Singapore has always been known for being a place of innovation and inspiration. The city-state’s economic success is often attributed to its pioneering role in areas such as finance, insurance, real estate, and education. While these elements have played a huge role in the development of the city-state, it is important to recognise that healthcare also adopted a novel approach to development in Singapore.
According to the World Health Organization, healthcare innovations can be defined as “the processes, products, or techniques used for healthcare that are designed to improve patient safety, quality of care, or efficiency”.
In most countries, healthcare spending accounts for a significant amount of total national expenditure. In Singapore, healthcare expenditure currently represents 4.9% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). This is in comparison to the average 7.5% seen across Southeast Asia and 4.2% worldwide. For context, the United Kingdom spends 11.2% of its GDP on healthcare, while in the United States, healthcare accounts for 17.5% of GDP.
What is driving this trend of low healthcare expenditures in Singapore? The answer has to do with the way healthcare is organised in the city-state. In many other countries, healthcare is largely provided by institutions such as hospitals and clinics. In Singapore, however, healthcare is primarily delivered by private physicians and dentists, who are engaged in an ongoing collaboration with the Ministry of Health to constantly strive for improving healthcare delivery.
Here are some of the key reasons why Singapore is a great place for healthcare and the development of health technology:
One of the main reasons behind Singapore’s high quality and affordable healthcare is that the entire country is organised around healthcare. As a result, healthcare is highly accessible and practical.
Under the direction of the Ministry of Health, all hospitals and health clinics in Singapore are required to be registered with the government. This ensures that healthcare in the country is comprehensive and transparent. It also means that all hospitals and clinics must adhere to standard procedures, which in turn improves the quality of care and patient safety.
Regulated healthcare also encourages healthcare providers to innovate and improve the way they provide care. Registered nurses in Singapore are among the best in the world, and they are encouraged to constantly look for new ways to enhance the quality of patient care. As a result, Singapore has one of the most innovative healthcare systems in the world.
A similar trend can be seen in other low-cost healthcare systems, such as that of Costa Rica and Cuba. When governments regulate healthcare, doctors and nurses can innovate and improve the service they provide to citizens. This encourages practical and sustainable healthcare delivery and helps drive down healthcare costs.
One of the main reasons behind Singapore’s success in lowering healthcare costs is that the city-state has one of the world’s best healthcare systems. The country’s low infant mortality rate, high life expectancy, and robust immigrant population ensure that its healthcare workforce is highly skilled and motivated.
In addition, the government actively encourages healthy lifestyles among its citizens, which means that an increasing number of people are choosing to remain fit and active. The combination of healthy populations and high-quality healthcare encourages practical and sustainable healthcare delivery, resulting in further cost savings.
This is certainly not a unique situation to Singapore. According to the WHO, “countries with higher levels of health expenditure tend to have healthier populations and therefore a lower demand for healthcare services.” This has important and far-reaching implications for healthcare providers, who can use this knowledge to better plan and manage their services.
Healthcare Is Integrated
Another crucial element that helps drive down healthcare costs in Singapore is the integration of healthcare. According to the WHO, healthcare integration can be considered “the functional and efficient organising of healthcare delivery systems into groups or communities to coordinate care and improve outcomes”. In most countries, healthcare is delivered by institutions such as hospitals and clinics. In Singapore, healthcare is delivered by individuals such as physicians and dentists, who often work in the same practice. This means that healthcare is constantly accessed by the same patient, which is practical and efficient.
In addition, healthcare providers and institutions in the country are required to adhere to Joint Commission International (JCI) standards. These standards outline the criteria for measuring healthcare quality. They also include accreditation requirements and certification testing, which help to ensure the highest quality of care.
JCI standards promote healthcare integration, promote practical and efficient delivery systems, and help drive down healthcare costs.
Another important reason behind Singapore’s success in driving down healthcare costs is that the city-state has one of the most practical and innovative healthcare systems in the world. As a result, healthcare providers are well-equipped to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. For example, they are highly trained in using the latest technology to diagnose and treat patients.
Furthermore, the country encourages healthcare providers to continue their education and stay updated with the latest skills and techniques. This ensures that healthcare delivery is always based on the most up-to-date practices and procedures. It also encourages continuous improvement, which helps to drive down healthcare costs even further.
This continuous education and emphasis on innovation help to explain why Singapore is a great place for healthcare and the development of health technology. The country’s low healthcare costs and pragmatic approach to healthcare delivery attract professionals from around the world, who want to be part of the success story.