• New building offers comprehensive one-stop service for cardiovascular care
  • Over 400 patients scheduled for outpatient appointments on Day 1

The National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) will start seeing patients at the new building located at 5 Hospital Drive (opposite SGH Block 4) from 10 March 2014. Over 400 heart patients have been scheduled for outpatient appointments on the first day of operations.

The 12-storey new building will offer a comprehensive one-stop cardiovascular care for heart patients. These include 38 specialist outpatient clinic consultation rooms and cardiac laboratories for cardiac diagnostic tests such as exercise treadmill ECG and echocardiogram, which are conveniently sited together at Levels 4 and 5 to minimise patient movement. There is also an Admissions Office/Pre-Admission Tests Centre to provide patients a hassle-free experience for their admissions. The new building houses eventually 6 cardiac catheterisation labs, 3 operating theatres (OTs) and a new 24-bed short stay unit for patients requiring cardiac procedures or surgeries such as coronary angioplasty and heart bypass surgery. To allow a seamless patient transfer between the OTs and the NHCS inpatient wards at SGH, there will be a skybridge at Level 3 linking the new building to SGH Block 4. Heart patients can look forward to more soothing and therapeutic exercise sessions with an expanded cardiac rehabilitation unit that offers a dedicated 30 metres long track with a garden view. The new building will have a pedestrian underpass that connects to SGH Block 4 by March 2014 to allow ease of access for patients and visitors in the campus.

Besides the expansion of facilities, key processes have been streamlined to give patients a seamless outpatient experience. Professor Koh Tian Hai, Medical Director, National Heart Centre Singapore elaborates, “A heart patient can now have his blood test and ECG done at the clinic if the doctor prescribes these tests during his clinic consultation. Previously he would have to go to two separate departments at different floors.” The One Queue One Bill system will also kick in where patients just need to register once at the clinic upon their arrival. The same queue number will be used at the various service locations with a single point of payment that combines clinic consultation, all cardiac investigations and medication charges for the day into a single bill. 

To aid patients in finding their way at the new building, each service floor is marked by a vibrant colour such as green and orange that can be easily spotted especially the elderly. The department names also come with an alphanumeric code. “We recognise that patients may have difficulty remembering the departments’ names especially the long ones. To overcome this, we have added an alphanumeric code to it, for example 8B for Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit and Cardiac Physiotherapy Services. The number reflects the floor where the department is located and the alphabet reflects the proximity from the lift lobby with A being the closest,” said Mr Alson Goh, Chief Operating Officer, National Heart Centre Singapore. To assist patients in familiarising themselves at the new building in the initial phase, additional staff will be deployed as service ambassadors at key clinical areas.

Besides patient care, the new building also houses an expanded 1.5 floors of research facilities to enhance interaction between researchers and clinicians, creating a vibrant academic medicine culture that promotes the translation of research into clinical services to improve patient care.

NHCS is the largest cardiovascular care provider in Singapore. The centre saw over 110,000 heart outpatients in 2013. This number is projected to reach 200,000 by 2030. The new building was awarded the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Green Mark Platinum Award in 2012 for integrating various eco-friendly features that will help NHCS reduce energy consumption by 30 percent, saving about $1.3 million a year.