National Medical Excellence Awards 2020
The National Medical Excellence Awards recognise outstanding clinicians and healthcare professionals who have made outstanding contributions in advancement of healthcare improvements in standards of patient safety and quality of care, which ultimately improve lives.
This year, SingHealth is proud to have winners across two different categories:
National Outstanding Clinical Quality Champion Award
Dr Chow Mun HongSenior Consultant Director, Quality Management, SHP Chief Risk Officer, SHP Vice-Chair, Strategy & Innovation, SingHealth Duke-NUS Family Medicine Academic Clinical Programme
Dr Chow Mun Hong has dedicated his professional career to improving patients’ lives. In his 30-year medical career, he has nurtured generations of healthcare professionals at SHP, and instilled systemic improvements to ensure that improving patient care continues to be a key focus at SHP.
Dr Chow founded the SHP Quality Management Department in 2006 and built an integrated Quality Framework for work areas including clinical governance, quality assurance, patient safety, patient experience, enterprise risk management, improvement, and culture and capacity building.
He set up a system of multi-disciplinary expert groups in various aspects of quality and safety, workgroups in various clinical fields, and Improvement Collaboratives that connected SHP-level Clinical Leaders and clinic-based improvement teams. This enabled every member of SHP to thrive in an integrated inter-disciplinary system which emphasises institutional learning and knowledge management, governance and improvement.
Having great passion for transforming care delivery systems, Dr Chow spearheaded the design of a Clinical Information System that provided point-of-care decision support, generation of reports to support improvement, as well as registry-based views of patients to enable proactive patient monitoring. These functions were foundational to SHP’s ability to consistently provide quality chronic disease management by multi-disciplinary teams at high volumes. SHP’s development of Telecare has also enabled them to transform from a reactive to a proactive mode of care delivery, delivering care to patients even when they are not physically at the clinics.
At the Singapore Healthcare Improvement Network (SHINe), Dr Chow co-chaired the National Curriculum Workgroup for Patient Safety and Quality Improvement (PSQI) that developed a common set of learning objectives for various topics on PSQI, and is currently the Co-Executive Lead for a Large Scale Initiative on Transitions of Care that is working on improving the safety and effectiveness of care transitions at various healthcare institutions across Singapore.
Dr Chow has been training Family Physicians and other healthcare professionals in Quality and Safety since 1999. Each member of the SHP family participates in a Quality and Safety training framework developed by Dr Chow that guides them in skills development as they progress in their career. Many senior clinicians at SHP today remember the lessons they have learned and apply them now as leaders.
Concurrent to his role at SHP, Dr Chow served at SingHealth Headquarters, as Director, Clinical Governance and Quality Management, and thereafter as Director, Innovation and Quality Management.
For his inspiring leadership, exemplary efforts in advancing system-wide Quality and Safety for patients, and commitment to developing healthcare professionals to ensure continuity across generations, Dr Chow is awarded the National Outstanding Clinical Quality Champion Award 2020.
National Clinical Excellence Team Award
KK Human Milk Bank Programme
The KK Human Milk Bank (KKHMB) was launched in August 2017, with an aim to provide a ready supply of safe pasteurised donor human milk (PDHM) for premature and critically ill babies when their mothers’ own milk is insufficient. Breast milk is scientifically proven to be the best nutrition for all infants, especially those born premature. The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Paediatrics recommend the use of donor human milk as the first choice for preterm infant feeding after a mother’s own milk.
Recognising that the exclusive use of human milk in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants averaged only 11.5% over the past 12 years and the important role of human milk in the reduction of necrotising enterocolitis (NEC)1, the team planned to set up the first and only donor human milk bank in Singapore.
Due to the lack of local and regional expertise in donor human milk banking, the team went on a study trip to the Perron Rotary Express Milk Bank in Western Australia to attain the necessary knowledge and skills required. With support from Temasek Foundation, careful planning of the supply chain process, as well as the infrastructure set up based on international best practices, KKHMB was established.
As at 30 September 2020, KKHMB has recruited 691 donors and benefited more than 1,844 recipients. The exclusive use of human milk in the vulnerable neonatal population in KKH has increased dramatically from the baseline of less than 20% to 97%. More importantly, the incidence of NEC has drastically reduced from 5.8% in VLBWs to no cases in 2018. This has helped significantly reduce the total medical bill size as well as length of hospital stay of these patients.
Since its launch, the KKHMB has garnered strong public support with many mothers coming forward to donate their excess breast milk. Mothers of recipients report a better sense of well-being knowing that PDHM offers better outcomes for their babies. With the milk bank working closely with the lactation service in the hospital, mothers of recipients also feel better supported in their endeavour to breastfeed, with many managing to increase their own milk supply.
Beyond Singapore, KKHMB has received regional interest to understand more about the effective establishment of such a programme. With the success of KKHMB, an additional grant from Temasek Foundation was secured in July 2019, enabling the milk bank to grow its capacity to provide PDHM to patients up to 12 months of age with a broader range of medical conditions and even after hospital discharge.
For their outstanding contributions and achievements in establishing a national Donor Human Milk Bank programme for the benefit of premature and critically ill babies in Singapore, the KK Human Milk Bank team is awarded the 2020 National Clinical Excellence Team Award.
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