By implementing one single assessment for Medifund, it is now a seamless experience for patients to apply and get approval for Medifund assistance across SGH Campus and SingHealth Polyclinics.
The Office for Service Transformation (OST) was established in August 2013 to improve patients’ experience by working with all SingHealth stakeholders to create and sustain seamless operations systems.
“Many healthcare professionals are doing a lot of good for their patients. Quality and workflow improvement projects are commonplace in every institution. OST wants to help facilitate projects that have impact on patient services and make them happen across every institution,” explained Lee Chen Ee, Director of OST.
One of OST’s priority areas involved working with Medical Social Workers (MSWs) to reduce waiting time and improve patient experience.
A patient who has multiple medical conditions and seeks help from Medifund had to be assessed at each institution and faced repeated interviews and requests for documents. But not anymore, with the One Medifund Assesment (OMA) is now in place.
By implementing one single assessment for Medifund, it is now a seamless experience for patients to apply and get approval for Medifund assistance across SGH Campus and SingHealth Polyclinics. With a streamlined work flow, enhanced IT systems, new assessment and approval processes and a training manual developed for MSWs, the need for multiple Medifund reassessment is eliminated.
Despite initial concerns over disparities in processes and governance when the project was first discussed, OST supported the MSWs in the massive, wide-reaching project to make the change possible.
The OMA Taskforce was set up in August 2013 for OST to work with MSWs across SGH Campus and SingHealth Group Allied Health. Showing great collaboration between OST and MSWs and with strong support from SingHealth leaders, the radical structural integration across the cluster was achieved within four intense months of combined effort.
From 11 November 2013, patients need only one assessment within a six-month period to be eligible for Medifund assistance throughout SGH Campus and SHP. This new OMA scheme will benefit more than 2,000 patients who previously required multiple assessments for aid, including fully assisted, non-straight forward, inpatient and nonstandard drug cases. MSWs can expect time savings of 103 man-days per year.
The OMA Taskforce was co-chaired by Associate Professor Celia Tan, Group Director of Allied Health, and Lee Chen Ee, Director of the OST. The three workgroups of MSWs were co-led by Esther Lim and Genevieve Wong, Heads of Medical Social Services at SGH and NHCS respectively, and included representatives from the various institutions.
OMA’s benefits are already felt by patients and caregivers. Forty-year-old Madam Goo said, “I no longer need to apply multiple leaves from work just to bring my husband to the different centres. We also do not need to make multiple appointments with the MSW’s to get the assistance.” Within the MSW community, the bond is stronger than ever from the overhaul.
Tan Jie Bin, MSW at SGH said, “My patients do not have to make multiple trips and repeat their stories multiple times. I am also glad that greater trust can be fostered amongst us with increased opportunities for communication, as well as exchange of assessment and knowledge with MSWs of other institutions.”
Lim Si Min, MSW at NHCS, echoed the same sentiment and also underlined the improvement seen since services are integrated under OMA, “The teamwork streamlined our work and minimised unnecessary duplication of effort. Now fewer patients give feedback that they are being asked similar questions multiple times.”
With OMA up and running, OST turns its sights on other collaborations to bring about impactful change for patients - addressing the accessibility of primary and community care and medication availability, better accessibility to outpatient appointments across SingHealth institutions, as well as faster and better lab services at our various SHP sites.