Tired of being put on hold when you call to make or change an existing appointment? Making your appointment is now a swift and seamless process with a new app, an effort of the SingHealth group in Singapore.
The Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and National Cancer Centre have rolled out an app for their specialist outpatient clinics. The process would require less time because bookings can be made by the polyclinic staff immediately without having to filter to the call centre. 9 polyclinics are currently involved in the new app with this appointment-making system which lets polyclinic staff access and book the appointments directly. In the past, polyclinic staff had to call up hospitals to book a slot on the patient’s behalf- a process which could take up to 30 minutes. The patient’s waiting time has now been reduced to 5 mins with the new system in place.
Moreover, the system is available to patients 24/7. This allows them to make a medical appointment beyond office hours, which might be dedicated to work and other responsibilities. According to SingHealth in The Straits Times article, the call centre receives nearly 2 million calls each year or 152, 000 calls a month. The launch of the app has enabled internal call traffic to drop by about 60%, thus reducing the need to call the polyclinics directly. SingHealth added that 10% of appointment slots would be reserved for online users by December. This is to allow more urgent and important calls to get through.
At present, the app only allows patients to manage their visits to the doctor. However, more services and information such as physiotherapy and X-ray would soon be added. The new system has also shortened waiting time for polyclinic patients, making their visit a comfortable and pleasant experience.
The National Healthcare Group (NHG) also launched an app last year for users to book same-day appointments for common conditions such as flu and fever.