Friday, 30 March 2012

Holistic care focus helps Singapore face health care challenges

By Sara Grosse, Channel NewsAsia, 28 Mar 2012

Focusing on holistic care instead of episodic care will help Singapore face heath care challenges like managing the rise of chronic diseases, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said at the "Healthcare in Asia" conference on Wednesday.

He said an outcomes-oriented framework has enabled Singapore to develop a health care system that meets the needs of its population.

Mr Gan said the framework involves integrating care for patients to move seamlessly across health care providers.

"In the past, we focused our financing framework to address the needs of inpatients. This was the right approach for that time - our population was young, and the main financial impact was from hospitalisation," Mr Gan said.

"However, an ageing population requires more frequent care and this care should where possible be delivered in the community instead of acute hospitals."

Singapore's health care infrastructure also includes a financing framework that benefits those in the long-term care sector, as well as evidence-based interventions, such as insurance scheme Medisave for chronic disease management.

"While individual outpatient bills may be smaller compared to hospital bills, their cumulative impact can be substantial," Mr Gan added.

"We have therefore enhanced our financing system such as increasing subsidies for long term care, increased assistance for drug costs for the lower and middle income and enhancing portable subsidies for primary care."

To ensure that health care remains affordable, the government must be judicious in deciding what to subsidise, Mr Gan added.

He said not all new services will be subsidised.

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