The inaugural TeSA Health Tech Day was organised by IMDA in partnership with IHiS.
By Janice Lin
Visitors at the TeSA Health Tech Day trying out an automated medicine-dispensing machine.
Jobseekers, here is a hot tip: The next space to be in might be the health tech sector.
According to the Ministry of Health’s Chief Information Officer, Mr Bruce Liang, investments in this sector grew by 7 per cent over the last three years. "The growth is expected to double and grow by some 13 per cent in the next three years. The trajectory growth would translate to a demand of approximately 1,200 more health IT jobs".
To help more IT professionals find jobs in this burgeoning industry, the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) organised the first-ever TeSA Health Tech Day on 16 March 2018, in partnership with the Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS).
Held at SMU Labs, the event brought together more than 40 healthcare organisations, companies and training partners to showcase their technological innovations and speak to visitors about job opportunities available in the sector, which include software engineering and health data analysis.
Over 500 job opportunities were available to working professionals and students in both ICT and non-ICT sectors.
Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat told attendees that health tech professionals are highly mobile, with skills that can be applied in many industries.
Industry experts from these companies were also there to speak about the health tech landscape and the opportunities it offers to workers, while company visits to participating organisations and hospitals were also available for those who wanted to see technology in healthcare in action.
Addressing professionals and students at the event, Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health, said Singapore’s ageing population would soon put a strain on human resources, and added that technology could help take away some of the pressure.
“Technology is a key enabler in tackling this challenge, making our healthcare system more productive, and also (preparing us) to be future ready,” he said.
Debunking the misconception that one needs to have medical knowledge in order to work in the sector, he said: “Tech workers today are highly mobile, (and their) skills can be applied in many industries. Many of our health tech professionals come from other sectors.”
Mr Chee added that all that was needed was their passion and interest in joining the industry, and that initiatives like IMDA’s TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) would “help you to have the skills to join us, so that we can come together (and) pool together our resources to create the kind of solutions that we need to solve our healthcare challenges”.
A duplicate Robotic Bottle Dispensing Unit (BDU), built by Singapore Polytechnic students to mimic the original one used by KK Hospital.
One such move by TeSA to equip more professionals and grow ICT talent for the industry is the establishment of a new partnership with pharmaceutical giant MSD, under which the company would equip more than 90 ICT professionals with skills in cybersecurity, data analytics, cloud computing and software development over the next three years.
This effort, made possible by TeSA’s Company-Led Training programme, offers trainees on-the-job training and local or overseas attachments, through which they will pick up practical skills by working on selected projects, and receive mentorship by industry practitioners.
Mr Chan Chee Tuck, MSD’s director of digital products and solutions, said: “For us, being a traditional pharmaceutical company is no longer a suitable path. We have to innovate, because the whole (healthcare) ecosystem is changing. It’s no longer just about making medicines, it’s about how technology can assist in the delivery of healthcare services.”
For mid-career professionals looking to make a transition into the healthcare sector, IHiS will – over the next two years – tap on Workforce Singapore’s Professional Conversion Programmes to place and train 50 professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs). Job roles that are available include network engineers, mobile application developers and software developers.
Meanwhile, students who are keen on joining the health tech sector can look forward to a new major programme that Singapore Management University will launch later this year. The second major in Health Economics and Management will impart to students the knowledge and skills in the areas of healthcare administration, policy, economics, management, operations and analytics.
The only way forward: Technology
Over 40 healthcare organisations, companies and training partners showcased their technological innovations and shared about the available job opportunities in the sector.
Professionals who visited the TeSA Health Tech Day voiced their interest in the technology showcased and job opportunities available.
Mr Matthew Han, 38, is a mid-career professional looking to make a switch from the aviation industry to the health tech sector. “I’m keen on seeing the application of data analytics in improving operational efficiency and the delivery of healthcare services.”
Meanwhile, Ms Hannah Li, 32, was at the event to view the innovations on display. The product manager for the medical services sector believes "digital is the only way forward for the industry”.
“Traditionally, if you've got one patient and one doctor, the outcome for that patient depends on what that doctor can do then and there,” she said. “With digital technology, a doctor can benefit from the knowledge of many doctors, and be able to understand the condition faster, get expert opinions faster, as well as give a better diagnosis and treatment plan. And on the other side, a patient can also benefit from enhanced care.”
Professionals like Mr Han and Ms Li will play important roles in helping the healthcare sector find solutions to tackle its challenges.
Mr Chee said: “If we can innovate (and find) new solutions … not only can we provide better care for our people, we (can) also create economic opportunities for our companies to export solutions to other cities around the world (that) are also experiencing similar demographic shifts.”