Singapore has taken an impressive stride towards a Healthier Singapore (SG) with the launch of the Primary Care Research Institute (PCRI) by SingHealth Polyclinics (SHP).
The innovative research platform aims to enhance the quality of primary care while advancing patients’ health outcomes.
A Collaborative Initiative
During the launch, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked between SingHealth Polyclinics, AstraZeneca, and GP+ Co-operative. This trio of healthcare leaders will co-create preventive health tools and explore groundbreaking care models for primary care settings.
Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health & Ministry of Communications and Information, commemorated the launch ceremony.
The Role of PCRI
As the academic wing of SHP, PCRI brings together a diverse team of healthcare professionals—doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and allied health specialists—to work collaboratively. Furthermore, they share a mission to uplift patient health literacy and encourage self-efficacy in health management.
PCRI actively involves the public and patients, incorporating their insights into the research process. This participative approach ensures that the research outcomes directly benefit those who need them the most.
Tools and Training for Professionals
The key focus of PCRI aligns seamlessly with the Healthier SG strategy. PCRI will support healthcare professionals by providing them with the latest skills and tools in both medical and non-medical areas, such as health economics and implementation sciences.
Real-world Impact through Research
Firstly, PCRI plans to carry out research to help clinicians understand patient behaviors and needs better. This research will enhance the skills of primary care professionals in areas like research methodology, implementation science, and health economics, enabling them to offer evidence-based, cost-effective care.
Exemplary Research: The Case of Blood Pressure Monitoring
One trailblazing project under PCRI focuses on new methods for ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM). This will provide a more objective and continuous blood pressure assessment. Therefore, it will aid patients in adhering to their medications and adopting healthier lifestyles.
Building Industry Partnerships
By serving as a facilitator for public-private partnerships, PCRI sets up a collaborative ecosystem. The MoU with GP+ Co-operative and AstraZeneca aims to create an environment of knowledge exchange. It also aims to identify care models. Primary Care Networks can localise and implement these models.
Voices from the Industry
“In the pursuit of a Healthier Singapore, we’re thrilled to collaborate with our community and private sector partners,” said Dr David Ng, CEO of SingHealth Polyclinics.
Clinical Associate Professor (Dr) Tan Ngiap Chuan, Director of Research, SHP, remarked, “PCRI is a research institute for the people, by the people, focusing on real-life needs with palpable impact.”
“Through this partnership, we will continue to unlock innovation with our partners and to transform the delivery of care across chronic diseases including asthma and cancer,” said Kim Suyeon, Country President, AstraZeneca Singapore.
“This launch signifies the establishment of our Network of Primary Care doctors dedicated to conducting research that covers all aspects of Primary Care,” said Dr Lee Yik Voon, Chairman GP+ Co-operative Limited.
Speech by Minister Of State
Additionally, Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health stated that “The PCRI will cover three main themes. These three themes are very much aligned with our vision for the primary care sector. First, to explore new models of primary care services, and do this through conducting primary healthcare research relevant to our context here in Singapore. This is quite important given our unique healthcare ecosystem consisting of polyclinics and private clinics; the pertinent healthcare challenges that we face, including the issue that we talked about at some length – our ageing population.”
The Future is Here
In conclusion, the launch of PCRI represents a significant milestone in Singapore’s healthcare journey. PCRI is set to change healthcare in Singapore and possibly across Asia. It will unlock new patient care methods, foster collaboration, and focus on research.