Whenever Mr Christopher Foo’s father visited Singapore General Hospital (SGH) for one of his many medical conditions, Mr Foo had to take at least half a day off work. However, after enhancements to the hospital’s Medicine Ordering Service, those visits take far less time now.
“This service has made my life a lot easier. Once the doctor’s consultation is done, I can send my dad home. The ordering of medication can be done online,” said Mr Foo, pointing out that, before, they had to wait to pay the bill after seeing the doctor and then wait to collect and pay for his father’s medications.
While the service has been available for some years, the latest changes improve the process greatly, said Ms Lim Ching Hui, Pharmacy Practice Manager, Pharmacy – Administration Department, SGH.
Accessed via either SingHealth’s HealthBuddy or the HealthHub mobile apps, the service includes a list of the medications that the patient has been prescribed. It also records how much of each medication has been collected and the remaining amount that can be ordered. If all of the medication prescribed by the doctor has been collected, the patient will not be able to place any more orders.
“With the ability to check medication balance online, patients are empowered to manage their medication supply,” said Ms Lim, adding that the service provides patients with the convenience of access to medications they need.
Previously, ordering medications through the app was more cumbersome and time-consuming. For instance, a photo of the paper prescription needed to be uploaded. Patients who do not track how much of their medications has been collected will have their request for a medication top-up turned down. They will be asked to see their doctor for a review to be given a fresh prescription. The ordering process, said Ms Lim, is now more seamless.
The enhanced app also allows patients to nominate their family members or caregivers to order medications, and have them delivered to a preferred address on their behalf. For patients who need help with medication ordering, SGH is partnering social service agency, Montfort Care, under a pilot project.
“With this collaboration, our partners can contact us to resolve issues in a timely manner. We hope to spread this initiative to other community partners in time to come,” said Dr Khee Giat Yeng, Senior Principal Clinical Pharmacist, SGH.
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To ensure that patients understand how to take their medications, the Pharmacy Department calls them or arranges for a video consultation, if needed.
This service will be gradually rolled out to SingHealth Polyclinics and other institutions in coming years.
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