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  • Estelle Heng

My plunge into healthcare and digital transformation

When I started my internship at MOHT, my supervisor told me the best way to make the most of this opportunity was to ‘be a sponge’ and get my hands dirty. On reflection, his statement was sage advice. Internships, I am told, and have gratefully learnt first-hand, are the best opportunities to be curious.

Although I have a strong interest in health and care, coming from a social sciences background, it never occurred to me that I would work on a digital enablement project. It was uncharted waters, but I looked forward to it. This valuable opportunity has helped me gain personal insights into the digital transformation required to reimagine health and care. During my internship, I supported a product owner in gathering insights from a community of users, testing and designing a national IT application for clinical professionals. It was exciting to be part of the launch of the National One Rehab Framework (see coverage in the Straits Times).


In the first month or so, I deep dived into the world of agile digital practices. I joined during the mid-stage of the project’s development. The usability sessions with ground users and conversations with the clinical leads helped me understand users' needs and constraints, which help provide clarity for the scrum team to create the right product. My role allowed me to connect the dots in translating business logic to digital capabilities.

I worked in a collaborative environment where the ground users, developers, and product owners co-created one IT product.

Also, unexpectedly, I was able to contribute to other areas such as quality assurance testing. I was able to look at things with a fresh pair of eyes which helped the team pick up bugs and refine the user interface.

Estelle (far right) at a usability session with NTUC Health therapists for the refinement of the One-Rehab portal

Towards the end of development, I had to adjust and adapt my mindset towards implementing the product across multiple sites and teams. I was assigned to drive the training stream (one of many implementation workstreams) end-to-end, which involved the planning, logistics and formulation of training collaterals. As I got closer to the end of my internship, I could further interact and conduct the online training sessions with the end-users. It was meaningful to see the different phases in launching an IT product, from development to implementation.


During my time at MOHT, I also had the chance to observe and support other tracks for the same product (e.g. data governance agreements, access and onboarding, cybersecurity clearance, setting up of operations support). These tracks involved other stakeholders aside from the end-users from both the public healthcare institutions and community partners.


I also participated in another project which focused on the co-creation and transformation of health within the public sphere. Differing from my main project, this focused on activating ordinary citizens to apply design thinking to address social and health issues in our community.


Working on both projects gave me a wider understanding of healthcare and its potential for change at both the individual and institutional levels. Further expanding my learning at MOHT were the weekly learning sessions organised by MOHT’s learning committee.

I enjoyed learning beyond my scope of work, and it gave me an important reminder that we all live in an ecosystem of change.

At this time, COVID-19 is still a significant public health threat, and we have all been working from home. Although I had thought this would be disruptive for my learning, it has actually helped me to embrace new modes of working. Like many other final-year students or fresh graduates who are starting their careers, we have to learn how to work with - or without, I should say - the physical presence of colleagues. It may be challenging at first, but simple adjustments such as taking the initiative to get to know others and proactively contributing to virtual meetings will become more and more important.


As my internship draws to a close, the experiences with colleagues at MOHT as well as partner organisations have given me the motivation to continue pursuing career choices that is close to my heart. I am excited to be able to continue my journey with MOHT for an extended term, this time as a formal member of the team. I feel more equipped with a better understanding of the healthcare ecosystem. And I am ready to take the plunge!

Find out more about MOHT's Internship Programme.

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