Patients at 6 polyclinics who test negative for coronavirus will get results by SMS

The system will also automatically alert healthcare institutions when patients test positive. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Patients from six polyclinics can now get SMS notifications of their Covid-19 test results from laboratories if the outcome is negative.

The remaining 12 polyclinics here are expected to roll this out for their patients by mid-May.

The SMS notification is part of an IT system launched by the Ministry of Health Office for Healthcare Transformation (MOHT) to quickly and automatically inform patients of their negative test results.

Called iConnect.Covid, the system will also automatically alert healthcare institutions when patients test positive. The institutions will then call the patient to arrange transport to take them to the relevant healthcare facilities.

The system was jointly developed by MOHT and Integrated Health Information Systems, said the office and National University Polyclinics (NUP) in a statement on Monday (May 4).

NUP runs the six polyclinics - in Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Jurong, Pioneer and Queenstown - that began using the system in April.

The other 12 polyclinics slated to use the system by the middle of the month are under National Healthcare Group Polyclinics and SingHealth Polyclinics.

MOHT and NUP said that using technology in this way is particularly important as the country begins actively testing those who meet the case suspect definition at all polyclinics and selected GP clinics.

"Patients who test positive remain the priority for prompt transportation for immediate attention at relevant facilities. As test volume grows, there is also interest to improve the capture and notification of the majority of patients who test negative," they said.

Previously, much of, if not all, communication of virus testing information to patients, as well as healthcare institutions, was done through manual entry, spreadsheets, e-mails and phone calls.

By automating this process, the system reduces the stress and workload of front-line healthcare workers, said MOHT and NUP.

NUP's chief executive officer, Dr Lew Yii Jen, said it can also increase the productivity and coordination of healthcare responses at "a time when polyclinics are working in overdrive to test patients...(and) consolidating and sharing data accurately and communicating to patients in a timely manner can be challenging".

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