SINGAPORE - By the end of the year, Eunos Polyclinic will launch Singapore's first vending machine for self-collection of prescribed medication, allowing patients to skip queues and get their medicine quickly after consultations.
This is part of the polyclinic's effort to offer patients a fully digital visit experience, from appointment booking and registration to payment and medicine ordering.
They can also receive medical care remotely through its telehealth programmes, including video consultation, remote care monitoring and telecare support.
Speaking at the official launch of the polyclinic at 1 Chin Cheng Avenue, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung highlighted the importance of a team-based approach to primary healthcare, which involves assigning a dedicated team to each patient as far as possible to build up a relationship.
"A typical team has up to three family physicians, whose core responsibility is to adopt a relationship-based approach in good chronic disease management," he said.
"With a good relationship comes trust, and with trust comes the patient's willingness to heed the advice of the doctor. Then patients can be empowered to self-monitor and self-care."
The minister noted that individuals taking responsibility for their health and learning how to take care of themselves with the help of doctors is important for Singapore to achieve better health outcomes.
This can be achieved through services provided by registered nurses acting as care managers, such as chronic disease counselling and teaching patients the skills needed to manage their stable chronic conditions.
Other members of the patient's healthcare team may include a care coordinator who provides pre-consultation screening of patients to find out if they have underlying chronic diseases, whether they have taken relevant vaccinations and their state of mental health and frailty.
There may also be a care coach, who will look into social aspects of health such as family issues or lifestyle adjustment, as well as allied health professionals and hospital specialists.
"The care team must know that the entire healthcare system is supporting their work to care for patients," Mr Ong said.
Eunos Polyclinic's approach is in line with the Health Ministry's Healthier SG strategy, which it rolled out in Parliament in March, during the debate on its budget. This initiative will shift focus away from the traditional approach of illness-based hospital care to a more sustainable way of patient-centred preventive care.
A White Paper on the strategy will be presented in Parliament later this year.
Aside from providing outpatient medical care and treatment for chronic and acute conditions, Eunos Polyclinic will offer radiological services, women's and children's health services, immunisations, diagnostics and dental services, as well as allied health services such as physiotherapy and podiatry.
The women's and children's health services area in Eunos Polyclinic. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Eunos Polyclinic will launch Singapore's first vending machine for self-collection of prescribed medication by the end of the year. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
The polyclinic, which first opened its doors to patients on Dec 17 last year, is located about 10 minutes away from Eunos MRT station by foot. It is the ninth polyclinic under SingHealth Polyclinics and the 23rd in Singapore.
Mr Ong noted that the country is on track to have 32 polyclinics by 2030.
A dedicated area on the second floor of Eunos Polyclinic, which was inspired by information technology stores, features tablets for patients and caregivers to gain health knowledge through video content and try out apps like SingHealth's Health Buddy, which allows them to access services such as appointment booking, registration and payment.
The space can also be converted to host health talks and has an attached kitchenette for cooking demonstrations to promote healthy eating.
The polyclinic has been designed with mental well-being in mind, featuring music, art and nature throughout the building.
It is co-located with a senior care centre that opened in January and is run by the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS). There will also be a nursing home run by MWS across the road in the future. The site at 170 Still Road, which previously housed the Police National Service Department, is currently under development.
Map: STRAITS TIMES GRAPHICS