SAF personnel based in north-western Singapore now have access to convenient one-stop healthcare services at the Kranji Regional Health Hub.
In December last year, military police trainee Private (PTE) Vansh Bagaria injured his ankle during a morning run. The pain was so bad that he had to be ferried by a safety vehicle to the Kranji Regional Health Hub (KRHH).
Over there, medical officer Captain (CPT) (Dr) Sammy Loh examined him and ordered an x-ray to be carried out. Thankfully, his injury turned out to be a ligament tear, not a fracture. The entire x-ray and consultation process at KRHH took only about over an hour.
In the past, patients like PTE Bagaria would have to be escorted by his commander and medics to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital's Accident & Emergency department for x-ray imaging.
"Roughly it would take four to six hours, depending on the load at the emergency department," said CPT (Dr) Loh.
The situation changed with KRHH starting operations in September last year. A wide range of enhanced and specialist services is provided under one roof. These include x-ray, electrocardiography, dental surgery, hearing acuity tests, and psychiatric care.
Instead of visiting multiple locations, service personnel can now access these healthcare services with one visit to KRHH.
PTE Bagaria, who has been recovering well from his ligament injury, said: "Having that ease and efficiency of just being able to do the x-ray in one spot is very useful… and we obviously saved a lot of resources and time as well."
Service personnel who are scheduled for routine health screenings also stand to benefit.
For example, Full-time National Servicemen who are about to complete full-time NS are required to complete a mandatory health check. This used to take up to five visits at various medical centres. Today, it can all be done at KRHH.
KRHH is the first of six Regional Health Hubs to be established across Singapore to bring enhanced and specialised healthcare closer to SAF personnel.
Located in Kranji Camp III, the KRHH serves SAF personnel based in Kranji Camps I, II, III, Mandai Hill Camp, SAF Detention Barracks, and Stagmont Camp.
Speaking to the media at the launch of KRHH on 20 Feb, Senior Minister of State for Defence Mr Heng Chee How said: "KRHH brings together the latest in technology, key processes and management processes, so as to tap into the efficiency of arrangements and at the same time, leverage technology with the aim of bringing more convenience to the service personnel."
Leveraging tech to improve healthcare
The KRHH also serves as a test-bed to pilot innovative features to improve healthcare delivery and patient experience across the SAF. For example, the KRHH partnered with ST Logistics to carry out a pilot trial of the MEDBOX, a 24/7 smart locker system.
Also being trialed is the Medical Dispensary System (MDS), an end-to-end inventory system that accounts for and dispenses medication.
The dispensary medic only needs to verify the patient's name and prescription, and draw out the correct quantity of the medicine.
The digital inventory record is also updated automatically. When the inventory for a particular type of medicine is low, the MDS will automatically place an order with the vendor.
The MDS aims to reduce the probability of medication error, and reduce logistical demands on medical staff.
In the past, dispensary medic Corporal First Class (CFC) Ahmad Suhaidi Bin Mohd Sukor had to look for the medicine, and check the batch number and expiry date.
He also had to update the inventory records, and place orders for medicines that are running low.
Said the 26-year-old: "We had to remember where each medication is located. Because we have over 160-plus medications to keep track of, it's a bit tedious to remember all of them."
With the MDS, more time is freed up for him to communicate with the patients, he added.
The two-storey KRHH has an increased patient capacity with ten consultation rooms. It also houses SAF's largest dental centre, with six dental surgery rooms.
It is equipped with emergency treatment facilities, including two resuscitation bays, two treatment rooms, and a body cooling unit.
The KRHH also offers telehealth services such as tele-consultation as well as virtual medical boards for assessing a personnel's Physical Employment Status (PES). Tele-psychiatric consultations are also in the pipeline.
The KRHH is also designed to be pandemic-ready. There are two consultation rooms and four isolation rooms that are negative pressured, capable of segregating airflows to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
These patients will be attended to at two consultation rooms and a dispensary located at the entrance.
The second regional hub will be located at NS Hub at Gombak. It is under construction, and expected to be operational in 2024.