Philips Foundation Partners Singapore Heart Foundation to Increase Access to Heart Care in Singapore

Philips Foundation, with its mission to provide access to quality healthcare for disadvantaged communities through innovation, and social service agency Singapore Heart Foundation (SHF) today announced a partnership to improve cardiac incident outcomes in communities by increasing access to quality healthcare. The year-long program to fund the newly-named ‘SHF – Philips Foundation Heart Wellness Centre’ aims to reduce the mortality rate of cardiac incidences by at least 50% (compared to patients who do not participate) and lower an individual’s risk of hospital readmission by 25%.

In Singapore, 1 in 3 heart attack patients may experience a recurrent cardiac event¹. Although cardiac rehabilitation is the foundation of secondary prevention, only 6% to 15% of eligible patients today attend cardiac rehabilitation programmes². The SHF – Philips Foundation Heart Wellness Centre, whose rehabilitation programs and operations will be funded by Philips Foundation in the coming year, will tackle this problem and drive higher participation in rehabilitation programs by enabling access in the heart of the community.

The SHF – Philips Foundation Heart Wellness Centre is one of three centres run by SHF that provides highly-subsidised cardiac rehabilitation services. Located at Fortune Centre (190 Middle Road), the SHF – Philips Foundation Heart Wellness Centre is convenient for cardiac patients and at-risk individuals to access the necessary care equipment and healthcare professionals to maintain their heart health. At the centre, individuals will undergo the Heart Wellness Program, a structured Phase 3 and 4 cardiac rehabilitation program, where SHF’s multidisciplinary healthcare professionals will provide guidance in tailored exercise classes, nutrition counselling, and education on sustained lifelong heart-healthy habits – all of which are vital for optimum patient results.

SHF supports approximately 2,500 individuals at its three centres, of which 675 are at Fortune Centre.

Dr Tan Yong Seng, Chairman of Singapore Heart Foundation’s Heart Wellness Centres, said, “Against the backdrop of pandemic-induced social distancing, there is an urgent need to ensure continuity of care in the community. Progress in the cardiovascular disease primary prevention space means that more patients now survive an initial heart attack or stroke, but there is a growing gap in addressing the increase in secondary cardiac event burden. The lack of patient participation in rehabilitation programs is one of the biggest barriers in secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease today³. Support from Philips Foundation accords Singapore Heart Foundation with the resources required to continue providing affordable and quality support to the patients in need, as well as give our team the capacity to focus on raising awareness on the importance of cardiac rehab, and drive higher participation in our programmes.”

The provision of an accessible cardiac rehabilitation program at Fortune Centre is especially important in improving access to care for the elderly demographic, who are often less mobile and more susceptible to secondary cardiac incidences. The funding by Philips Foundation will also help keep cardiac rehab fees low for members to reduce some of the current barriers that limit access to care and help them adhere to their rehabilitation programme.

Improving cardiac arrest survival rate

Education and instilling confidence for action are also important aspects of this partnership. The Lancet Public Health4 found that a series of public health interventions in Singapore cumulatively increased the likelihood of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by bystanders during out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) nearly eightfold, and survival rates over twofold, underscoring the importance of such interventions to improve OHCA outcomes.

“In line with Philips’ commitment to improving lives, this partnership aims to empower patients with access to better care for themselves. Through the Heart Wellness Centre’s education initiatives, the AED roll-out and the CPR training, we want to equip individuals and communities with the knowledge and resources to reduce the mortality rates of cardiac incidences in Singapore,” said Ms Ivy Lai, Country Manager, Philips Singapore. “We are honored to implement this Philips Foundation project in Singapore with Singapore Heart Foundation, which has been instrumental in advancing the nation’s heart health over the past decades.”

As such, this partnership will also see 20 locales in Singapore equipped with automated external defibrillators (Philips HeartStart AEDs) and 500 individuals trained in CPR+AED over one year to build ready and resilient communities that are better equipped to deal with occurrences of cardiac incidents.

“Philips Foundation was founded on the belief that innovation and collaboration can help solve some of the world’s toughest healthcare challenges for underserved communities across the globe, and we believe that this partnership does just that. According to the World Health Organization, at least 400 million people around the world still lack access to essential health services. Through partnerships like these, we aim to make tangible progress in closing this gap,” said Ms Margot Cooijmans, Director, Philips Foundation.

Ms Denise Phua, Mayor of Central Singapore District at the unveiling of the newly-named SHF – Philips Foundation Heart Wellness Centre, welcomed this support for building an involved, educated and caring society. She said, “Community access is key to forming healthier societies and alleviating health inequities. I am heartened to see Philips Foundation and Singapore Heart Foundation come together to improve access to care for heart patients via the subsidised cardiac rehabilitation programme available at the SHF-Philips Foundation Heart Wellness Centre. Sometimes, all you need is a friend around the corner to encourage individual responsibility and proactive heart care – I believe this is the role this community-based Heart Wellness Centre will play.”


2 The Economist Intelligence Unit: The Cost of Inaction: Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Asia-Pacific 2020

3 The Economist Intelligence Unit: The Cost of Inaction: Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Asia-Pacific 2020

4 Duke-NUS Medical School: Bundled interventions improve bystander CPR, increase out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival

Images: Singapore Heart Foundation

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