A career in healthcare is more than just a job – it gives you the opportunity to impact the lives of citizens and the future of Singapore’s public healthcare.
Having been with NUH since 1994, Dennie Hsu embodies the steadfast commitment of MOH Holdings (MOHH) in upholding the excellence of Singapore’s public healthcare sector.
Dennie is currently overseeing the CSS Division, which comprises seven diagnostic and therapeutic departments, namely Diagnostic Imaging, Laboratory Medicine, Pathology, Rehabilitation, Pharmacy, Dietetics and Medical Social Work.
Director of Clinical Support Services, National University Hospital
Under Dennie’s leadership, the CSS teams have pioneered many impactful endeavours. They were the first in the world to implement a novel closed-loop Critical Test Results Management system, which was cited by Medscape Pathology as one of 2011’s Top 10 Game Changers. They were also the first in the Asia-Pacific region to implement a closed-loop inpatient medication management system. Furthermore, they were the first in Singapore to implement filmless radiology and digital pathology, and a laboratory automation system.
We sit down with Dennie, who sheds light on what a career in the healthcare sector has to offer.
Tell us more about what you do.
Dennie Hsu: My key roles and responsibilities are to steer all the CSS departments towards achieving the mission and vision of NUH and MOHH. I am also involved in the implementation of an effective performance measurement and management system, as well as the management of the Division’s resources, such as finance, infrastructure, equipment and manpower.
How do you derive fulfilment from your job?
Dennie: My job enables me to be involved in the design and implementation of new systems to enhance clinical quality, patient safety and operational efficiency. A recent example is the successful deployment of the Outpatient Pharmacy Automation System, which has helped to improve medication safety, reduce our reliance on skilled manpower and facilitate meaningful job redesign for pharmacy support staff.
Share with us some little-known facts about the CSS Division.
Dennie: The CSS Division is one of the largest and most diverse divisions in any hospital. On the surface, there may be stark differences between the various allied health professions within the CSS Division. However, upon closer inspection, you will notice many commonalities across these seemingly disparate professions. For example, patient-centredness is a key priority across all CSS departments.
Also, while all CSS departments place great emphasis on safety, each department focusses on different aspects of safety. For instance, radiographers focus on radiation safety while medical laboratory technologists and therapists look at biosafety and patient safety respectively.
Name some highlights in your career.
Dennie: Although I moved to hospital administration 16 years ago, I still get season’s greetings and well wishes from several of my former patients. This never fails to cheer me up!
On top of that, I have the privilege of working with dedicated and capable teams in CSS. Together, we have successfully implemented award-winning systems, including the Laboratory Information System, Radiology Information System and Picture Archival System, Digital Pathology System, and Closed-Loop Medication Management System.
Another highlight was receiving two prestigious awards – namely the NHG Outstanding Citizenship Award in 2007 and the NUHS-Mochtar Riady Pinnacle Awards (Young Achiever Award Category) in 2013 – in recognition of my contributions.
How do MOHH and NUH support the development of healthcare scholars and fresh graduates?
Dennie: MOHH organises engagement, networking and enrichment sessions for fresh graduate scholars to help them acclimatise to Singapore’s healthcare system. NUH provides similar support through structured orientation, on-the-job training and preceptorship programmes.
Scholars will also be rotated to different specialties or disciplines in the first few years to gain exposure to various clinical and professional services. They can then choose to be a clinical specialist, or enter the management, research or education field.
In addition, Allied Health Professionals with leadership potential can undergo leadership development programmes, such as the Nursing-Allied Health Leadership Programme organised by MOHH’s Healthcare Leadership College.
What can fresh graduates look forward to in the evolving healthcare industry?
Dennie: Fresh graduates can choose to work in one of the six designated Regional Health Systems, which includes acute and community hospitals, and nursing homes. They can also look forward to leveraging on new technologies that aim to improve productivity, patient safety and operational efficiency. For instance, all public healthcare institutions will likely adopt the new National Electronic Health Record system in the near future.
What qualities should one possess in the healthcare industry?
Dennie: Compassion and integrity are the cornerstone of all healthcare professionals. As integrated care requires a multidisciplinary approach, collegiality and teamwork are also important in the healthcare profession. Excellence is another essential component. The provision of patient-centred, cost-effective care requires all healthcare professionals to constantly look for safer, faster and more affordable diagnostic and treatment options.
What advice would you impart to aspiring healthcare scholars?
Dennie: Take time to figure out what your “sense of purpose” in life is. You should then visit healthcare institutions and talk to healthcare professionals to find out more about the range of career paths within the healthcare sector. This can aid you in making an informed decision on the career that would best suit you.