Opening Address by Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health, at the Opening Ceremony of RadiologyAsia 2018 and the 27th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Singapore Radiological Society and College of Radiologists Singapore, at Max Atria, Singapore Expo, 11 May 2018

Dr Andrew Tan, President, Singapore Radiological Society

Dr Ian Tsou, President, College of Radiologists, Singapore

Mr Adrian Sng, General Manager, SingEx Exhibitions

Distinguished speakers and guests

Ladies and gentlemen

 

1.    Good afternoon to all of you. It gives me great pleasure to join you today for the opening ceremony of RadiologyAsia 2018, held in conjunction with the 27th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Singapore Radiological Society (SRS) and College of Radiologists Singapore (CRS). 

Role of Radiology in Today’s Healthcare

2.    Radiology and imaging play an important role in today's healthcare. The changes in our demographic and disease patterns around the world have led to a drastic increase in demand for all forms of imaging in many countries including Singapore, resulting in the rise of the demand for radiologists.

3.    At the same time, the complexity of cases has also increased and with development of technology, radiologists are now able to provide more accurate and informative reports. The advancement of image-guided interventions has also allowed radiologists to play a vital role in patient treatment in closer collaboration with their professional colleagues, including nurses and allied health professionals, as part of a strong multidisciplinary team.

Informatics and Innovation

4.    Singapore has always been an early adopter of technology, with the Singapore General Hospital first deploying the Radiology Information System and Picture Archiving and Communication System (RISPACS) in the late 1990s. Today, all public hospitals are filmless and use digital Picture Archival Computerised System (PACS). Radiology reports and images are now readily available to the doctors and nurses on the wards and in outpatient clinics, as well as in Emergency Departments and operating theatres, improving patient care and safety significantly. Through the National Electronic Health Record, doctors can also access some of their patient’s imaging investigations which were performed in other healthcare institutions. This allows for better informed clinical decision making and facilitates care integration across the different care settings.

5.    The theme of this year’s conference, “The ABCs of Radiology Renewed”, shows that the Singapore radiology community is very mindful of the need to always look ahead, innovate, adopt and adapt. Over the past few years, discussions on the impact and progress of artificial intelligence, deep learning, machine learning and artificial neural networks have increasingly been featured and showcased at radiology and medical conferences. These are important developments that we must stay abreast of. It is heartening to see that this conference will feature a separate platform on Informatics and Innovations, with experts from the academia and A*STAR Singapore, as well as radiologists and informatics experts.

6.    As Singapore embarks on our “Smart Nation” initiative and with the launch of AI Singapore, I am confident that the medical profession in Singapore will see an increasing involvement in this crucial area. I hope at the radiology community will be at the forefront of these technological developments. 

7.    To support innovation in the radiological field, the Ministry will be embarking on a series of stakeholder consultations with the radiologists, the Singapore Radiological Society and the College of Radiologists, in the coming months to finalise the regulations of radiological services, nuclear medicine services, radiation oncology services and interventional radiology services under the new Healthcare Services Act.

8.    With the possibilities offered by the advent in imaging technology coupled with the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, healthcare providers need to rethink how care can be better organised and delivered in order to meet the changing needs of our population.

Beyond Healthcare to Health

9.    Preventive Health, for example, are important in any good healthcare system. Screening programmes allow diseases to be detected at an earlier stage, so that they can be cured, or controlled before they progress to a more advanced and serious stage. The radiology community plays an important role by providing the imaging services needed for screening. Imaging tests like mammography has proven to be effective in detecting early stage breast cancer. With the rapidly ageing population around the world and in Singapore, the emphasis on such preventive care is now more important than ever to help people live longer and healthier lives.

Beyond Hospital to Community

10.      I encourage our radiology community to think about how they can evolve a different care model that moves the focus of healthcare provision beyond the hospital to the community, together with a structured, coordinated and continuous care model built around patients. Improving access to appropriate imaging tests in the community brings greater convenience to our patients, empowers our community based clinicians and improves the workflow and productivity. Patients need not travel to hospitals for many of these imaging tests. There are existing projects using mobile buses to provide preventive and screening imaging services to the community such as mammography. Ultrasound scans are commonly performed in ambulatory primary care settings.

Beyond Quality to Value

11.    Healthcare institutions should endeavour to establish an effective team-based clinical practice that strives to deliver cost-effective and safe care. Radiologists play an important role in educating both healthcare workers and patients on the appropriate tests to be conducted. This is of the utmost importance when technological advancement has made different types of complicated and high risk imaging modalities readily available for clinicians and patients. Ordering unnecessary or inappropriate tests not only increases the cost of care without significant benefit, but can also increase the risk of harm. Radiologists can act as an advocate for the patients by giving the care team and the patient appropriate advice.

12.    This paradigm shift is an ideal time for radiologists to take the initiative where value-added value-based care is concerned and step up into the role of ‘patient’s advocate’ in their institutions and become further integrated with patient care and management.

Conclusion

13.    Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Singapore Radiological Society, the College of Radiologists Singapore and SingEx for another successful conference and exhibition. I wish all of you a fruitful and productive session ahead. 

Thank you. 

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