Nanyang Polytechnic – Starhub Centre for Connected Care

I tweeted about the official launch + MOU signing of the Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) – Starhub Centre for Connected Care but thought I will also do a detailed blog post here.


First things first, for the interested, the news coverage of the centre is available at Straits Times and I’ll be paraphrasing some of it’s contents (why reinvent the wheel) while sharing some of the ‘history’ and context of this centre.

My role with the NYP-Starhub Centre for Connected Care started back in June 2012 where I started serving as the Solution Architect for the NYP-HIMSS Centre of Excellence (Health IT), which was officially launched backed on 27 November 2013.

It is important to note at this point that my involvement is pro-bono, as part of the BinaryHealthCare Collaborative Outreach Programme (BCOP) so if you are an interested Institution of Higher Learning, drop us an email.

The NYP-HIMSS Centre of Excellence (Health IT) focused more on the acute-care settings (mainly ICU and in-patient wards), covering healthcare IT solutions such as electronic medical record systems, wireless vital signs monitoring and close loop medication management system that are used in many hospitals in Singapore (remember, this was 2012-2013) while the NYP-Starhub Centre for Connected Care focuses on the seniors (elder care) and those living with dementia.


In other words, this centre focuses on the ageing population and long-term care sector, adopting smart technologies to enable the “Smart Home” concept, including innovations such as mobile beds, elder-friendly cupboards as well as open-concept designs etc.

Now here is the million dollar question: why am I dedicating an entire blog post on this centre? The answer is workflow. “How fantastic is the workflow optimisation? Well, if you visit the centre (which I highly encourage), you will noticed that almost all the “high tech” stuff are blended in (to the extend of being invisible – like electricity!), that’s how awesome the implementation has been,

Workflow is not a synonym for Processes – non Health Informaticians usually confuses these two concepts as synonyms, if you are scratching your head right now, I suggest you read this whitepaper on workflow or attend our signature course – Mini-HI : Mini Health Informatician


So what my role with the NYP-Starhub Centre for Connected Care? As mentioned earlier, my journey with this centre started back in June 2012 because I also serve it’s Solution Architect (agin, pro-bono, as part of BCOP) as both centres serves to cover different segments across the Continuum Care!

The story of NYP-Starhub Centre for Connected Care have just started so stay tune for more exciting developments 🙂


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Happy Lunar New Year 2018

BinaryHealthCare (BNHC) wishes everyone a Fantastic Lunar New Year !



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Ah yes.. it’s February!

But where did January go ??😧??

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It’s the time of the year!

BinaryHealthCare (BNHC) wishes everyone a joyous holiday season and may all of us enjoy a fantastic 2018!seasons-greetings

Till 2018!

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Just because you DON’T understand it doesn’t mean it’s “too academic”

Someone commented that I am “too academic” in my work approach and “lack” industry perspective.

My reaction was one of more surprised than annoyed because I’ve been told on most occasions that my approach was too pragmatic (taking situations contextually and using the most cost-effective way to fix the underlying causation) resulting in lack of “fudge” to publish anything “sexy” – this was the case even when I was working in a hospital, way before I venture into adjunct teaching and research.

As a practising consultant, feedback is very important to me but I have learned over the years, the importance of identifying genuine feedback versus people talking bad about me because they feel intimated by my work.

Taking a hard look at the context reveals that the person has no real experience working IN health(care), be it in hospitals (or any healthcare facility), HealthTech or MedTech companies, or even in a consulting firm offering services in a related area. This person also have no academic or professional qualification in health(care), technology, health informatics or anything remotely related.

Instead, this person work “loosely” WITH us health(care) professionals (imagine a cashier working in a two star michelin restaurants, just because he works in an associated role doesn’t mean he knows how to run a restaurant nor make great food).

Of course, there is nothing wrong with working “loosely” with us, health(care) professionals can’t do everything by ourselves but what was puzzling was – why would this person feel intimated by my work? I’m a consultant and trainer, he is not (both in ability and reality) doing any of the stuff that I do and I don’t see myself doing anything of the stuff he is making a living on.

Nevertheless, I want to make it clear to the person, a very basic concept;

Just because you don’t understand the complexity and technical aspects of what I do / advocate / teach doesn’t mean I am “too academic”, it merely means you are not a real subject matter expert

(Don’t worry, it’s not your fault and I encourage you to attend the Mini-HI (Mini Health Informatician) so you can start talking sense to us)


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Behavioural Economics in Health(care)

beA “project colleague” mentioned recently (during a brainstorming discussion) that he encountered difficulties in gaining user adoption for a particular trial and was hoping that a tweak in technology (miniaturizing the device) would help solve the issue.

I went into “consulting mode” and posed a few questions, after which I suggested that he might want to adopt a few basic principles of  behavioural economics as part of the solution.

His first (and to be honest, very typical) reaction was “Is that even a real thing? I’ve never heard of it before”. Because this is such a common response, I kicked into “auto mode’ and suggested that he “google it” and take some time to read up on that subject.

The gentleman came back 15 minutes time thanking me for the suggestion and exclaiming wonders on the subject – because Prof. Richard Thaler recently won Nobel for his work in Behavioural Economics.

Prior to Prof. Richard Thaler winning the Nobel price, this positive reaction was not common at all. I’ve been teaching the basics of Behavioural Economics for quite some time (it is also part of Mini-HI‘s curriculum) and I distinctively remembered my first attempt to deliver the topic in a public lecture (hoping to raise awareness to stakeholders on why their Digital Health projects keep failing and why blaming it on end-users and/or technical folks isn’t the solution).

That particular conference was the mHealth Forum, part of the HIMSS Digital Healthcare Week, Singapore, held back in October 2013. The topic of my presentation? “Behavioral Economics in Consumer Health Informatics – Unleashing Patient Centric Workflow“.

While I did managed to deliver the lecture, getting it through “peer review” was nearly impossible – because the folks reviewing the topics are not real Health Informaticians. To these IT and business folks, I was trying to talk about something irrelevant and the speaking slot was better off given to someone blabbing on the latest buzzwords like Cloud etc. (I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Sarah Grant, the Education Manager at HIMSS Asia Pacific at that time for helping me push the presentation though).

So in a way I am really glad that Prof. Richard Thaler won the Nobel for his work in Behavioural Economics because it has become so easy to convince people to look into this subject.

Now the only “regret” I have in this context is not pushing through on my awareness efforts on cyber security threats in health(care). I published and talk about the subject back in 2004 (I actually have a IT Security qualification) but was repeatedly told by everyone that they are not interested. Ah well, I can’t help them all.

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Context-Driven Innovation

InnovationInnovation has been a recurring topic of late (for me) and the subject came up again earlier today during a casual conversation.

While it is actually quite normal for me to touch on Innovation (I examine Innovation as a topic frequently in public conferences, private training sessions as well as teaching the basics as part of Mini-HI (Mini Health Informatician) what made the conversation special was that I was sharing the core principles on non health(care) related subjects (to be precise, I was applying it to Organisational Improvement and Product Development) and the people I was having the conversation with were very surprised at how the underlying principles are applicable to virtually any disciplines.

The reason(s) being? I was sharing on Context-Driven Innovation and as the name implies, is not only pragmatic but sustainable because it is innovation applied to the underlying needs (hence the contextual part).

To be clear, I didn’t invent the term “Context-Driven Innovation” (because it ready existed when I coined the term), what happened was (due to the nature of my work) I derived a set of “Innovation ideology” over time (through research and relentless practical iterations) and realised that the core principles derived are contextually relevant to the subject applied (hence deciding to call it Context-Driven Innovation).

I did made a determined push on this topic (in this region) back on 3rd August 2016 when I authored the theme (and general scope) for a local Health Innovation related contest / challenge that was aspiring to go regional, although I parted ways with the organising partners, they continued to use my theme of Context-Driven Innovation and some of my contents. To quote a portion of what I wrote back then;

XYZ Challenge 2017 brings together people and organizations across the entire ecosystem to develop new ideas for innovation that will improve the delivery of health and care services for the people (wellness) and patients (healthcare) across the entire continuum of care.

Jointly organized with the A and B the XYZ Challenge 2017 serves as a platform to germinate and empower professionals from the various disciplines to collaborate and leverage each other’s expertise & experience (e.g. Pairing clinicians with techies sharing similar innovation interest) to develop quality solutions that are context-driven as to ensure sustainable adoption, benefiting both the health(care) providers and consumer/patients.

As one can observe, the above paragraphs provides a guideline of sort on some parts of the prescribed Context-Driven Innovation but the context portion is missing. To properly explain the contextual portion, we need to first examine what Innovation is.

A popular definition obtainable off the Internet is the Merriam-Webster dictionary version where Innovation is defined as “a new idea, device, or method; the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices or methods“.

I respectfully disagree.

To truly illustrate the underlying reasons of my disagreement would take time, hence, it will be another topic for another day. What I will try to do here is briefly (and holistically) illustrate why, by giving an example using IoT – which is at the time of writing this article, touted as a great driver of innovation.

To ensure semantic understanding, the definition of IoT (according to Wikipedia) is;

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

Did you know that first IoT device was a Coke machine at Carnegie Melon University in the early 1980s? Let us re-examine Merriam-Webster’s definition where Innovation is defined as “a new idea, device, or method; the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices or methods“.

Simplistically put, IoT is not new but it is indeed a driving force for innovation.

At this point, I would like to introduce my definition of Innovation;

“Innovation is the use of tools (analogue and/or digital) to extend one’s reach (capabilities) or to bridge a gap as to meet an underlying need”.
Dr. Adam CHEE, 2017

So where does the contextual portion comes in? To explain this part, I would invite you to read an older article of mine – Use Case vs. Process vs. Workflow – Which is the secret ingredient?, it briefly illustrates the concept of workflow (which is related but not the same as user-cases or processes).

With the understanding of what workflow truly is, I would like to finish this article by introducing my definition of Context-Driven Innovation;

Context-Driven Innovation is the optimisation of Workflow and (could include) the utilisation of tools (analogue and/or digital) to extend one’s reach (capabilities) or to bridge a gap as to meet an underlying need”.
Dr. Adam CHEE, 2007

Till next time.

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