The National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) held the topping out ceremony today for its 12-storey new building that will allow for expansion of the clinical services and delivery of care seamlessly in
one location. Minister for Health, Mr Gan Kim Yong, was the Guest-of-Honour at the event.
In line with its patient-centric goal, NHCS will be introducing two streamlined processes, 1 Queue 1 Bill (1Q1B) system and Same Day Admissions, at the new building.
Associate Professor Koh Tian Hai, Medical Director, NHCS said, “The new building has given us a valuable opportunity to restructure our care delivery, putting the patients’ needs first, to improve the experience of care and enhance quality, safety, and efficiency.”
A Simpler and Faster Queue and Payment System
NHCS has piloted a new queue and payment system known as 1Q1B at its current Mistri Wing facility to make the outpatient experience simpler and faster. With the new 1Q1B system, patients just need to register once at the clinic upon their arrival as the system allows the same queue number to be transferred to the various service locations. This saves them time in queuing and requeuing. There is also a single point of payment that combines clinic consultation, cardiac
investigations and medication charges for the day into a single bill.
“About one third of our heart patients are the elderly hence the different queue numbers can be rather confusing for them,” said Mr Alson Goh, Chief Operating Officer, NHCS, “By simplifying the queue and payment process, we estimate a time savings of about 10 minutes for the patients. More importantly it cuts down unnecessary movements, making their outpatient experience a more pleasant one. Our patients are happier as their visit is shorter and more synchronised.”
Previously due to the standalone queue and payment system of the clinic and ancillary service areas, patients had to obtain separate queue numbers and pay separately whenever they visited these service areas. A typical outpatient visit would include seeing the cardiologist, taking blood test and cardiac diagnostic test and collecting the medications. This meant getting at least four queue numbers and making three separate payments.
Moving forward, NHCS will further enhance the patient experience with a smart journey planning system that will dynamically arrange the sequence of service stations in the patient journey plan upon registration and issue a queue slip with the patient’s journey. The system will be smart enough to detect which service stations have the shortest queue and plan the patient’s journey accordingly to minimise the waiting time. There will also be an electronic charge form that consolidates charges for all the services rendered on the same day, in line with the new building’s paperless concept.
With the success of the pilot project, the 1Q1B system will be rolled out at the NHCS new building where over 100,000 heart patients are expected to benefit from it.
Same Day Admissions Helps Heart Surgery Patients Saves Time and Cost
To help heart surgery patients save time and cost, NHCS has redesigned its Same Day Admissions process. The pilot project saw the number of Same Day Admissions patients increased by almost four times from an average of 10 cases a year since 2009 to about 37 cases between September 2011 and June 2012. It also helped patients save a day of ward stay and charges. A day stay in a normal ward costs between $32 and $345, depending on the patient’s class. By reducing the length
of stay, beds can be freed up for patients with more severe forms of heart disease.
In the new workflow, patients requiring simple cardiac surgery such as coronary artery bypass graft and heart valve surgery no longer need to come to the hospital the day before their surgery for blood test and pre-operation orientation. These are incorporated in their pre-admission testing visit a week before the surgery. This new arrangement allows the patients to have a better rest the night before their operation and lessen their anxiety.
With the new building, the Same Day Admissions process will be further enhanced as patients only need to go to one location for the various services like clinic consultation, pre-admission testing and surgery. Previously they have to go at least three separate locations to have all these services done. This could be cumbersome for heart patients especially the elderly.
“Up to 400 patients undergoing elective open heart surgery could benefit from the improved Same Day Admissions process each year,” said Dr Kenny Sin, Head, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, NHCS.
New and Expanded Clinical Facilities and Services at New Building
Located at 5 Hospital Drive, the NHCS new building will have 38 specialist outpatient clinic rooms, six cardiac catheterisation labs and three major operating theatres, doubling its current facility. There will also be a new short stay unit for patients scheduled for day procedures or surgeries such as coronary angiography and coronary angioplasty. This will help to free up more beds for patients with more severe heart conditions. Key clinical services are conveniently sited at level 4 and 5 to
provide patients with greater ease and comfort. It will boost one and a half floor of research facilities that will help to bring cardiovascular research to greater heights.
The new building will have a pedestrian underpass that connects to SGH Block 4 to allow ease of access for patients and visitors in the campus.
Built at a cost of $266 million, the NHCS new building is targeted to be operational at the end of FY2013.
About the National Heart Centre Singapore
The National Heart Centre Singapore (新加坡国家心脏中心) is a 185-bed national and regional referral centre for cardiovascular diseases. It provides one-stop comprehensive preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative cardiac services for heart patients.
Each year, NHCS handles over 100,000 outpatient consultations, 7,000 interventional and surgical procedures and 10,000 inpatients. Its outcomes for heart attack treatment, balloon angioplasty with stenting and coronary bypass surgery have been shown to be equivalent to international standards.
NHCS is the first heart centre outside USA and in Asia to receive the prestigious Joint Commission International (JCI) since 2005, which is an assurance for safe and quality patient care for the patients.