​Not quite the Lionel Richie song, but our trusty new ‘colleague’ called BILLie may be just the gal you’ve been looking for to answer your hospital-related financial questions.

For more than half the year, Juliana Soh, Senior Executive, SGH Patient Financial Services – previously known as Business Office – and her colleagues have been working hard onboarding her industrious new colleague. 

"We have been training BILLie, for the past 9 months. She will be helping our patients or their family members to get answers for their hospital-related financial enquiries. The best part about BILLie is that she never sleeps,” said Juliana.

A customer service officer who never sleeps? What?? Before you get ahead of yourself, BILLie is a chatbot at the heart of our PFS Portal (www.sgh.com.sg/PFS ) launched by SGH’s Patient Financial Services (PFS) team.

Juliana and her PFS colleagues have been working on the chatbot 'ask Billie', that helps patients with their financial enquiries.

“Over the years, SGH has introduced several initiatives to minimise our patients’ dwell time in the Hospital and to empower them to self-help through kiosks and online solutions. The PFS Portal enables patients to pay their bills online, request for a copy of their final bill for claim purposes, or enquire about their bills from the comfort of their home or on the go,” said Ong Mei Ling, Deputy Director, Patient Financial Services. “We are teaching our patients to add the Patient Financial Services portal as a shortcut on their mobile phone. Patients can access this portal to view and pay their bills or get help by asking our chatbot, BILLie. The service is available 24 hours.”

If you have been to Level 1 of SGH Block 4 recently, you may have noticed that the space previously occupied by our Business Office has been transformed into a 24-hour PFS Self-Service Lobby. Over-the-counter transactions and services previously provided at the Business Office have not been available since early June, as we prepare patients and staff for the change.

The 24-hour PFS Self-Service Lobby at SGH Block 4, Level 1

Instead, from July 2021 onwards, patients who are physically in SGH can use the mounted self-help tablets to access the portal. Colleagues who used to work behind the counters will be on-site during office hours to render assistance. "If the patient asked tough questions that Billie is unable to answer, our staff would be around to help. We will also use the tough questions to train the chatbot,” says Juliana.

Indeed, one of the key challenges was the intensive bot training. “We had to ask 'her' as many questions as possible. This helps to train the chatbot to be ready for public use. We also have to ensure the answers are consistent across SGH and other SingHealth institutions KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Sengkang General Hospital. The questions must also be varied. We spent over 50 hours coming out with the different permutation of questions that the public may ask. By continuously mapping and refining the answers, we make Billie more and more 'clever',” explained Juliana.

Curious about our BILLie gal? Chat with her at www.sgh.com.sg/PFS

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