Prof Benjamin Seet  Image

Prof Benjamin Seet

Group Chairman Medical Board National Healthcare Group

Ben Seet oversees research, innovation and academic partnership at the National Healthcare Group. He is Adjunct Professor with the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, and currently chairs or serves as a member of the governing board or steering committee of a number of research institutes and organisations in the public and private sectors. He was formerly Executive Director of the Biomedical Research Council at A*STAR, prior to which he held senior leadership appointments in the Singapore Armed Forces and United Nations. He holds a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and has a background in international health.

PHOM 2024 Talk details

Medicine & Technology: A 21st Century Gordian Knot

The practice of medicine faces two disruptions today: (1) Advances in biotechnology that enable genes to be edited and immune cells to be harnessed to treat the untreatable and to bring advanced cancer and chronic disease into remission. (2) Digital technology and artificial intelligence usher in an age of precision, that leverage on genomic, molecular, clinical, environmental and lifestyle data to predict disease outcomes and guide treatment. All these take place on a background of ageing populations, high prevalence of non-communicable diseases, increasing patient expectations, and escalating healthcare costs. While technology offers compelling propositions to the patient and clinician, it has the potential to fuel a vortex of spiralling complexity and costs. In seeking sustainable healthcare, we need to define what really matters, ask hard questions as to what will make a real-world difference to the patient, and what makes sense for health systems. We need to return to the fundamental principle of doing no harm if we cannot do good, and to avoid the temptations of pushing the latest innovations into our hospitals and clinics. Case studies will be drawn from Singapore’s approach to technology adoption in public healthcare institutions. The need for a patient-centric view in making these decisions will also be discussed.