Today, it is common for patients to come in with not just one, but a whole suite of medical conditions. For example, a heart disease patient can also have hypertension, diabetes and other related issues. This means the patient could end up with 10 varying sets of advice and prescriptions from different specialists and sub-specialists, each being an expert in their field.
Instead of solving the patient's problem, too many different perspectives can end up like clashing notes in a music score. The patient is left wondering, "Should I take all of the medicines? What should I focus on first? How is my heart related to my kidneys?" In our haste to present all of what we know in each specialty and sub-specialty, we forget that healing a person is much more than treating their organs. Patients need to understand what exactly is happening to their body as a whole and how one problem leads to the next.
HEART OF THE MATTER
This is why we are harmonising our efforts at Sengkang General Hospital. Patients will now be seen by one primary physician who can consolidate opinions given by multiple specialists to paint a full picture of their health and single out priorities. Simply said, we treat a patient as a whole person rather than using a single solution approach. The assigned primary physician may be the specialist that the patient has the most rapport with, or whose speciality relates most closely with the patient's priority condition.
HOLISTIC CARE FOR BETTER HEALTH
The primary physician interprets jargon, integrates advice from all other tending specialists and makes the patient's condition a whole lot more comprehensible. This also allows the doctor to spend more time understanding the patient's health, lifestyle habits and support systems at home.
Having these discussions is important because there is no one-size-fits-all solution for each person. We have all kinds of advanced treatments but is the potential outcome meaningful to you? Do all these options cause more doubt or comfort? As primary physicians, it is our duty to help you make informed decisions for a healthier, happier life. We are heartened that our model of care has attracted eminent specialists to practise with us. We bring them onto our team for both their medical expertise and their deep passion for holistic care. It is also worthwhile to mention that because of increased collaboration, our specialists and healthcare workers end up levelling up their knowledge and quality of care.
BEYOND HOSPITAL WALLS
Being holistic also means we don't fly solo. For patients needing rehabilitative care after their stay at the general hospital, we band together with the Sengkang Community Hospital at our integrated campus to provide them with seamless care. Patients will experience a hassle-free transfer to SKCH and undergo rehabilitative therapy at an unhurried pace. To ensure patients are well-supported within the community or even after discharge, we have partnered with over 20 general practitioners – a patient's first line of medical consult – in the vicinity who want to go the extra mile for their patients. When required, their patients can enjoy quicker access to specialty advice or laboratory testing. Patients are in good hands when they go to these partner GPs because they have a full suite of experts in our hospital who can back them up at any time.
Let's not forget, the holistic healthcare ensemble also includes you. We hope to motivate everyone to be more pro-active in keeping well. It is this cycle of collaborative medical care, community support and self-care that will ultimately help us live our best life.
Professor Ong Biauw ChiChairman Medical Board of SKH
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