Queue system at upcoming Ng Teng Fong General Hospital to cut patient waiting time

Artist's impression of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. A new queue system for patients at the upcoming Ng Teng Fong General Hospital will help cut waiting time by up to 40 per cent when the complex is completed next year. -- FILE PHOTO: JURONGHEALTH
Artist's impression of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. A new queue system for patients at the upcoming Ng Teng Fong General Hospital will help cut waiting time by up to 40 per cent when the complex is completed next year. -- FILE PHOTO: JURONGHEALTH

A new queue system for patients at the upcoming Ng Teng Fong General Hospital will help cut waiting time when the complex is completed next year.

"The patient only needs to register once. The itinerary of the day can also be printed out with the queue number and this is the same queue number that one patient will use to move from one point to the next point," said Jurong Health chief executive Foo Hee Jug.

The 'One Bill, One Queue' system is part of a patient-centric approach seen in a number of features and healthcare processes at upcoming 700-bed hospital is on track to open December 2014, with the adjacent Jurong Community Hospital opening in 2015.

"Measured by turnaround time and waiting time, the queue management system can shorten waiting time about 30 to 40 per cent," said Jurong Health assistant chief operating officer Ng Kian Swan.

Instead of collecting a queue number for every service and consultation, patients get one number that stays with them throughout the process. The slip is later processed for a sum of the required payments.

"If you move through the clinic from radiology to pharmacy, you can choose to only pay at the pharmacy. Whichever is your last stop," said Mr Foo.

A barcode on the queue slip is scanned every time a patient checks in for a different service. For regular patients, the queue slip can also list details of subsequent appointments.

The queue system is part of a patient-centric and more efficient approach to be adopted at the hospital. "Of concern is actually our backyard - all our heavy industries, Jurong Island is just next to us, and of course the emerging elderly population,"said Dr Quek Lit Sin, head of emergency medicine at Jurong Health.

A decontamination unit in front of the emergency room and a vertically-integrated emergency wing accommodates these considerations.

Also the operating theatre at the hospital connects to the intensive care units one level up by one of two dedicated lifts. "So instead of pushing all the way through the hospital, which is quite long - in terms of time, it cuts down the walking distance," said Dr Quek. "And it opens directly into the operating theatre. In the ICU, straight into the room."

The entrance to the mass casualty response room and the ambulance bay are also separated. Additionally, 120 new Patient Service Coordinators will directly coordinate appointments with patients and answer enquiries, said Mr Ng.

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