It’s 9,500 miles from Singapore to St. Louis but, in some ways, it’s not all that far.
Approximately a dozen senior leaders from the National Healthcare Group (NHG) in Singapore traveled to SSM DePaul Health Center on Friday, Sept. 13.
Who is NHG?
NHG is a group of health-care institutions that include a public hospital, three specialist centers and eight polyclinic (a clinic where outpatient care, health screenings and pharmacy services are offered). NHG also operates Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the Institute for Mental Health.
Though NHG has had an electronic health record for years, they came to DePaul to gain a better understanding of electronic health record products like the Epic system SSM uses and compare it to their current system. SSM, who is a national leader in the use of the electronic health record, was considered a good place to make those comparisons.
Professor Philip Choo, Deputy Group CEO of NHG, and CEO of Tan Tock Seng Hospital, opened the meeting at DePaul with a message that could have come from any U.S. health-care executive: “How do we maximize the health of the most people?” he said. He followed with words like “accessible,” “seamless,” “appropriate” and “cost-effective.”
Facing the Same Challenges
NHG faces many of the same challenges that U.S. health-care systems face, including how to more effectively manage the health of aging populations with chronic diseases. That challenge requires shifting from a hospital-centric model of only treating illnesses after they occur to a team-based community emphasis on preventing illness. “We must function as one organization,” said Professor Choo.
The SSM Presenters
The presenting SSM team was comprised of Mike Paasch, Vice President, Regional Chief Information Officer, SSM Health Care St. Louis; Aaron Schiltz, Regional IS Director, Ambulatory and Clinical Applications; Lynn Lenker, Corporate Vice President, Chief Nursing Information Officer; and Dr. Richard Vaughn, Corporate Vice President-Chief Medical Information Officer.
The SSM team explained how SSM set up and implemented its electronic health record, including the fact that it was selected and designed for and by SSM physicians and clinicians. The day concluded with tours of DePaul and a better understanding of what the health-care systems in Singapore and St. Louis have in common: “Even half-way around the world, people share the same need and commitment to make care better,” said Paasch.