08 Nov 2022

Career Stories

Taha Jailani: Enhancing hospital bed management with data analytics

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Taha Jailani shares his experience as an intern with the Patient-Ops Project Delivery team and how data analytics can enhance hospital bed management.

3 words to describe IHiS

Nurturing, experiential, impactful

How did you clinch the internship/job?

I think one of the biggest things that helped me in the interview process was having a diverse set of experiences listed in my resume. While I had only one internship prior to this one, I shared about the other learning experiences I had in school – this included leading a marketing campaign for a friend's company as well as my interest in cyber security, having dedicated several of my precious elective modules to this pursuit. These topics came up during my interview and I believe that they played a role in my selection.

Furthermore, it helped that I understood my own strengths and interests – during the interview, I made it clear that I was less interested in a coding-heavy internship. Instead, I was looking for a more systems-centric internship to gain a better understanding of projects in a large company. This declaration helped guide my interactions with my interviewers and it became clear that I would be a good fit for the internship, and vice versa.

What is your current role and job scope? What's a typical work day like for you? 

As an intern for the Patient-Ops Project Delivery team, we primarily work with hospitals' Patient Systems which include the Bed Management System (BMS). This system accounts for the beds in Singapore General Hospital, Sengkang General Hospital and KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

My tasks include helping with the development and delivery of enhancements for the BMS. These enhancements include creating reports via SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), managing change requests and a wide range of duties involved with the year-long upgrading project for the BMS.

Over the past few months, I've assisted in improving the efficiency of bed turnover processes and the effectiveness of bed analytics. While work can be tedious, completing a task often brings a rush of accomplishment and pushes me on to the next task.

As an intern, I am lucky to have a hybrid work schedule – depending on which I prefer, I can choose to work from home or office. As would be expected, I spend most of the week working from home. Travelling from my house in Admiralty to Outram can take as long as 2.5 hours to commute back and forth and I am thankful that I do not have to make that commute every day.

What got you interested in HealthTech sector?

In my previous internship, I often felt underutilised. My previous employer seemed unsure of how to make use of me as an intern and would rarely send me tasks to complete. Rarely would I feel like I was making any sort of impact.

HealthTech offered the opposite – a chance to actually make a difference that could impact the lives of stakeholders. Eager for my skills to be utilised effectively, and drawn to the details of this internship on my school's career portal, I applied.

Why did you join IHiS?

The biggest thing that sold me on IHIS were my interviewers. I was interviewed by my current reporting officer and her supervisor. Throughout the interview, I truly felt engaged by the conversations we were sharing and could recognise that they were rather experienced at their job.

We talked about the importance of clear workflows, about the necessity of user-centric design as well as my own experiences working with clients or stakeholders in other situations. The hour long interview convinced me that IHIS would be a good place to intern at – and that I would grow during my time here.

What is a memorable moment you encountered/experienced on-the-job?

In early July, I was invited to a meeting between my full-time colleagues and Sengkang General Hospital staff to discuss several enhancements. While I had attended plenty of online meetings before, this would be my first face-to-face meeting.

Where I had become used to the slightly stuffy nature of online meetings, interacting physically on site was a refreshing experience and rather enjoyable when compared to working from home. There were moments where I laughed at the jokes being shared.

At one point, I was even able to contribute to the meeting when I realised that the SKH staff were asking for an enhancement that I had some familiarity with. Though this contribution was not very impactful in the grand scheme of things, I was quite pleased to be able to contribute at all.

How did you overcome any challenges?

As an intern, it is important to be open to learning new concepts – while I am eager to help when possible, I also understand that I must first learn how best to proceed to prevent being a hindrance to the team.

In that way, I am quite thankful for my team. While I have spent time self-learning and practicing some skills on the job, I have often faced road blocks. In these times, I know that I can ask for help from my more experienced colleagues and that they will help me where possible. And when I have made mistakes, I am also thankful for their patience which has allowed me the space to learn without feeling too afraid to take the initiative when needed.

Describe the benefits of your project, and how you see it helping the public/Singapore.

When a patient is admitted into a hospital and requires warding, a bed must be prepared for them. Conversely, when they are leaving, the bed must be cleaned and prepared for the next occupant. Improving the efficiency in which this turnover can be conducted has a direct impact on the number of patients that can be treated at this hospital.

The Bed Management System (BMS) was implemented to automate many of the processes involved with bed turnover and the tracking of the availability of beds. It even has algorithms to recommend which beds are best suited for different users based on their needs. What once was a very manual process has now become a far less arduous task due to the BMS.

The BMS also allows for more detailed data analytics. Since the beds are tracked accurately, reports on the bed occupancy rate of the different wards (including general wards, isolation wards and ICUs) can easily be generated on demand. Such analytics play a vital role in guiding hospital executives in making big-picture decisions on how best to run the hospital.

And upgrades are constantly being implemented! Even as an intern, I play a role in facilitating the upgrade of the BMS system which is currently being conducted and will be completed by the end of the year.

What traits do you need to perform well in your role?

It is important to come into the role from a humble position. As an intern, the main priority is to learn. In the same vein, one must not take failure to heart and be kinder to oneself. After all, learning takes time and mistakes are part of this process.

I would also suggest that this role rewards individuals who are able to balance between detail-oriented thinking and the ability to think big-picture. Both of these skills are important in the many tasks you will complete. Seeing the big picture would help one navigate through the many IHiS processes (common to many big companies) while being detail-oriented would help one better understand the realities of the stakeholders as they interact with the system.

Ultimately, this role rewards generalists as one must think in varying ways to perform well.

How has your degree/knowledge learnt in school help them to prepare for the internship?

To list all the ways that my schooling has benefitted me in my internship would be difficult, so I will just detail several key pieces of knowledge I have picked up.

Firstly, try to use your time in school to experiment with what you like and are good at. I, like many others, chose the safe path of learning coding-heavy modules since I knew that they would be an employable skill. However, after spending half my schooling candidature in a coding-heavy major, I realised that I would be better suited for soft-skills related work. This realisation would eventually guide me into taking this internship and I am grateful for the space to experiment in University.

Secondly, take a healthy mix of modules that you are interested in as well as modules that are employable. Considering that I took several cybersecurity and IT law modules for fun, it was surprising that they would end up deepening my appreciation for some of the IT governance policies implemented in IHIS. Furthermore, I better appreciate the threats that exist for larger companies which handle sensitive data.

Finally, my experiences with larger coding projects in University have helped me understand the importance of clear and concise documentation. While a pain to create, they can significantly streamline the process of working with other colleagues and teams – some of whom we may have never met. Ultimately, I have become more diligent at creating and reading documentation and use this skill in IHIS as an intern as well.

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