Singapore’s largest public healthcare cluster Singapore Health Services (SingHealth) and the country’s deep tech investor Singapore Innovate (SGInnovate) announced Tuesday a three-year partnership to build and scale up health science innovations today, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare as the first area of focus.

The partnership seeks to advance the development and adoption of AI as well as other emerging technologies to improve diagnostics and treatment, and enhance healthcare delivery and clinical outcomes for Singapore and beyond, said both parties in a joint statement.

According to the statement, the partnership looks to tap into each organisation’s strengths – SingHealth’s extensive clinical and research capabilities and pool of clinicians and healthcare innovators, together with SGInnovate’s deep tech expertise and diverse community of corporates, startups and innovators – to maximise the potential of health science innovation.

The partnership will focus on three main areas: advancing AI thought leadership in healthcare and innovation communities, supporting the growth of startups and their innovations in the fields of health and biomedical sciences, as well as building the health innovation talent pool in Singapore and beyond.

“The adoption of healthcare technologies and innovations, such as AI, is critical for the future of medicine to optimise precious resources and ensure a more robust healthcare system to respond to evolving patient needs. With the breadth and depth of SingHealth’s clinical capabilities and patient data, we aim to synergise with SGInnovate’s access to deep tech communities and resources to develop innovative solutions that improve care delivery and clinical outcomes,” said Ivy Ng, Chief Executive Officer of SingHealth.

She opined that new partnership will be strategic in equipping SingHealth healthcare innovators to advance AI in health and catalyse the process of translating novel ideas from bench to bedside.

“We’ve only glimpsed the full potential of the healthcare and biomedical breakthroughs emerging from research institutions and universities, and much more still needs to be done to translate this research into impactful solutions,” said Lim Jui, Chief Executive Officer of SGInnovate.

He opined that working with SingHealth to create partnership and innovation opportunities for biomedical startups is part of SGInnovate’s mission to grow Singapore’s deep tech economy and advances its Smart Nation ambition while reinforcing its position as a global centre of excellence for health innovation.

To foster AI thought leadership and sharpen the healthcare innovation acumen of AI and health talent, SingHealth and SGInnovate will also build a Community of Practice that regularly brings together SingHealth’s clinicians and innovators, as well as SGInnovate’s public and private sector partners in the health science and innovation communities.

This includes quarterly AI and Digital Innovation Journal Clubs to generate awareness on the AI and digital innovation domains, as well as an annual AI in Health workshop to educate industry partners, healthcare professionals and even the public on regulations, research findings and the adoption of various AI systems in healthcare.

In the long run, such activities will also help shape mindsets towards the use of AI in health and nurture a rich culture of innovation in Singapore, said both parties.

To support startups and their innovations in the health and biomedical sciences fields, activities that facilitate Open Innovation, in the form of education and engagement initiatives such as panels, roundtables and reverse pitches, will also be jointly promoted by SingHealth and SGInnovate to both organisations’ networks and communities.

In particular, the reverse pitches will offer a platform for clinicians and healthcare leaders to present disease and clinical workflow innovation needs observed from their experience and interactions with patients to startups from a diverse range of technology areas. These start-ups, which potentially have the appropriate innovative ideas and expertise to address the gaps, can then work with the healthcare community to bring promising innovations to life.

SGInnovate will also work closely with SingHealth to identify technically and clinically robust AI health initiatives and bridge them to strategic collaborators in the industry. This will support SingHealth’s AI developer teams through business development plans, go-to-market strategies and commercial networking, as well as aid startups in growing in the health innovation field, fostering exciting and meaningful partnerships to address gaps in care delivery.

As the two organisations develop ideas in health innovation and accelerate the translation of research, they will also simultaneously nurture a pipeline of talent to support the rapid pace of growth and innovation in the healthcare and biomedical sectors.

SGInnovate will also work with SingHealth, and various stakeholders within the biomedical ecosystem, such as venture capitalists and multinational companies, to develop on-the-job training opportunities for talent with a background in biomedical sciences as well as those with relevant deep tech skills. This will strengthen the deep tech ecosystem by building a sustainable pool of talent equipped with the right skillsets to help Singapore-based MedTech startups develop new solutions to tackle pressing healthcare challenges and scale globally.

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