The Admissions Buddy is a new patient portal that makes it possible for patients and their families to do pre-admission administrative and financial transactions from the comfort of their homes.
Before going into surgery, patients or their caregivers have to choose the ward type they would prefer to be admitted to. Although their choice has implications on their hospital bill size, this decision has to be made on top of the apprehension of having to undergo a major surgical procedure. Some might not be in the right state of mind to make a wise or informed choice.
Here to befriend everyone is the Admissions Buddy, a new patient portal that makes it possible for patients and their families to do pre-admission administrative and financial transactions from the comfort of their homes.
“Being able to look at the information in detail and review it at their own leisure does give them more peace of mind,” said Ms Lee Chen Ee, Director, Office for Service Transformation, SingHealth and Chief Operating Officer, National Dental Centre Singapore.
“We wanted to offer patients the option of doing it from the comfort and convenience of their homes so that they won’t have to wait, and can review details with their caregivers, some of whom would be the ones paying the hospital bills.”
The Admissions Buddy can be accessed at https://admissionsbuddy.singhealth.com.sg/
The Admissions Buddy was borne out of this aspiration.
A first in Singapore, the portal allows patients and their caregivers to review the information required for the patients’ hospital admission at their own pace. Patients can now skip the queue, view the estimated hospital bill size based on their preferred ward type, peruse what the different wards look like, and pay a deposit via the patient portal.
The Admissions Buddy is the result of SingHealth’s Financial Counselling Task Force - a tremendous effort made behind the scenes to produce a solution to improve patient and staff experience.
It is led by Ms Lee Chen Ee and Ms Grace Lim, Deputy Group Chief Financial Officer, Service Transformation & Education, SingHealth, and Chief Financial Officer, KKH. Ms Grace Lim added, “it was also important we had the unstinting support from the SingHealth senior management team, who provided the team with valuable inputs and guidance at various project milestones and updates.”
According to Ms Sally Oh, Deputy Director of Admissions and Business Office, KKH, who also leads one of the task force’s workgroups,
“Admissions Buddy allows IT-savvy patients to digest information online before making a decision about their hospital stay, staff can now spend more time on patients with more complex situations such as those undergoing multiple procedures or assisting patients that may require help to navigate through the Financial Aid Schemes they may be eligible for.
Admissions Buddy also allows healthcare professionals to use data analytics to find opportunities to further streamline processes and improve service delivery.”
The cross-institution task force first sought to review the financial counselling process, which included the transfer of hardcopy admission forms into digital format. The pre-existing forms often had illegible handwriting that required more time for face-to-face clarifications, and needed to be manually transported between departments for ordering of pre-admission tests.
The Electronic Admissions Form was developed to allow auto-flow of data into systems downstream, reduce errors to elevate patient safety, and permit ease of data analytics for research in future.
“A close partnership between clinicians and administrators made the electronic admission forms possible”, said Assoc Prof Ong Hock Soo, who leads the clinician workgroup spearheading the development of the form. There have been close to 100% adoption rates across the various SingHealth institutions since the launch of these electronic forms.
Admissions Buddy is representative of a collective effort in enhancing a nation’s healthcare journey, driving a cluster-wide revolution when real needs of patients and staff are identified. The portal has gone on to win the Best Practise (Automation, IT and Robotics Innovation) National Healthcare Innovation and Productivity (HIP) Medal at the National Seminar on Productivity in Healthcare in Oct 2016.