The future of our AMC with Digital Health, MedTech, Artificial Intelligence and Clinical Discovery
The Crisis Preparedness of Research – What, and how should we invest in research for us to be future ready?
Health Professions Education – What is the future of education with no borders?
Medical Humanities – Reflections of COVID-19 (What are the personal stories, ethics and clinical dilemmas of COVID-19?)
More than Disease Management - Appreciation of a One Health approach for optimal health outcome, post-COVID-19
Associate Professor Chow Wan ChengGroup Director, Academic Medicine, SingHealthSenior Associate Dean, Academic Medicine, Duke-NUS Medical SchoolAssociate Professor Nigel TanNeuroscience Academic Clinical ProgrammeGroup Director, Education (Undergraduate), SingHealthSenior Consultant, Department of Neurology, National Neuroscience Institute
Associate Professor Ong Thun HowAcademic Vice Chair, Education, Medicine Academic Clinical Programme
Director of Education, SingHealth Duke-NUS Sleep CentreSenior Consultant, Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine, Singapore General HospitalAssociate Professor Tan Hak KoonAcademic Chair, Obstetrics & Gynaecology Academic Clinical Programme
Designated Institutional Official, SingHealth ResidencyChairman and Senior Consultant, Division of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's HospitalAssociate Professor Yeo Khung KeongAcademic Vice Chair, Training & Education, Research EXCO, Cardiovascular Sciences Academic Clinical Programme
Deputy Group Chief Medical Informatics Officer (Research), SingHealthSenior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, National Heart Centre SingaporeMs Sabrina KohCampus Director, Sengkang HealthSingHealth Duke-NUS Institute of Medical SimulationDeputy Chair, College of Clinical Nursing, SingHealth AcademyDeputy Director, Nursing, Sengkang HealthProfessor Fernando BelloAssociate Dean, Technology Enhanced Learning and Innovation, Office of Education, Duke-NUS Medical School
Educators from the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre (AMC) discussed optimising education delivery amidst the onset of COVID-19, working creatively around social distancing measures with digital professionalism and framework agility.
The third session of
In Conversation addressed the future landscape of borderless education for medical and healthcare professionals.While lectures and exams were being cancelled globally, educators at SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC were pivoting to support health professions education.Associate Professor Ong Thun How described the details of running virtual exams successfully despite heavy logistical challenges. "Conducting a high-stakes OSCE in a COVID-19 environment" was detailed in a paper that garnered 13,000 views when published.Assoc Prof Ong's example was one of many. The acceleration of virtual education and telemedicine was a demonstration of agility, an alignment of teaching and training towards united efforts in digital literacy, alongside identification of "true essentials" in healthcare thrusted with a pandemic.
Sustaining healthcare education with innovation
As manpower issues persisted, many nurses were receiving training in actual COVID-19 sites. Seeking a balance between risk-taking and student safety, Ms Sabrina Koh underscored the importance of moving fast with teaching ideas and resource development "because we never know that it may be the next best thing to help us through a crisis".Driven under this context, Ms Koh had begun co-developing an augmented reality (AR) training tool for automated external defibrillator (AED) application with NUS Mechanical Engineering students.Professor Fernando Bello echoed Ms Koh's direction and stressed for a research movement to transpose training of procedural skills to simulation-based learning.
He proposed that collaborations between engineers, clinicians, and educators can hasten tools research and development, while accurately addressing present gaps in the education of healthcare professionals.
Moving beyond lessons delivery, Prof Bello raised that Academic Medicine's future should focus on improving education engagement and interactivity. To accomplish these, he highlighted the necessity for achieving digital literacy and a coordinated integration of technology usage across the AMC.
Entering a "VUCA" world
Session co-facilitator Associate Professor Chow Wan Cheng introduced the concept of "VUCA" (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) running parallel to timely technology use.Associate Professor Nigel Tan followed to explain that VUCA environment was here to stay and will be a major element in healthcare academic development.
He detailed that learning adaptive responses from failure will be the new normal, alongside the need for explicit frameworks to cope with change. Such experiential learning and guided reflections will provide support for a robust future in VUCA situations.Sharing further on coping in a crisis, Associate Professor Tan Hak Koon described that the pandemic had touched every aspect of the residency system: Residents, administrators, and faculty, but that "people are coming back to this as a learning experience".Administrators had learnt to conduct teachings differently and residents had stepped up to the experiential learning opportunity, volunteering to join the healthcare frontlines as COVID-19 unfolded.
"If there was one thing that have come up with COVID-19, it would be that it had shown us how adaptable and resilient we can be as a person and as a system," Assoc Prof Tan said.
Staying the course
Even with AMC moving rapidly to develop a wider strategy for technology-enhanced learning, health professions educators were acutely aware that virtual education cannot make up for physical aspects of medicine.
The pandemic onset had driven many to re-examine how healthcare was being taught and learnt. In response, Associate Professor Yeo Khung Keong emphasised the importance of having a good mentor to help one "not lose sight of the core principles that guide [our] work".
He reminded how it was ever more vital to have someone to check in with for clear feedback, to embody a "can-do" mentality to model after, and to impart the readiness to explore.
No matter the times, serving and connecting with patients are constant as the enduring core of the healthcare system, and Assoc Prof Ong believed that the message was clear.
"By carrying on with teachings and examinations, it sent a signal to students that despite everything, your job was to come and learn and your job is to (care for) patients," she said. "I thought that was quite powerful.""To build trust, we need to be able to connect meaningfully no matter which medium we use," Assoc Prof Tan said in closing. "It really starts with empathetic listening. That should be our foundation of digital professionalism, to connect with the patient at the end of the line."