Becoming a Digital Patient: The role of technology in the doctor-patient relationship

Read below the interview with Dr. Ravinder Singh Sachdev, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, and reveal how technology is transforming the doctor-patient relationship in order to enhance patient experience and achieve better outcomes.


Dr. Ravinder Singh Sachdev
Deputy Chief Medical Informatics Officer & Deputy Director- Transitional Care Services
Tan Tock Seng Hospital


As someone responsible for transitional care, what are the factors to ensure that the continuum of care remains at its optimum?

There are several challenges that we try to surmount in order to deliver effective transitional care to our patients:

1. Patient profiling – identifying individuals who would benefit the most from the program
2. Seamless, bidirectional information exchange across the care continuum – the ability to share client information and care plans with community partners is currently still limited
3. Legislation – recognizing that virtual/remote consults can substitute for in-person assessments in selected cases
4. Patient perception – the general public continues to believe that the hospital is the best place to be when recuperating from an illness, despite the fact that numerous studies have demonstrated that outcomes are often better when recuperating at home

Technologies such as Robotics and AI implementation have increased in the healthcare sphere. What are the opportunities these present in your opinion?

We are very excited about applying Artificial Intelligence technologies to Transitional Care. We are currently working on developing a predictive algorithm that will allow us to determine an individual’s risk of readmission within 30 days of discharge from the acute hospital. This will allow us to focus our efforts on individuals who would benefit most from the service. Moving forward, we would like to explore other initiatives like chatbots for patient screening and AI-assisted Remote Monitoring. We have also been exploring projects involving the deployment of robotic technology and environmental sensors for elderly patients to enable aging-in-place.



While technology enhances quality of life, criticism about lessened physical social interaction remains. How does this transpire to the doctor-patient relationship when seeking treatment?

The Doctor-Patient relationship has evolved considerably over the past few years. Patients demand a lot more out of their care providers, and expect to be consulted in all care decisions. At the same time, clinicians are under pressure to deliver “cheaper, faster, better and safer” care. With staff shortages and time pressures, the only way that all of these goals can be achieved will be through the use of technology. While this might mean that healthcare becomes a little more impersonal, patients would welcome the efficiency gains that technology would provide, including quicker access and personalized care. However, the delivery of healthcare will always require a certain degree of human contact and communication, and technology could never fully replace this (although video conferencing, in selected cases, can substitute for in-person assessments).

Give us the gist of what your topic will cover at the PX Asia Summit.

Following from my answer to question 3 above, my presentation at the Summit will focus on how individuals could accelerate their evolution to becoming “Digital Patients” – what they should expect from their healthcare practitioner, how to navigate through today’s complex healthcare systems and how to benefit from the new paradigms in healthcare, including Personalized Medicine, Genomics, Wellness Management, Telehealth & other technological advancements.