Pick up medicine at any time at Bedok Polyclinic

Pilbox at Bedok Polyclinic uses a self-cooling system that allows a wider range of medication, including those that require cooling, to be collected from self-service lockers. Patients will be alerted by an SMS when their medicine is ready for collec
Pilbox at Bedok Polyclinic uses a self-cooling system that allows a wider range of medication, including those that require cooling, to be collected from self-service lockers. Patients will be alerted by an SMS when their medicine is ready for collection, and they can pick it up from the lockers at any time. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Time spent at the polyclinic has halved for part-time clinic assistant Juliana Wee in the past few months.

The 64-year-old no longer has to wait to pick up medicine and pay for it at the pharmacy.

A new service called Pilbox allows patients to pick up their medicine at any time of the day - and without seeing a pharmacist.

With it, patients will be alerted by an SMS when their medicine is ready for collection, and they can pick it up from lockers at any time.

Pilbox was launched in August at Bedok Polyclinic, which recently reopened at the new community hub, Heartbeat@Bedok.

Said Ms Wee: "I've cut my waiting time by half, from 30 minutes to 15 minutes. I used to have to wait after seeing the doctor, then I would have to go to the counter, wait for my name and pay. (Pilbox) is much easier because I can go at any time."

Dr Juliana Bahadin, the clinic director and consultant at Bedok Polyclinic, which comes under SingHealth, told reporters yesterday that Pilbox has reduced waiting time for users at the pharmacy by 40 per cent.

Pilbox uses a 40-locker, self-cooling system, allowing a wider range of medication, including insulin, which requires cooling, to be collected from self-service lockers.

Ms Christina Lim, head of pharmacy operations at SingHealth Polyclinics, said that as a precaution, the lockers cannot store any addictive medicine, such as cough medicine or opioid drugs.

"The area is closely monitored and there are plenty of CCTVs (closed-circuit television cameras) to make sure no one can abuse Pilbox," she added.

Pilbox was piloted at Marine Parade Polyclinic in May last year and will be used at Punggol Polyclinic when it opens later this month.

Four Seek MyHealth kiosks that allow patients with chronic conditions to check their blood pressure or body mass index have also been introduced at Bedok Polyclinic, where 70 per cent of patients suffer from chronic conditions.

The kiosks can also ask patients questions to monitor their conditions, based on their history.

Dr Bahadin said 100 to 130 patients daily have replaced conventional pre-consultation with this.

Housewife Loo Yoke Ching, 71, said: "I have hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. The kiosks are important for me. They save me time (having to see a doctor)."

Bedok Polyclinic has also introduced integrated care services, such as a diabetes and pre-diabetes management programme. It also has new podiatry, physiotherapy and diagnostic radiology services.

SingHealth Polyclinics intends to eventually use technology-based services such as Pilbox and Seek MyHealth kiosks, as well as integrated care services at all its polyclinics.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2017, with the headline 'Pick up medicine at any time at Bedok Polyclinic'. Print Edition | Subscribe