Address by Dr Amy Khor, Minister-of-State for Health at the Launch of COPD-ICP & Official Takeover of Jurong Medical Centre by JurongHealth on Saturday, 28 April 2012, 11.00 am at Jurong Medical Centre

Introduction

            I am delighted to join all of you here today at the launch of the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Integrated Care Pathway (COPD-ICP) and the official handover of Jurong Medical Centre (JMC) from Alexandra Health to JurongHealth.

Integrated Care Pathways (ICPs)

2.         Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease characterized by chronic obstruction of lung airflow that interferes with normal breathing and is not fully reversible. It is characterised by chronic coughs, breathlessness and tiredness. Eventually, some of these patients may even develop heart failure and require supplemental oxygen. In 2010, COPD was the 7th principal cause of death in Singapore with approximately 440 deaths.  It is also the 7th most common condition for hospitalisation with more than 10,000 admissions in 2010.

3.         The key risk factor for COPD is smoking[1]. Most COPD is caused by long-term smoking and can easily be prevented by not smoking. For smokers, smoking cessation has been shown to be beneficial at all stages of the disease, and the benefits are greater if the smoking habit is shed earlier. I urge all smokers to take part in HPB’s I Quit movement.

4.         Effective management of patients with COPD requires the coordinated efforts of the hospital and the community to integrate care across the care continuum. We need to move from a hospital centric model of care and enhance prevention efforts in the community as well as enabling primary care providers such as GPs to manage less complex cases. The COPD-ICP was developed with these needs in mind.

5.         Integrated Care Pathways (ICPs) are task-oriented structured multidisciplinary care plans which detail essential steps in the care of patients with a specific clinical problem[2]. The aim of the COPD ICP is to chart out the care that patients should receive across the continuum of care from prevention to end-of-life care so that no matter where they are cared for -- whether in the hospital, primary care or in the community -- they will receive the care that is effective based on the latest clinical evidence and expert consensus. With the rollout of the COPD ICP, care planning and management for our patients will also be more coordinated with patients having easier access to the services that they need in the appropriate setting.  I am confident that this will improve patient experience and clinical outcomes.

6.         I would like to take this opportunity to applaud the efforts of the national level COPD-ICP workgroup who worked tirelessly with MOH on the development and implementation of the pathway. The national workgroup led by Prof Lim Tow Keang has worked hard over the past few months to identify and prioritise clinical interventions based on a detailed scan of medical literature and contextualising it for our local population.

7.         JurongHealth is the first regional health system to implement the COPD-ICP as part of JurongHealth’s goal of transforming care by delivering integrated care for the population in the west. I would thus like to acknowledge the contribution of the JurongHealth implementation workgroup, led by Dr Gerald Chua who has worked tirelessly and innovatively to translate the pathway from concept into reality, in particular when, where and how the prioritised services should be delivered. The workgroup had also identified enablers, such as IT systems, that are required to deliver the services effectively and efficiently.

8.         This ICP represents an important partnership between JurongHealth and its partners -- comprising 10 GP clinics, Bukit Batok polyclinic and St. Luke’s Community Hospital[3]. I would like to encourage more providers, especially our GPs to sign up as partners. I also look forward to the implementation of the ICP in other regional health systems too to benefit as many patients as possible. Apart from COPD, MOH is also currently working with our clinicians to develop ICPs for other conditions such as stroke and diabetes.

Handover of Jurong Medical Centre

9.         Separately, this event also commemorates the handing over of Jurong Medical Centre (JMC) to JurongHealth. JMC was established in 2006 and operated initially by Alexandra Hospital and subsequently Alexandra Health as a pilot project by MOH to bring specialist healthcare services to the community. JurongHealth will now officially take over the running of the JMC from Alexandra Health to look after the needs of the western population.

10.       The Medical Centre provides day surgery as well as specialist outpatient services in the community. The Medical Centre will also foster closer collaboration with GPs by providing diagnostic, support and allied health services for GPs to tap on to provide quality care for their patients. MOH is also currently working with other Regional Health Systems to develop Medical Centres in other parts of Singapore to bring specialist care closer to patients.

Closing

11.       I would like to congratulate the JurongHealth team on the launch of the COPD-ICP and the official takeover of JMC. I wish you every success in improving healthcare for our residents.

 

 

[1] Health Facts Singapore 2011

[2] Integrated care pathways. Campbell H et al. BMJ (1998);316:133

[3] St. Luke Hospital will be supporting the programme by providing sub-acute care and rehabilitation services for COPD patients. Hospice Care Association (HCA) will also partner and provide end-of-life care to patients who fulfil their eligibility criteria

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