“The system allows for real-time prediction of waiting times between the triage and consultation with the doctor, and has had a ninety-five percent accuracy rate” (TTSH Keeping Patients Up-To-Date On Waiting Times, Mr. Sumita Sreedharan).
The new system introduced by Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) to display more accurate and updated waiting times – as explained in the news report “TTSH Keeping Patients Up-To-Date On Waiting Times” (November 12, 2011) by Mr. Sumita Sreedharan – would be beneficial for patient’s satisfaction and quality of care. Therefore, given the level of proficiency achieved with this electronic endeavour, the National Healthcare Group (NHG) – together with corresponding hospitals, specialist clinics and polyclinics – should explore viable customisations to the electronic systems to increase levels of efficiency.
Changes At Specialist Outpatient Clinics And Polyclinics
Given the sheer number of Singaporeans who visit the specialist outpatient clinics and polyclinics every day, it is imperative that the framework of appointments and waiting times are handled professionally. At the present moment, patients comprehend the volume of cases that doctors and practitioners handle daily; however, they are frustrated by the huge discrepancies between scheduled appointment times and actual consultation times, and the lack of information about doctor commitments or availability.
An electronic system would be able to achieve a number of things: first, it would list the patients who are waiting for the particular service, and provide real-time prediction of waiting times (especially important for elderly patients, who might need to consume their meals but are afraid of missing their queue numbers); second, the availability of the doctor, and whether he or she is scheduled for imminent surgeries or last-minute emergency cases; third, let individuals know if they might have missed their turn, so that appropriate arrangements or rescheduling can be speedily made.
Such changes will not solve the long-term supply and demand considerations; however, they will reduce levels of information asymmetry, and allow Singaporeans to be more patient and understanding with their waits.
A version of this article was published in TODAY.