With increasing life expectancy and a rapidly ageing population, Singapore is facing unprecedented health challenges. As the burden of disease shifts towards chronic non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, growing numbers of people are living for decades in the shadow of multiple, complex conditions. This requires the evolution of healthcare system to better serve the needs of the population of the future.
The Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management (CDPM) seeks to serve as the catalyst for healthcare transformation through the programs and research we undertake. We believe that the solution lies with an ‘engaged and activated individual’ (patient or healthy member of the community) collaborating with an ‘engaged and activated provider’ (or healthcare system) to achieve the best outcomes. As the catalyst, we are committed to optimally engaging patients and members of the public by changing the way they interact with the healthcare system.
Through the Centre’s projects, we hope to generate insights into human behavior that will enable our stakeholders to make informed decisions about their health. We will also develop new models of care and strategies that leverage these insights, along with modern technologies such as telehealth and the internet of things to support our patients and family to maintain their health or live with chronic disease.
The Centre also aims to influence daily health-related behaviors by minimizing the barriers to change. Specifically, we are looking to alter the food environment i.e. the types of food locally available, to make choosing health-promoting food easier and more accessible. By these and other activities, the Centre seeks to transform healthcare and create an ecosystem to support sustainable lifestyle change.
To be a catalyst for chronic disease care transformation by:
evolving the nature of patient interactions with the health system,
creating an ecosystem for sustainable lifestyle change,
and taking a leadership role in care innovation
- The Year of Care (YoC) Project is a pilot program which will transform the routine outpatient diabetes consult into a patient-centred, collaborative care and support planning process that will improve clinical outcomes, patient experiences and healthcare utilization. The traditional consultation does not fulfil the needs of people living with diabetes for years. To manage diabetes successfully, patients need to take ownership of one’s health through daily lifestyle decisions.
YoC program was piloted in England which emphasizes patient engagement and support for self-management. Patients who are more engaged or “activated”, i.e. who have the motivation, knowledge and confidence in self-management, achieve better health-related outcomes. The YoC model incorporates strategies including elements of providing information that is made understandable, motivational interviewing during the consultation, care planning and realistic goal setting.
- Heart Age Singapore (HAS), is a tool that presents an individual’s cardiovascular disease risk in a manner that has been demonstrated to more effectively engage individuals following health screening. The HAS tool, developed in UK and adapted by Singapore Heart Foundation for our local population, provides a simple yet impactful manner of explaining cardio-vascular risk by displaying an individual’s heart age based on his risk factors like BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and smoking habits.
HAS will then link the risk factors to activities that the individual can undertake and explain how each intervention will take years off their heart age, i.e. reduce their cardio-vascular risk. It will also be further developed to link the individual to appropriate programmes and interventions available in the community.
- Future Foods for Health is a research program that aims to produce a range of carbohydrate-based, staple food products which have been demonstrated in human studies to give rise to improved glycemic profiles compared to standard alternatives. To cater to market preferences these foods will also be optimized for their sensory characteristics based on consumer feedback.
The Centre will conduct proof-of-concept experiments to show that clinically validated novel food ingredients can support health by targeting a range of food products (i.e. carbohydrate-based staple food). Assessment of consumers and stakeholders acceptability on the incorporation of functional food or ingredients for mainstream use will be conducted to guide product development.
The effort is designed to enable interventions that will have a sustainable impact on the population health. This will be particularly relevant to Singapore where most Singaporeans consume one or more meals per day outside the home—primarily in food courts and hawker centres.
Prof Tai E Shyong
Prof Tai has held several National Medical Research Council / Biomedical Reseach Council individual research grants as principal investigator since 1996. He has published more than 100 original articles in top journals in the area of genetics (including Nature, Nature Genetics) and diabetes/metabolism (including Diabetes, Diabetes Care, Diabetologia and the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism). His work on the epidemiology of metabolic diseases forms the basis for the clinical practise guidelines for obesity, diabetes mellitus and lipids.
He is experienced in the area of risk assessment, having developed the risk assessment tool that is used for the estimation of risk of cardiovascular disease in Singapore to make clinical decisions on lipid lowering. As such, he has demonstrated the ability to translate findings from his research into clinical practice.
Prof Tai runs a research program that spans public health, human physiology and health services research in the area of diabetes and metabolic disease. He has extensive collaborations across disciplines such as behavioural science and food science to examine the various factors and reasons affecting health behaviours such as food choices. He is currently working on innovative models of care delivery that seeks to transform the care and management of chronic diseases in Singapore.