Singapore’s NCID trials use of a real-time location system

The RTLS will enable the tracking of patients, visitors and staff in an outbreak, for rapid and reliable contact tracing so that necessary actions can be taken quickly to curb onward transmission.
By Dean Koh
01:50 AM

Credit: NCID

The National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in Singapore was officially opened last week on September 7 by Minister for Health Mr Gan Kim Yong. NCID houses clinical services, public health functions, outbreak training, public education and community engagement in outbreak readiness under one roof to enable a comprehensive and integrated approach to handling infectious disease threats.

Located at HealthCity Novena, NCID is a 14-storey, 330-bed purpose-built facility set up by the Ministry of Health to enhance infectious disease outbreak management and public health preparedness for the nation.

One of the ways NCID is tapping on healthcare technology to boost its capabilities is a pilot of a Real-Time Location System (RTLS), which is expected to roll out at the end of 2019. The RTLS will enable the tracking of patients, visitors and staff in an outbreak, for rapid and reliable contact tracing so that necessary actions can be taken quickly to curb onward transmission.

The hand hygiene compliance of healthcare workers will also be alerted and monitored as part of the RTLS as it is key to infection control in a healthcare setting. Lastly, the RTLS will facilitate asset tracking, making it easy to locate and recall key equipment like beds and wheelchairs in the event of a surge situation or an outbreak.

THE LARGER TREND

Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), which is located in the vicinity of NCID, is slated to launch a Command, Control and Communications (C3) system to manage resources efficiently, support operational decisions, optimise patient flow and respond effectively to ground situations, it announced in May this year. 

KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), the largest hospital specialising in healthcare for women and children in Singapore, is piloting an IoT-enabled facilities management project with French multinational electric utility company ENGIE and end-to-end Internet of Things (IoT) solutions company UnaBiz, Healthcare IT News reported in June. 

ON THE RECORD

“The new and enhanced outbreak facilities, the continuous strive for excellence in care delivery, the expertise of our staff as well as the integration of clinical and public health functions of NCID to handle an infectious disease outbreak were put to the test in just a few short months since we moved to NCID. 

We will continue to strengthen our readiness to respond to an outbreak through the training of healthcare workers and to harness technologies in keeping the people of Singapore safe from infectious diseases,” said Professor Leo Yee Sin, NCID’s Executive Director in a statement. 

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RFID/RTLS