Skin centre’s e-system to cut waiting times

Long waits to see the doctor, collect prescriptions and make payments at the National Skin Centre may be a thing of the past.

A new Electronic Medical Record System, a first here, is meant to provide a seamless patient work-flow system.

The paperless system was rolled out on March 20, the centre announced on Saturday.

This is what it promises:

Instead of prescribing medicines via a computer system, then making printouts for patients, it will simply transmit the prescription straight to the prescription counter.

There is also a real-time online appointment system with a self-registration kiosk on every floor.

self registration kiosk

Patients can book, change and cancel appointments on-line. Two days before the appointment, a reminder in the form of a text message will be sent to the patient’s mobile phone.

On the day of the appointment, the patient simply scans his identity card of appointment card at the self-registration kiosk. A printout will tell him his queue number and the consultation room he should go to.

The system can also track waiting times. When this gets too long, another doctor can then be asked to help out in the clinic, or patients can be moved to another clinic, with the patient’s electronic case files being transferred immediately to the right doctor.

Doctors can even tell patients how much they need to pay. Before, patients would find out only at the billing counter.

doctor using Clinical Management System

The system is also designed to alert doctors if they accidentally prescribe a drug that the patient is allergic to. In three to five years’ time, it will also be able to track which medicine works best for each individual.

Early this month, the public health clusters, SingHealth and National Healthcare Group, said they were planning to introduce an electronic prescription system and on-line tracking of patient’s medical histories in their hospitals and polyclinics.

The skin centre’s system goes beyond this to reduce patients’ waiting time and makes more productive use of the staff.

Designed by Malaysian-listed novaHEALTH, the $2 million system took three years to complete.

The skin centre has already digitized its 250,000 records. Two million pages of patients’ records were scanned into the system, at a cost of $250,000.

In case the system fails, records are backup every day to make sure those required for the next day are available.

However, Professor Goh Chee Leok, the centre’s medical director, said that it would not back up records with printouts.

“It defeats the very purpose of going electronic,” he said.

quote from The Straits Times, 29 March 2004

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