Singapore’s health data bill mandates regulated information sharing

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To ensure data disclosure and sharing, the Ministry of Health can impose up to $1m in fines for non-compliance.

Singapore has kept a central repository for patient health records since 2011. However, the National Electronic Health Record (NEHR) only has 15% participation by private providers as of October 2023.

To encourage data sharing amongst healthcare providers, the government introduced the Healthcare Information Bill (HIB) that will make health data sharing mandatory.

“The Ministry of Health has identified that healthcare needs would become more complex as the population ages. This will entail more Singaporeans experiencing chronic conditions, having to visit various healthcare institutions and rely on multiple healthcare providers. The MOH expects that Singapore’s healthcare system will become more diverse, as it is continually evolving to meet the different demands of the population,” Lim Ren Jun, principal and co-lead of Healthcare & Life Sciences Industry Group at Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow, told Singapore Business Review.

“The sharing of key health information of patients between healthcare providers would serve to facilitate more seamless and better care delivery,” Lim added.

Zhen Guang Lam, senior associate at Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore, has a similar insight saying: “A central repository for patient health records holds immense potential to revolutionise healthcare delivery, as it not only enhances efficiency and coordination among healthcare professionals, but also empowers patients with greater control over their own health data.”

“The seamless exchange of information across the healthcare ecosystem can lead to more accurate diagnosis, timely interventions, and ultimately, better patient outcomes,” Lam said.

Disclosing health data on the NEHR will eliminate repetitive patient declarations of their medical history to various healthcare professionals, saving time. Similarly, this frees up resources on the healthcare providers’ end as they would not need to require patients to provide such information, said Lim.

“By having access to a common set of the patient’s health data, healthcare professionals will ultimately be able to make better decisions for the benefit of their patients,” Lam added.

Duties and responsibilities

The bill being i...

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