- Smart Ageing, Heartsmart and Health Abacus are the first in a series of secure smartphone applications (apps) for treatment-specific remote chronic disease management and patient monitoring services
- Launch of first Borderless Clinic platform allows medical professionals to tap technology to enhance patient care and for patients to help themselves with basic care
Singapore, 7 April 2014 – People in Singapore will be the first in the world to use new and innovative healthcare application (apps) on their smartphones from this month. The apps, which are unveiled on World Health Day today, will enable doctors to extend delivery of healthcare to patients beyond the confines of their physical clinics. They will also enable patients to reach their doctors without having to go to the clinics for basic medical queries, dramatically transforming the role of technology in the delivery of healthcare in Singapore.
Delivered on a mobile app engine called “Borderless Clinic”, the apps, Smart Ageing, Heartsmart and Health Abacus are the brainchild of homegrown company – BH Mobile Pte Ltd – a subsidiary of Borderless Healthcare Group (BHG), a global healthcare technology, media and telecommunication (TMT) industry leader.
This mobile clinic app engine is secure, certified HIPAA-compliant and seamlessly integrated to medical devices and telemedicine platform approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration of the US). (Note: HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) acts as a safeguard for the privacy and security of individuals’ health information, in line with US’ healthcare informatics security standards.)
The Borderless Healthcare Group (BHG) was founded by Singaporean doctor, Dr Wei Siang Yu, widely known for his innovative out-of-the-box ideas, especially in the use of advanced technology to provide sustainable heatlhcare solutions – especially in Asia which is experiencing rapidly ageing populations.
Developed at a cost of US$10 million, the system will equip doctors to deliver first-level seamless healthcare management to their patients via remote/mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc.
The Smart Ageing and Heartsmart apps are available for download from today (April 7, 2014) while Health Abacus will be available by April 15, 2014. The apps, which can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store or Google Play, are in English and will be made available in other languages later.
Dr Wei Siang Yu, Chairman of BHG, said, ”Given our multilingual, multiracial, multicultural population and our compact size, in addition to the government’s commitment to high technology standards, Singapore is a great place to introduce new technologies. As Singaporeans, our focus is on enabling the country to be the first in the world to reap the benefits of healthcare innovation.
“Launching these apps now is timely as Singapore has a fast-ageing population. It is vital that Singapore taps on new technologies to provide sustainable healthcare solutions. These apps are affordable, user-friendly and readily accessible via mobile devices such as smartphone and tablets. With the apps, which are delivered on a secure platform, you can check your medical queries anywhere with the doctor of your choice.”
Helping Patients Care for Themselves
Subscribers of the mobile clinic apps will be able to use easy-to-understand interoperable or data-sharing FDA-approved devices which can help them monitor basic indicators such as blood pressure and blood glucose levels, as well as use wearables and other accessories that are seamlessly integrated with the smart apps.
More Secured, Efficient, Productive Remote Patient Management Support for Doctors
The healthcare apps will not just be a boon for patients. They serve as great tools for medical professionals to improve their operational efficiencies to deliver patient services and help enhance patients’ drug and therapy adherence. Doctors can easily develop their own customised apps using the Borderless Clinic app engine to best suit specific needs.
These apps will be particularly useful in the management of chronic diseases, post-surgery management, geriatric care and paediatrics, where caregivers and persons needing care may require regular, standby medical attention.
The Borderless Clinic has already won ready supporters from the medical industry in Singapore.
Dr Tan Yong Seng, a cardiothoracic surgeon in Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, Visiting Consultant for Cardiothoracic Surgery in National Heart Centre Singapore and Chairman of the People’s Association Active Ageing Council, has provided content to create two apps named “Heartsmart” and “Health Abacus”. The app will help patients understand cardiac conditions and simple health algorithms respectively.
“Heart disease, stroke and cancer are all preventable diseases. The incidence is increasing with an ageing population, hence, it is important that we empower our people with the right knowledge in disease prevention. With the Heartsmart and Heart Abacus apps, I can have live chats with patients to help them understand more about their condition. Having accurate knowledge can be critical in saving lives of patients with heart conditions,” he said.
Another doctor, Dr Chan Kin Ming, a geriatrician with his own private practice in Gleneagles Medical Centre and Mount Alvernia Medical Centre, said: “Elderly patients have trouble getting about by themselves and are usually cared for by domestic helpers who have little medical training and knowledge. Having this Smart Ageing app will mean that the patient/caregiver can gain access to me wherever, especially for questions on minor ailments requiring only advice and reassurance.
“By using programmes that are user-friendly, we can assist patients to operate monitoring machines, interpret basic medical data, and administer dosage on their own so that they can care for themselves or have their care-givers aid them. Not only will this reduce cost, it will also increase compliance and reduce complications by nipping problems in the bud.”
Following the launch of the Smart Ageing, Heartsmart and Health Abacus apps, Dr Wei expects more medical apps to be launched within the coming year.
More doctors around the world will be launching their mobile clinics. And this phenomenon will soon create multiple thematic healthcare knowledge clouds in a world where consumers can download mobile clinic apps from different globally renowned doctors. The first of such knowledge cloud (beta site) for caregivers is already established at www.borderlessminders.com.
With the proliferation of smartphone healthcare apps, more doctors are expected to migrate to secure communication platforms such as Borderless Clinic, as security of information becomes paramount.
Remarked Philip Fong, a medical-legal practitioner and current Managing Partner of M/s Harry Elias Partnership LLP, a leading law firm in Singapore, “Interacting with patients in a public messaging platform where photographs, chat records and videos are stored in public servers is certainly not a wise thing for doctors to do. Doctors simply fail to see the risk of medical confidential information being leaked into the public domain from such unsecured platforms.”