Beat the queue and pick up medicine at Pilbox

The Prescription in a Locker Box service at Marine Parade Polyclinic. To use it, patients with prescriptions must sign up for the service with pharmacy staff. They can then drop their prescription slips at the pharmacy and schedule a date to collect
The Prescription in a Locker Box service at Marine Parade Polyclinic. To use it, patients with prescriptions must sign up for the service with pharmacy staff. They can then drop their prescription slips at the pharmacy and schedule a date to collect their repeat medication.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

24/7 service available at Marine Parade Polyclinic to be extended to Bedok and Punggol polyclinics

Mr Chia Hearn Chek used to have to wait as long as half an hour just to get a refill of his medication at Marine Parade Polyclinic.

But these days, the retired teacher can do so in less than five minutes through a 24/7 pickup service called Prescription in a Locker Box (Pilbox), which was launched by the polyclinic in May.

"I used to have to wait 15 to 30 minutes to collect my medication, but with Pilbox it's very convenient - I can collect it any time I want," said the 84-year-old.

The service will now be extended to Bedok and Punggol polyclinics next year.

To use Pilbox, patients with prescriptions must sign up for the service with pharmacy staff.

They can then drop their prescription slips at the pharmacy and schedule a date to collect their repeat medication.

Separate SMS reminders will be sent to patients a week before the collection date and when the medication is ready for collection.

On the day of collection, patients or their caregivers can pay for their medication at a self-help kiosk, keying in the patient's identity card number before scanning the QR code on the receipt at a Pilbox station console.

They then enter their pre-registered mobile number to collect their medication from a locker.

The medicines are put into lockers manually by pharmacists.

More than 100 patients have signed up to use Pilbox at Marine Parade Polyclinic.

"Collection can be scheduled 24/7, including weekends and public holidays, providing greater convenience to patients and caregivers who are unable to make a trip to the pharmacy during polyclinic operating hours," said Ms Christina Lim, pharmacy manager at SingHealth Polyclinics (SHP), which runs the polyclinics in Bedok, Punggol and Marine Parade.

"It also helps patients with repeat medication to beat the queue at the pharmacy and reduce waiting in the clinic."

SHP is exploring the feasibility of allowing patients from other polyclinics to collect their prescription refills from Pilbox at Marine Parade Polyclinic.

Bedok Polyclinic will have Pilbox available when it moves to its new integrated complex in Bedok North Street 1 next year. The new Punggol Polyclinic, which will open next year, will also have Pilbox.

Meanwhile, the National Healthcare Group Pharmacy has been working with a vendor to put in place a system similar to Pilbox at some of its polyclinics and other locations.

It is not known yet when the system will be rolled out.

The group is also planning to implement a delivery system for medication.

SHP already has a medication delivery service at its nine polyclinics, which allows patients to pay a fee to have their medication delivered from the polyclinic to a location of their choice.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2016, with the headline 'Beat the queue and pick up medicine at Pilbox'. Print Edition | Subscribe