Eastern Health Alliance aims to transform healthcare delivery in eastern Singapore 

Singapore’s regional health system for the east is a first-of-its-kind alliance of public healthcare and non-profit organisations across the care spectrum

Friday, 18 November 2011 – The Eastern Health Alliance (EH Alliance), the regional health system for eastern Singapore, was officially launched today by the Minister for Health Mr Gan Kim Yong, in conjunction with the EH Alliance‟s inaugural Annual Scientific Meeting.

Founding members of the EH Alliance signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding to align their collective expertise and resources with the national direction to deliver ongoing patient care rather than episodic treatment, especially for people with long-term chronic conditions like diabetes, stroke, cancer, lung and heart disease. This is a key strategic priority for Singapore healthcare given the ageing population and increasing prevalence of such conditions.

The Eastern Health Alliance aims to progressively deliver an increasing range of integrated healthcare services – from early detection, disease prevention and treatment, through to ongoing care – to provide the right quality care at the right time for each patient. The overall objective is to make each patient‟s healthcare journey as hassle-free, assuring and convenient as possible, while educating, empowering and supporting them and caregivers to manage their health well, in order to live healthily for as long as possible.

The four founding members of the Eastern Health Alliance are Changi General Hospital, SingHealth Polyclinics, St. Andrew‟s Community Hospital and The Salvation Army Peacehaven Nursing Home. Each brings with them a unique set of skills, expertise and perspectives into this partnership for the better health of people in eastern Singapore.

The EH Alliance is governed by a Board of Directors and chaired by Mr Gerard Ee. “Singapore's population is ageing and chronic diseases are increasing, making patient care more complex and requiring a collective, integrated response,” explained Mr Ee. “The Eastern Health Alliance aims to reshape current models of healthcare to meet these challenges. We have taken a new approach in structuring our health system, with founding members from primary care, acute care and intermediate and long-term care sectors, working very closely together to create and deliver innovative healthcare programmes that plug current gaps in the system. Ultimately, we aim to deliver quality care that is seamless and that empowers patients and caregivers to manage their health well for as long as possible.”

These innovations have been progressively developed and delivered over this past year by EH Alliance members. They include the Health Management Unit (HMU, previously known as the Disease Management Unit) for patients with poorly controlled chronic conditions, the Community Health Centre (CHC) to support GPs in managing chronic diseases, and the Eastern Community Health Outreach (ECHO), a health screening and coaching community programme to detect and prevent chronic diseases.

The EH Alliance is working on extending these existing integrated care programmes (see press release 3), which address the preventive, primary and sub-acute care areas of the PRESS RELEASE 1 (Embargoed till 18 November 2011) healthcare spectrum. The EH Alliance also officially announced new programmes to address current care gaps between patients‟ hospital discharge and return to the community (see press release 2). The aim is to reduce the physical and social burden of long-term conditions for patients, families and caregivers, while helping to make the healthcare system more effective.

Strategic priority: Innovation in healthcare delivery
Innovation is a key strategic priority for the EH Alliance in its efforts to orchestrate healthcare integration for eastern Singapore.

Mr T. K. Udairam, who is jointly the CEO for EH Alliance and Changi General Hospital said: “To meet these healthcare challenges, we must innovate in healthcare delivery. This requires a planning and operationalisation framework that allows for constant iteration, piloting, delivery and refinement of each project, while taking into account national strategic directives and initiatives, as well as feedback from stakeholders and the community.

For example, in tackling chronic diseases, we thought out-of-the-box for a chronic disease management programme like the Health Management Unit. We seek to formalise this innovation framework and tools for the Eastern Health Alliance so that these healthcare delivery innovations become part of our corporate development 'DNA'.”

The Changi Health Fund
To provide funding support for the development efforts of the EH Alliance, the EH Alliance announced the launch of the Changi Health Fund, which aims to support both new healthcare services for the EH Alliance as well as research and development for integrated care projects, in addition to helping power philanthropic efforts for the EH Alliance. It will be chaired by Mr Gerard Ee and have a separate, independent Board overseeing fundraising efforts.

Mr Udairam was cautious but optimistic about the EH Alliance. “We can't expect healthcare delivery to transform overnight, but we have made inroads with the programmes we created. This is a 'journey of a thousand miles' that we have taken the first very important steps upon. My fellow CEOs and I are committed to develop and deliver programmes and initiatives that can help improve patients' healthcare journey and the experience for them and their caregivers.

This must be our key focus – making good on delivering seamless quality care in partnership with not just my fellow CEOs from the other EH Alliance member organisations, but any potential partners who may seek to join us in future. We look forward to growing this alliance to bring about a unique and vibrant healthcare model for the future of Singapore.”

About the Eastern Health Alliance
The Eastern Health Alliance is the regional health system for eastern Singapore. It is a partnership of health service providers dedicated to delivering, through their combined expertise, the right quality care at the right time for each patient. The Eastern Health Alliance coordinates an integrated range of healthcare services, from disease prevention, treatment, through to ongoing care. For more information, please visit www.easternhealth.sg.

Media contacts

Ms Estelle Low
Changi General Hospital
Tel : 6850 2733, Hp : 9297 3584

Ms Ai Ling Sim-Devadas
Changi General Hospital
Tel : 6850 2730, Hp : 8121 1420