Singapore's iHiS taps Google Cloud, Accenture to drive healthcare innovation

They are extending API gateway access to allow developers to create new applications and capabilities for the healthcare system.

Integrated Health Information Systems, Singapore's national healthcare technology agency, has collaborated with Google Cloud and Accenture to promote the development of data-driven applications to "deliver more high-quality and digital-first healthcare experiences."

Accenture is helping deploy Apigee, Google Cloud's API management platform, which will provide third-party developers access to data and services across iHiS's managed systems to create new applications and capabilities. 

The resulting flexible API-based architecture from this collaboration will serve as a "connective tissue across data sources and applications," as per iHiS assistant chief executive Alan Goh. 

Google Cloud has also built security features into the Apigee platform to provide iHiS full visibility over the use of its APIs. These include encryption key verification, identity brokering, traffic monitoring, and threat and vulnerability detection. These features also support iHiS's efforts to protect patient data in compliance with Singapore's Personal Data Protection Act and Healthcare Services Act 2020, as well as international electronic data exchange standards such as FHIR, HL7, and DICOM.

WHY IT MATTERS

Through its latest collaboration with Accenture and Google Cloud, iHiS ultimately seeks to drive innovation for improving patient experience, staff productivity, and population health outcomes. 

The agency is taking an "API-first" approach to facilitate data capture across healthcare systems. APIs, it said, enable the quick exchange of information across and within organisations, thereby "reducing the need for duplicated datasets that take up costly enterprise storage space." It is also expected to help eliminate data silos and allow fluid interoperability across Singapore's healthcare ecosystem. 

A secure-by-design API management platform, said Google Cloud Singapore country director Sherie Ng, is becoming "just as essential as a stethoscope or an x-ray." It does not only allow IT and developer teams to focus on upcycling data but also helps organisations "overcome staffing shortages, improve transitions between in-patient and out-patient care, and advance preventative care and precision medicine," she added.

Moreover, it will empower them to come up with solutions that "[give] patients easier access to their health information and [offer] deeper insights to inform population health management programs and public health policies," Goh noted.

"With Apigee, we can scale our API program with internal developers to deliver more high-quality and digital-first healthcare experiences," he added. 

THE LARGER TREND

The deployment of the Apigee platform has led to the development of the Facial Recognition Automated Visitor Management System, which facilitates a "smoother and more efficient" visitor registration process at SingHealth facilities. The system, launched by iHiS and SingHealth, is currently being tested at the SingHealth Tower and Outram Community Hospital over the past five months.

To further improve patient engagement across the Singaporean health ecosystem, iHiS has also deployed The Clinician's ZEDOC platform, which assists in managing patient-generated health data outside the hospital. Integrated with HIS, it supports the timely exchange of health information between providers and patients and renders real-time, actionable insights for improving patients' healthcare experience.

Meanwhile, according to Goh, iHiS is looking to adopt commercial cloud API gateways "to widen our coverage and promote innovation across Singapore’s healthcare ecosystem."

ON THE RECORD

"Our interoperable enterprise blueprint for IHiS, which is based on Apigee, integrates IHiS’ systems, applications, and capabilities under a single strategy – enabling real-time data-driven insights and more agile operations to empower their people and their partners to deliver personalised, efficient, and informed care," explained Ng Wee Wei, Accenture Singapore's Southeast Asia Market Unit Lead and Country Managing Director.