Embracing AI in healthcare: Preparing the workforce for the future

TTSH’s A/Prof Ng Yih Yng discusses AI's role in revolutionising healthcare, emphasising strategic integration and workforce adaptation.
By: | May 24, 2024

The rise of AI in healthcare is not just a distant possibility but an inevitable reality.

A/Prof Ng Yih Yng, Senior Consultant, Department of Preventive and Population Medicine at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), and Director of Digital and Smart Health Office at the Centre for Healthcare Innovative, shared with HRM Asia how AI is set to revolutionise healthcare, emphasising the importance of strategic integration and workforce adaptation. Interestingly, A/Prof Ng himself embraced AI’s potential by using a secure ChatGPT engine on TTSH’s intranet to draft his insights before reviewing and editing them, demonstrating an example of AI’s utility in the workplace. 

A/Prof Ng highlighted that AI could automate repetitive tasks, improve efficiency, and enhance patient care. “AI has the potential to significantly augment our delivery of care, especially in areas that are repetitive, data-driven, and objective,” he explained. This transformation is crucial in allowing healthcare professionals to focus on more complex and nuanced aspects of care.

AI’s leap in capability has sparked concerns about job displacement, but A/Prof Ng advocates for upskilling and reskilling the workforce. “Through comprehensive training programmes, employees can become adept users of AI,” he explained. “Together with job redesign, AI can be incorporated to augment the healthcare workforce to improve safety, productivity, and enhance care.”

He continued, “Our vision is to raise AI literacy, enhance the quality of healthcare data to leverage AI more effectively and evolve our organisational culture to be comfortable working alongside AI. To be ready for the future, leaders must understand it strategically, healthcare professionals must become highly discerning users of AI, comfortable with using it routinely and amongst a subset, be involved in designing and building AI with multidisciplinary collaborators like the Centre for Healthcare Innovation and Nanyang Technological University to transform care.”

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Ethical considerations are paramount in AI adoption. He emphasised that patient privacy, data security, transparency, and explainability are essential for building trust with employees, patients, and caregivers, adding that continuous monitoring and evaluation of AI systems are necessary to ensure their effectiveness and address potential bias.

“Embracing AI in healthcare requires a comprehensive approach spanning from training, culture change, process and job redesign, integration of data and technology to ensure that the future healthcare demands are met,” he concluded.