Mixing Traditions with Technology

Death care standards in Singapore has always paled in comparison to those upheld in Western countries. With manual labour being the major component in this trade with little or no technological intervention, it is no surprise that human errors happen every so periodically; just that they go unreported for whatever reasons. 

Technology though not a panacea, is always thought to reduce human errors, improve productivity and increase efficiency. The reason why the death trade utilises close to 0 technology in its processes is simple – it is comfortable being where it is. No one wants additional work done when inertia is strong; that is unless something in the industry happen which acts as a motivating factor for an overhaul of the trade. 

Since in a way, we were the reason for the overhaul, I feel deeply obligated to do something to change the way things is. I wanted to use technology to track which stage of the process the decedent is at and I wanted this process to be made known to the bereaved family members. 

Confronting the death of someone you love is daunting enough. Not knowing what to expect following the collection of the decedent is worse. Hence, the Harmony Funeral Care application was created to help allay such uncertainties. 

Following is an outline of how this app is utilised in our processes: 

  1. HFC staff in charge of the case logs into the app using his/her unique username.
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2. A QR code will be generated and printed upon scanning the death certificate. Important details like the death certificate number, full name of decedent and the sex will also be captured.

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3. Concurrently, an email / SMS will be sent to the next of kin (NOK) to provide timely updates on the deceased’s status.

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4. The printed QR codes are attached to 2 tear-resistant identification tags secured to the wrist and ankle of the decedent.

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5. Staff would be assigned via the app to collect the body from the embalming care centre for transport back to the next destination (Wake venue/ Crematorium/ Burial Ground). Assigned staff has to scan the QR code before collection of body.

6. In situations where the inaccurate QR code is scanned, authorised personnel would be notified. In cases where the QR code is not scanned within 15 minutes of stipulated time, authorised personnel would be notified as well. This helps ensure timely arrival of the body to the next destination.

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With the mixing of technology with traditions, it is our hope that in time to come, productivity and efficiency will be increased while retaining the traditions of the funeral trade. 

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