“When I joined Singapore General Hospital (SGH) in 1988 as an IT long-range planner, as part of the hospital’s restructuring team, I knew I would be in for an exciting time but never did I expect to it to be the start of a 33-year journey in healthcare.
After the restructuring of SGH in 1989, I was asked to help setup the IT department at the soon-to-be restructured Toa Payoh Hospital (TPH). After a five-year stint there, I rejoined SGH to take on an overseas posting to provide consultancy in setting up a 220-bed private hospital in Jakarta, Indonesia. Thereafter, I was also involved in setting up another 550-bed private hospital building project in Delhi, India. I travelled quite extensively providing consultancy training in countries like Kuwait, Bangladesh, Brunei, China, Vietnam and Myanmar from 2002 – 2009. In 2012, I joined the Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) team at the start of the project planning phase.
Building a new hospital is like running a marathon, and it was a humbling and fulfilling experience seeing the SKH building project through till its completion. Much credit has to be given to the entire SKH team. My involvement in setting up two overseas hospitals from ground zero and participating in the restructuring of SGH and TPH also helped me tremendously.
Through the years, I’ve witnessed the immense advancements in IT and medical technology. I have seen the automation of medical records, implementation of a real-time locating system to track the movement of patients and key items, auto-storage and retrieval of drugs and instruments as well as using automated guided vehicles to transport trolleys and beds etc. Tele-consultation and robotic surgery are now a reality too.
With patients now being empowered to play an active role in taking charge of their own health, healthcare is no longer confined to just provided within hospital facilities. We are now talking about an entire healthcare ecosystem.”
Mr Richard Thong, Director, Operations & Commissioning Secretariat (ComSec), Sengkang General Hospital
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