Sunday 18 October 2015

Healthcare 'ATM' cuts the wait at Bedok Polyclinic

Patients who pass MyHealth Kiosk's checks can collect medication without consultation
By Linette Lai, The Straits Times, 16 Oct 2015

In Bedok Polyclinic, a kiosk that can take a person's blood pressure is helping patients skip queues and collect their medication faster.

Known as the MyHealth Kiosk, it also measures height, weight and a person's body mass index before spitting out a printed report.

Patients with chronic diseases that are under control can collect their medication immediately, while those whose results reveal health issues are referred to a nurse or doctor.

"This is supposed to be to healthcare what an ATM is to bank customers," said Dr Juliana Bahadin, clinic director of Bedok Polyclinic.

Since March, the polyclinic has enrolled 100 patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, under the MyHealth Kiosk pilot programme.

Normally, these patients - who make up around 62 per cent of the polyclinic's overall attendance - would visit the polyclinic four times in nine months, consulting a nurse or doctor each time.

Under the new scheme, they can collect their medication directly on the second and third visits without a consultation, as long as the kiosk gives them the green light.

"It was very easy," said Madam Sabariah Mohamed, 54, who has used the kiosk twice so far to make sure her blood pressure is within safe limits. "They give you step-by- step instructions, and I didn't have to go through all the hassle of registration," said the housewife.

The pilot project was jointly organised by the Eastern Health Alliance and SingHealth Polyclinics, which have also set up a kiosk at a Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities senior activity centre in Bedok.

Its users are not the chronically ill, but seniors in the area who want to keep a closer eye on their health.

For example, users are asked to input how often they have exercised or had fried food in the past week, making them more aware of areas which could be improved.

"We were quite pleasantly surprised that our seniors were attracted to the machine," said Ms Sng Yan Ling, divisional director of Thye Hua Kwan's elderly services division. "They've been queuing up to use the kiosk."

More than 100 residents have used the kiosk in the past three weeks. Housewife Chew Kee Eng, 60, drops by the centre every two or three days.

"I don't have a blood pressure monitor or weighing machine at home, so this is very convenient," she said. "They taught us how to use it, and I use it to help keep my health under control."

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