Annex A and the fact sheet on NMEA can be found in Annex B.
NATIONAL OUTSTANDING CLINICIAN AWARD 2012
Professor K Prabhakaran
National University Hospital
Department of Paediatric Surgery
“For his distinguished and outstanding contribution towards elevating the status of Paediatric Surgery in Singapore over the past 20 years”
Professor K Prabhakaran is currently Director of the Paediatric Organ Transplant Programme, and Head and Senior Consultant of the Department of Paediatric Surgery, University Children’s Medical Institute, and National University Hospital (NUH).
Professor Prabhakaran is well-recognised as the pioneer and leader of paediatric liver transplantation in Singapore. An outstanding paediatric surgeon, he is credited with many “firsts” in paediatric surgery in the country. He pioneered the Paediatric Renal Transplant Programme in Singapore and performed the first living-related renal transplant in 1989. Under his leadership, the programme has matured and today, it is ranked among the leading centres in the world.
Among his achievements were the surgical innovations like the reduced graft in 1994, and the first successful paediatric liver transplant in Singapore. The child has since got married and is a mother of a child. Two years ago, Professor Prabhakaran led the NUH team that successfully performed the first combined liver and kidney transplant in a paediatric patient which was a first in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
Professor Prabhakaran has been instrumental in making Singapore the best paediatric liver transplantation centre in the region. Singapore’s long-term survival rate for paediatric liver transplant recipients is comparable to the best in the world.
As a leading paediatric surgeon, Professor Prabhakaran has operated on innumerable children with complex surgical problems, and is much sought after in Singapore and the region. His work and reputation extend beyond Singapore. Through his voluntary work, he trained surgeons in developing countries in Asia to perform complex surgeries in children and has led teams to various countries in the region to develop their local liver transplant programmes. Under Professor Prabhakaran’s leadership, the NUH team was invited to provide advice for the setting up of paediatric live donor liver transplant programmes in Malaysia in 2002 and in Indonesia in 2006.
In particular, Prof Prabhakaran’s expertise in liver transplantation is well-known. At the national level, he has been Chairman of the MOH Liver Subcommittee since 2004, and is part of the advisory committee on transplantation at the MOH.
A strong advocate of training and education, Professor Prabhakaran has written and authored various book chapters and journal articles. He founded the South-East Asian Paediatric Endosurgery Group (SEAPEG) and the Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery for Children Workshop was organised in Singapore at its inception in 2007. Being highly active in research, particularly in the areas of paediatric organ transplantation (renal and liver), paediatric urology and biliary atresia, his research work have variously been published in high-impact journals regionally and internationally. He is a peer reviewer for international journals, and a regular invited speaker at international meetings.
For his distinguished and outstanding contribution in developing such frontiers and advancements in Paediatric Surgery in Singapore over the past two decades, Professor K Prabhakaran is fittingly and deservedly awarded the 2012 National Outstanding Clinician Award.
NATIONAL OUTSTANDING CLINICIAN AWARD 2012
PROFESSOR WONG HEE KIT
National University Hospital
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
“For his outstanding and immense contributions to the field of musculoskeletal disorders, in particular spinal surgery”
Professor Wong Hee Kit is currently Head and Senior Consultant with the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the National University Hospital (NUH). Concurrently, he is Head of the University Spine Centre at NUH, Chair of the University Orthopaedic, Hand & Reconstructive Microsurgery Cluster, National University Health System, and Head of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS).
Professor Wong is a trailblazer in the field of orthopaedic surgery. The advancements that he has introduced in the surgical treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, in particular spinal surgery, have put both NUH and Singapore on the world map.
He is credited with pioneering many new treatment methods, including the minimally invasive surgical technique of thoracoscopic anterior spinal fusion for scoliosis, which he later paired with instrumentation. Other treatment methods introduced by Professor Wong include posterior lumbar interbody fusion, transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, minimally invasive anterior lumbar interbody fusion, artificial lumbar disc replacement and artificial cervical disc replacement. Today, Professor Wong is among a handful of surgeons around the world to have honed the minimally invasive surgical technique to a fine art. His surgical case profile includes many complex spinal surgical procedures and minimally invasive spinal surgery.
In 2007, Professor Wong set up the University Spine Centre at NUH, the first of its kind in Singapore that is dedicated to the management of spinal disorders.
Professor Wong is a prolific researcher dedicated to his medical specialty. Some of his recent research projects include the epidemiology and treatment of adolescent and adult scoliosis, pathophysiology of spinal nerve root compression, lumbar interbody devices, and novel spinal fusion solutions for the treatment of low back pain. As a testament of Professor Wong’s accomplishment in the field, NUH was selected as the first worldwide site for a ‘first-in-human’ clinical trial for a new minimally invasive non-fusion device to correct scoliosis.
Professor Wong’s leadership and involvement in his areas of clinical expertise is wide. His reputation as an outstanding clinician has attracted many students and international fellows to train in spinal surgery in NUH, and earned him countless invitations to lecture in international spine conferences, postgraduate training programmes as well as to perform surgery in the region and around the world. His reputation has also earned him regular international referrals – from Asia, the Middle East, as well as North America -- and second opinion referrals for complex cases.
Professor Wong has served in committees at the international, national, and university levels. He was the immediate past Chairman of the Spine Section of the Asia Pacific Orthopaedic association, Board Member of the International Society for the Advancement of Spinal Surgery and Pacific Asian Society for Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery, an active member of the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) and International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine (ISSLS).
For his outstanding and immense contributions to the field of musculoskeletal disorders, in particular spinal surgery, Professor Wong Hee Kit is awarded the National Outstanding Clinician Award 2012.
NATIONAL OUTSTANDING CLINICIAN SCIENTIST AWARD 2012
PROFESSOR PIERCE CHOW KAH HOE
Singapore General Hospital
Department of General Surgery
“For his outstanding contributions and achievements in the area of hepatocellular carcinoma to improve patient outcomes and further the understanding of the condition”
Professor Chow is currently a Senior Consultant at the Department of General Surgery at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and a Visiting Senior Consultant at the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS). He is also the holder of a Senior Clinician Scientist Award from the National Medical Research Council (NMRC) and concurrently a Professor and Course Director at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School (GMS).
Juggling numerous roles and doing it well is not an easy feat. Yet Professor Pierce Chow manages it well and excels in his role as a doctor, teacher and clinician scientist. He works tirelessly to care for his patients, teaches and inspires the next generation of doctors, and lectures widely to foster collaboration with researchers in other countries in pursuit of better patient outcomes.
To develop new and better therapies for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) – the third most common cancer in Asia – Professor Chow rallied clinicians treating HCC in major medical centres in the Asia-Pacific region and co-founded the Asia-Pacific Hepatocellular Carcinoma (AHCC) trials group in 1997. The AHCC trials group is the first such collaborative oncology trials group in the region. Besides securing peer-reviewed research grant funding, it has successfully drawn industrial participation and funding for its investigator-initiated trials. Professor Chow has been the protocol chair for five multi-center trials, which involved patients from 30 centres in 16 countries. The achievements of the group have propelled Singapore, and Professor Chow, as one of the key opinion leaders in HCC internationally.
As Director of the former Department of Experimental Surgery at SGH (now renamed the SingHealth Experimental Medicine Centre) from 2001 to 2007, Professor Chow expanded and upgraded the facilities and it became the first research facility in South East Asia outside the US Military to receive accreditation with the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International in 2006. In collaboration with industry partners, Professor Chow led a multi-disciplinary team from SingHealth that conceptualised and successfully carried out the translational research and first-in-man studies that resulted in the development of a novel radiotherapy device for HCC in 2005.
Professor Chow is one of two surgeons on the 26 member multi-disciplinary Workgroup of the Asia-Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver that developed the clinical guidelines for the management of HCC in the Asia Pacific and is also on the authorship of the Asian Expert Consensus Guidelines.
Professor Chow’s work is widely recognised and he has more than 160 publications indexed on MEDLINE, not including books and book chapters. He currently holds grants amounting to more than S$10 million and several intellectual property patents. His dedication and efforts have won him numerous awards over the years, beginning with the Young Surgeon’s Award of the Academy of Medicine in 1995, and including the Clinician Scientist Award (Senior Investigator category) from the NMRC and the Outstanding Educator Award from Duke-NUS in 2010.
For his outstanding contributions and achievements in clinical and translational research in hepatocellular carcinoma to improve the care and management of patients in Singapore and the Asia Pacific region, Professor Pierce Chow is awarded the 2012 National Outstanding Clinician Scientist Award.
NATIONAL OUTSTANDING CLINICIAN MENTOR AWARD 2012
PROFESSOR GEORGE YEO SEOW HEONG
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine
“For his distinguished and outstanding contributions as a mentor, teacher, researcher and clinician in the development of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (Maternal Fetal Medicine) in Singapore”
Professor George Yeo holds several appointments at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH). He is the Chief of Obstetrics; Head and Senior Consultant of the Maternal Fetal Medicine Department; Director of the Antenatal Diagnostic Centre; and Director of Research, Academic Clinical Programme for Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Singhealth-Duke-NUS Academic Medicine Partnership.
Professor Yeo was the first Head of the Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine in KKH from 1993 to 2006 and was recently reappointed in January 2012. He is also the immediate past Director of the National Birth Defects Registry under the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Director, International Medical Programmes (O&G), KKH.
A leading clinician and researcher
Known for his anticipatory vision and as a resource builder with exceptional clinical skills and knowledge, Professor Yeo pioneered the early pregnancy assessment unit in KKH. The concept of early pregnancy assessment units was then established in hospitals and now forms part of routine Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) care in Singapore. Antenatal care improvements which he implemented and established include routine screening scans at 18 to 22 weeks to assess fetal development and structural abnormalities and appropriately indicated prenatal diagnosis with Amniocentesis, Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) and Fetal Blood Sampling (Cordocentesis). He was also instrumental in developing an Antenatal Screening Programme for Thalassemia in Singapore involving looking at the Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV). Professor Yeo found that the MCV below 80fl is the right discriminator value for screening of Thalassemia in Singapore and this is widely implemented in Asia.
Professor Yeo was instrumental in introducing multi-disciplinary clinics for the management of high-risk and complicated pregnancies. This also enabled many research and collaboration projects to take root.
A strong advocate of translational research, he was an early awardee of MOH National Medical Research Council (NMRC) grants. Professor Yeo has 90 peer reviewed scientific publications. He was the Principal Investigator (PI) of seven funded projects and the chief collaborator of a National Institute of Health project. He is currently the PI of an NMRC Bench and Bedside grant and a collaborator for three other NMRC project grants.
A dedicated and inspiring mentor and educator
Through his mentorship, commitment, passion and dedication to academic medicine, many clinicians and young doctors have been touched and inspired to pursue academic medicine.
For the past 20 years, he has mentored many talented individuals who have gone on to make significant contributions in the fields of Obstetrics, Gynaecology, and Fetal Medicine. These are all exceptional people who are highly committed to medical services, education and research. Under his guidance, his mentees have also spearheaded the development of evidence-based management of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, Pre-eclampsia and Preterm Labour through the development of clinical protocols and guidelines.
To encourage creative and cost-effective learning twenty years ago, Professor Yeo created customised ultrasound software and perinatal databases for service and research, way before any software company did so for O&G departments in Singapore. This helped to facilitate the work of O&G staff.
In addition, Professor Yeo continues to lead the way in fetal surgery and invasive procedures. As a mentor, he has personally trained dozens of specialists in the safe conduct of prenatal diagnostic procedures. Just last year, he created a realistic simulator of an abdominal-pelvic model for the training of prenatal diagnosis procedures like Amniocentesis, CVS and Laser Surgery to treat Monochorionic Twin-to-Twin-Transfusion. The innovative use of a simulator helps trainees to enhance their skills in a close-to-real-life environment, thus equipping them for the tough challenges and demands of actual procedures.
Professor Yeo currently mentors and supervises many O&G Residents and Clinician Scientist Residents, and continues to organise and conduct educational programmes both nationally and internationally. As organising chairman, he has led the organisation of about 77 national, regional and international courses and scientific meetings. In 2004, he spearheaded the organisation of the inaugural International Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Ultrasound in O&G (ISUOG), in conjunction with the O&G Society of Singapore and the Chapter of O&G, Academy of Medicine, Singapore. He established the regional ISUOG Teaching and Training Centre Singapore at KKH since 2006 which further O&G Ultrasound Education and Training in Singapore and the region. Professor Yeo has been invited to numerous lectures.
In recognition of Professor Yeo’s commitment and dedication towards education, ISUOG awarded him the Stuart Campbell Award for Education in September 2010. ISUOG is the foremost society for obstetrics ultrasound in the world and they only grant this award to individuals who have contributed consistently to the advancement of ultrasound through education. Professor Yeo was the third recipient of this award since its inception in 2002.
Through Professor Yeo, the International Fetal Medicine Foundation (FMF) identified and endorsed Singapore as one of its training centres in Asia Pacific, for first trimester scans for risk assessment in 2006.
For his distinguished and outstanding contributions as a mentor, teacher, researcher and clinician in the development of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (Maternal Fetal Medicine) in Singapore, Professor Yeo is being awarded the 2012 National Outstanding Clinician Mentor Award.
NATIONAL OUTSTANDING CLINICIAN EDUCATOR AWARD 2012
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR LIM TOCK HAN
National Healthcare Group &
NHG Eye Institute, Tan Tock Seng Hospital
"For his outstanding leadership and commitment in the transformation of education and research in the National Healthcare Group, and his contributions to long-term sustained improvements in Graduate Medical Education
Associate Professor Lim Tock Han is the Assistant Chief Executive Officer (Education and Research) at the National Healthcare Group (NHG). He is also a Senior Consultant and past Medical Director of the NHG Eye Institute, Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH).
A/Prof Lim was NHG’s first Designated Institutional Official (DIO), a position he held from 2009 to 2011. As a pioneer DIO overseeing the challenging newly introduced residency system then, he was instrumental in cultivating and garnering support for the new training system to enable its success.
The National Healthcare Group together with SingHealth and NUHS had the distinction of being the first group of Sponsoring Institutions to have their Residency Programmes accredited internationally by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education International (ACGME-International), which accredits and ensure high standards of quality in postgraduate medical education and training. This is testimony to the many committed ones who laboured and have contributed in many ways to its success and A/Prof Lim was one of those who was outstanding in this respect.
A/Prof Lim’s vision enabled Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Institute of Mental Health, National Skin Centre, the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics and the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, to work together as partners to develop the residency programmes and provide a conducive training environment for all their residents. He and his team built and organised the system to support the NHG residency programmes and collaborate with the NUHS and SingHealth cluster Sponsoring Institutions and also with Ministry of Health, MOH Holdings (MOHH) and ACGME-I to collectively achieve success for all the residency programmes at the national level.
A/Prof Lim’s leadership was thus pivotal in the success of the residency programmes in NHG, and with his team of programme directors, clinical faculty, co-ordinators and administrative staff, enabled NHG’s residency programmes to all be successfully accredited by the ACGME-International.
A/Prof Lim Tock Han’s leadership and commitment and his unstinting support and contributions in collaboration with the other two DIOs in SingHealth and NUHS, was instrumental in forging the national teamwork and camaraderie to co-operate and learn best practices from each other. His insights into the system and key contributions at the national Implementation Committee for transforming Post-graduate Medical Education (Residencies) enabled good decisions and guidance at a national level for a well structured post-graduate education system to be established. This has boosted the number of medical specialist training positions and improved the curriculum and training process to produce the clinicians to meet the growing medical demand of an expanding and aging population.
Besides education, A/Prof Lim is dedicated to the furtherance of Ophthalmology. He was the Founding President of the College of Ophthalmologists in the Academy of Medicine, Singapore. He also served in various national committees, including the Specialist Training Committee in Ophthalmology and the Specialists Accreditation Board. He is also Clinical Associate Professor in Ophthalmology at the National University of Singapore and Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the Nanyang Technological University. He is Visiting Professor and Examiner at Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia, and past Visiting Professor and Examiner at the University Sains Malaysia.
He co-authored over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and “Fison’s Retinal Detachment” a book on this retinal problem. He thus believed in the importance of imparting clinical knowledge to the younger generation of doctors, and is a notable educator and teacher in Ophthalmology, locally and internationally, sharing particularly his expertise in retinal imaging, and his pioneering work in polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy.
As Assistant CEO (Education & Research) at NHG, he now plays a key role in the team that is establishing our nation’s third medical school – the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. He leads NHG’s Education Office which is linked to other NHG Institutions, the NHG Education & IT Taskforce, the NHG College, and the Simulation and Integrated Medical Training Advancement Centre (SIMTAC) at TTSH.
For his distinguished and significant contribution as a pioneer of the Residency system together with the other two DIOs, and as an excellent medical education administrator, outstanding teacher, mentor and clinician for the development of Singapore’s next generation of medical and healthcare professionals, Associate Professor Lim Tock Han is bestowed the National Outstanding Clinician Educator Award at the NMEA 2012.
National Outstanding Clinical Quality Activist 2012
Adjunct Associate Professor Tai Hwei Yee
Tan Tock Seng Hospital
Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care & Pain Medicine
“For her distinguished and outstanding contributions as a mentor, teacher and clinician in the development of the field of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety in Singapore”
Adjunct Associate Professor Tai Hwei Yee, is a Senior Consultant in the Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). She has held multiple portfolios and is recognised for growing the national healthcare sector and the Quality Improvement and Patient Safety programmes at TTSH and the National Healthcare Group (NHG). Her helpful and vivacious personality has motivated others to strive for constant improvement in patient care. She is the Deputy Chief Quality Officer of NHG. Between 2003 and 2011, she was also the Assistant Chairman of Medical Board for Clinical Quality and Audit. She introduced Patient Safety Officers and championed the development of a “Just Culture” and non-punitive system approach to supporting patient safety initiatives.
Mentor and communicator
As an outstanding mentor and teacher, Dr Tai introduced training programmes to improve the understanding of patient safety concepts, human factors, root cause analysis and failure modes and effects analysis. Being a good communicator, she developed creative ways to enhance the communications between staff and patients. She also developed a programme, endorsed by the Medical Protection Society, for clinicians on effective Open Communications skills.
Besides leading the Clinical Practice Improvement Program in NHG, she guides improvement teams from other acute and community hospitals. Leveraging on her experience as Vice-Chairman of the TTSH Joint Commissions International (JCI) Accreditation Steering Committee and Chair of the Quality and Patient Safety Chapter, she actively helps other institutions in their JCI efforts through cross-institutional auditing and training of internal auditors. Her expertise in training for quality improvement was well received even in places like Thailand and also at the International Forum for Healthcare Quality Improvement.
Dr Tai also promoted Clinical Pathways to ensure consistent care and improved clinical outcomes, and had supported the development of Chronic Disease Management in NHG.
An effective leader
Under her strong leadership, a Clinical Incident Management Process was put in place to address complaints and reduce the risk level of adverse events, thus ensuring safer patient care. In 1999, Dr Tai instituted the Pre-Admission Counseling and Evaluation Service (PACE) and established Singapore’s first outpatient, nurse-based pre-operative evaluation of patients that enabled TTSH to be the first hospital in Singapore to introduce Same Day Admission (SDA) for elective surgery and 23-hr stay for Ambulatory Surgery. She was also the Director of the Casemix Office from 1999 to 2008 where she set up Singapore’s first Case Management Unit to coordinate care for long staying patients with complex clinical and social needs in TTSH.
Dr Tai spearheaded initiatives to improve safety and clinical outcomes. Examples included Clinical Review Programme, Safety Culture Surveys, Adverse Event Studies, Patient Safety Executive Walkabouts and Projects on Improving Communication of Critical Results and Improving Peri-operative Surgical Safety. As Chairman of the Expert Panel for NHG’s High Alert Medication Collaborative, she implemented a standardised High Alert Medication List, developed audit processes to detect problems associated with high alert medications, standardised care processes around the usage of these drugs and many more measures. She also implemented the first electronic clinical decision support system for medication prescription in Singapore.
Dr Tai chairs the Safe Medication Practices workgroup in the National Medication Safety Taskforce and serves as senior consultant to the Standards and Quality Improvement Division, Ministry of Health.
In 2006, Dr Tai’s strength in leading improvement processes, patient safety initiatives and generating efficient use of medical technology won her the NHG Outstanding Citizenship Award. She was also awarded the NHG Distinguished Achievement Award for her firm leadership and contributions towards driving clinical quality improvement and patient safety programs in June this year.
For her distinguished and outstanding contributions as a mentor, teacher and clinician in the development of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety in Singapore, Adjunct Associate Professor Tai Hwei Yee is awarded the 2012 National Outstanding Clinical Quality Activist Award.
NATIONAL CLINICAL EXCELLENCE TEAM AWARD 2012
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR SOPHIA ANG
VICE CHAIRMAN, MEDICAL BOARD
DR SHARON SAW
SCIENTIFIC OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF LABORATORY MEDICINE
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR JAMES YIP
CHIEF MEDICAL INFORMATION OFFICER
DR SANDHYA MUJUMDAR
DEPUTY DIRECTOR, MEDICAL AFFAIRS
“For their outstanding contributions in patient safety and outcome through landmark critical lab result alert system”
Delay in communication of critical test results to the requesting clinician may result in serious adverse outcome for patients as time is of essence in the treatment and management of critical illnesses.
In 2006, under the leadership of Associate Professor Sophia Ang, the NUH team embarked on an innovative project to achieve effective and timely closed-loop communication of critical results. The team leveraged on the hospital’s messaging system (HMS) by pulling data and information from various IT applications to automatically assemble a concise message which is in turn routed to the ordering clinician via the mobile phone. The system is linked to a manual escalation system which ensures that if the critical laboratory test is not acknowledged within 10 minutes, a staff at the hospital’s call centre will receive a visual cue and contact the relevant clinician or escalate to the next level of clinical staff.
Staff at the laboratory are also able to access a real-time visual status of all outstanding critical results notification via a large screen dashboard.
These innovative efforts resulted in marked improvement in the outcomes, standards, safety and quality of patient care in NUH. Since the implementation, this system has improved the reliability of clinicians being informed of critical tests to close to 100%. The median response to action time by clinicians has been reduced from 109 minutes in the manual system to 21 minutes with automation.
This innovative project was awarded the MOH best quality poster in 2006 and Hospital Management Asia Merit award in 2009.
The project was published by the American Journal of Clinical Pathology and was named as one of the Top 10 game changers in Pathology in 2011 by Medscape. It also appeared in the British Medical Journal of Quality and Safety where it was named the Editors choice article of August 2012.
The highly innovative project has since been adopted for use in other healthcare institutions including Alexandra Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
For their outstanding contributions in patient safety and outcome through landmark critical lab result alert system, the team comprising Associate Professor Sophia Ang, Dr Sharon Saw, Associate Professor James Yip and Dr Sandhya Mujumdar of the National University Hospital, is awarded the 2012 National Clinical Excellence Team Award.
NMEA INFORMATION SHEET
About the National Medical Excellence Awards
The National Medical Excellence Awards is a national-level award given out to recognise the efforts of clinicians, clinician scientists and other healthcare professionals for their clinical and research work. It acknowledges their contributions in advancing healthcare, improving the standards of patient safety and quality of care which ultimately improve people's lives.
National Outstanding Clinician Award
The National Outstanding Clinician award recognises individuals with at least 15 years of service in public or private healthcare establishments with exceptional contributions to clinical work that advances the safety and quality of patient care, and in addition has supported and facilitated research. The recipients have successfully introduced novel / effective treatment methods resulting in high standard of quality healthcare delivery and are recognized by their peers as being a master clinician. Recipients will receive a trophy, a citation and a prize of S$10,000.
National Outstanding Clinician Scientist Award
The National Outstanding Clinician Scientist award recognises individuals with at least 15 years of service in public or private healthcare establishments with outstanding contributions to clinical and translational research work relating to their field of specialty. Their contributions through research work have resulted in novel understanding of diseases with potential positive outcome on healthcare delivery. Recipients will receive a trophy, a citation and a prize of S$10,000.
National Outstanding Clinician Mentor Award
The National Outstanding Clinician Mentor award recognises individuals with at least 15 years of service in healthcare industry and health-related work who have contributed substantially to the training of young clinicians and clinician scientists via mentorship or by virtue of academic positions. Recipients will receive a trophy, a citation and a prize of S$10,000.
National Outstanding Clinician Educator Award
The National Outstanding Clinician Educator Award recognises individuals who have contributed substantially to the training of clinicians and/or clinician scientists via mentorship or by virtue of academic positions. This award is opened to all clinicians, clinician-educators, clinician-researchers or academic researchers in public or private healthcare establishments in Singapore. Recipients will receive a trophy, a citation and a prize of S$10,000.
National Outstanding Clinical Quality Activist Award
The National Outstanding Clinical Quality Activist award recognises individuals who have contributed significantly to clinical quality improvement and patient safety and have likewise, inspired others to do so. This is the only award that is open to all medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists and allied health professionals in the public and private healthcare sectors non-doctors. Recipients will receive a trophy, a citation and a prize of S$10,000.
National Clinical Excellence Team Award
The National Clinical Excellence Team award recognises teams or organizations that have undertaken a clinical quality / practice improvement project that succeeded in making an outstanding contribution to improving patient safety and care through exemplary innovative transfer of benefits of research, novel methods or care delivery resulting in improved standards of care, health outcomes, higher efficiency and/or more effective patient centered services. The team should demonstrate their achievements through successful population of novel care delivery services beyond the unit / ward / department. Recipients will receive a team trophy, citation and a prize of S$10,000.
 MCV measures the average red blood cell volume size and is used to differentiate types of
 These clinics, included the Birth Defect Clinic, High Risk Consult Clinic, Outpatient Obstetric Day
Care and Combined Diabetic Clinic
 Dr Tai is currently a member of the MOHH Clinical Advisory Group for the National Electronic Health Record, and she serves on MOH’s Transplant Ethics Committee. Prof Tai was recently asked to head the Quality and Patient Safety at Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, where she will provide input for the curriculum.
 Other measures include: standardising drug dilutions, having safer processes for drug storage and labeling, standardisation of pumps and implementation of “Smart” pumps, institution of counter-checks for dangerous drugs, removal of concentrated electrolytes from ward stock, improving communications between clinicians.
 The support system has been rolled out in NHG and NUH. It comprises checks and alerts to warn doctors and pharmacists of potential errors or drug-to-drug interactions thus minimising risk of adverse drug events and increasing safety for patients.
 This taskforce identifies best medication practices and introduces national standards and guidelines for medication management.
 The project was published in 2011. Accessible at: http://ajcp.ascpjournals.org/content/136/1/30.full.pdf+html?sid=461d10d1-186e-4e8a-9412-f6db636d1836