It could be said that the COVID-19 pandemic helped to reunite Dr Daniel Ting with his wife and three-year-old child. The consultant with SNEC’s surgical retina department had to return to Singapore three months early from a year-long work attachment in London, UK, as his expertise was needed.
In fact, soon after arriving home, Dr Ting was invited to join the research and innovation taskforce committee of the Community Care Facility (CCF) @ Singapore EXPO. His role would be to evaluate and implement digital technology to contain the virus here, using his knowledge and experience as Head of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Technology in SERI. “I felt extremely blessed to return early and be given the opportunity to serve,” he says.
However, Dr Ting faced several hurdles, the biggest of which was the language barrier. “More than 50% of the migrant workers housed in EXPO are non-English speaking— it was difficult for effective clinical documentation and routine communication on the ground,” he explains.
To overcome this barrier, Dr Ting had to conduct multiple late-night meetings and on-site recces to ensure that the technologies tested were working optimally while soaked in sweat under his PPE — but both conditions were things he was more than willing to endure. “Without going to the ground to understand their clinical and operational workflow, it would not be possible to figure out the best way of deploying these technologies.”
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