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Family Doctors as Key to a Healthier Singapore

Rizal
December 18, 2023

Family doctors or General Practitioners (GP) serve as the initial point of contact for individuals seeking healthcare assistance, catering to various health concerns from common illnesses like coughs and colds to the management of chronic diseases. They specialize in Family Medicine, undergoing specific training recognized by the Ministry of Health (MOH), and are listed in the Family Physician Register. These doctors also offer comprehensive care for a wide range of illnesses in primary healthcare settings, facilitating coordination with specialist care if necessary, and ensuring a seamless transition between hospital and community care.

Why We Need Family Doctors to Monitor Our Health

Personalised Care

The personalised care offered by family doctors takes into account not just the physical but also the emotional and social aspects of an individual’s health. They consider a patient’s habits, preferences, and concerns to take care of all parts of your health accurately.

Early Prevention of Disease

Monitoring health through regular check-ups and screenings enables family doctors to identify health issues at their earliest stages. Early detection often translates to more effective treatment options and better outcomes. By preventing diseases or catching them early, family doctors can reduce healthcare costs while improving overall quality of life.

Continuity and Coordination of Care

Having a consistent healthcare provider like a family doctor ensures continuity and coordination of care. They oversee a patient’s health journey, making referrals to specialists when necessary and ensuring that all aspects of treatment align. This coordination minimizes gaps in care and maximizes the effectiveness of treatments.

Family Doctor and MOH Programs

Residents are encouraged to choose a general practitioner (GP) or polyclinic doctor as their primary healthcare provider, but as part of Singapore’s healthcare reform plan, Healthier SG, they have been invited to enrol with a family doctor since in the mid of 2023. The goal is to establish a meaningful doctor-patient relationship, particularly focusing on preventive care. 

Singapore citizen enroled based on their residential location, although they have the flexibility to choose doctors beyond their location, for example, people who continue to visit doctors from their childhood. Changes in enrolment are permitted for accommodating situations like moving to a new house.

Enroled residents will have scheduled visits with their chosen family doctor under Healthier SG, guiding them through their healthcare journey. This initiation navigates personalized preventive care plans that also consider social factors like income, education, social networks, and living conditions. 

Additionally, MOH introduced a new Healthier SG Chronic under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) to assist with the costs of medications used for managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and hypertension. This subsidy will apply in early of 2024 that aims to make these medicines more affordable at participating clinics, comparable to prices at polyclinics.

Vanda Integration With MOH Programs

Vanda has been integrated with the SmartCMS Programme, ensuring compatibility with public healthcare systems such as CHAS, NEHR, and can help clinics become Healthier SG compliant. This integration supports seamless data flow between clinics and public healthcare systems, enhancing overall healthcare efficiency.

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