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Woodlands facility to blaze trail for healthcare

Woodlands facility to blaze trail for healthcare
Artist impression of the new hospital campus. Photo: Woodlands Health Campus

Woodlands facility to blaze trail for healthcare

It will leverage heavily on smart tech for patient care, operations and infrastructure

SINGAPORE — Touted as a pioneer of the next generation of healthcare facilities by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Tuesday (April 18), the Woodlands Health Campus (WHC) — which will sit on a 7.66ha site along Woodlands Drive 17 — will be opened in phases from 2022. 

The all-in-one healthcare facility, which is slated to serve more than 935,000 residents in the northern part of the island, consists of an integrated acute and community hospital as well as long-term care facilities. 

Potentially housing up to 1,800 beds eventually, the first hospital in the Woodlands area will leverage heavily on smart technology in terms of patient care, operations and infrastructure. Among other things, it will tap the national video consultation platform launched last week, and online services — such as for check-ins and registration, the filling in of forms, the ordering of medication, and payments — will also be available.

The hospital is also exploring the use of sensors and wearable devices, which could allow nurses to monitor patients in the wards and at home.  

Clinical spaces will be laid out more effectively, for instance, by grouping specialist outpatient clinics in a way that allows patients to consult specialists, nurses and therapists in a single visit.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Mr Gan said: “With the new WHC, we should not be just ... adding beds to the system as well as operating very much in the ‘business-as-usual’ way. Rather, we should take the opportunity to develop new care models to make a decisive shift towards greater community-based care.”

Dr Jason Cheah, who chairs the WHC Pro-Tem committee, said that a key focus would be to “enable patients who require long–term rehabilitation to get through the acute hospital system quicker, and transfer them to community hospital, and then possibly on to rehabilitation much faster”. 

“We link the various parts of the campus together so that they are clustered in one area,” said Dr Cheah, who is chief executive officer of the Agency for Integrated Care. 

Ms Yan Yan, the director of operations planning at WHC, said the campus will be opened progressively from 2022, with a total capacity of 1,400 beds. “We will design upfront infrastructure provisions to give us the flexibility to add up to another 400 beds in the future phases,” she said. 

WHC is part of proposed developments unveiled on Sunday by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong to remake Woodlands into the “star attraction of the north”. 

Mr Gan described it as a key component of his ministry’s Healthcare2020 masterplan to meet Singapore’s future needs against the backdrop of a growing and ageing population.

Together with Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) and Yishun Community Hospital (YCH), the new hospital in Woodlands will serve the increasing number of residents in the north, especially in the mature estates of Woodlands, Marsiling and Sembawang.

WHC will feature the first purpose-built “Healing Forest Garden”, which was designed together with the National Parks Board based on studies which show that spending time with nature helps healing. At the long-term care facility, there will also be specially designed “Therapeutic Gardens” for early rehabilitation, and a “Dementia Garden”.