19 May 2016, The Straits Times

By: Samuel Mak

Sixty-year-old Kandasamy Indramohan usually visits the Marine Parade Polyclinic in the mornings for medication and has to rush to work after that. However, with a new service called Prescription in a Locker Box (Pilbox), he can collect his refills even after the clinic closes.

Patients schedule a date with the clinic and ask for their regular medication. This will then be put into a
 locker at a kiosk outside the clinic. At their convenience, they can go to the kiosk and make payment before the locker door opens for them to collect their medication.

Like Mr Kandasamy, who has diabetes and high cholesterol, many of the clinic’s patients with chronic conditions stand to benefit from this new feature, which was launched earlier this year.

The clinic, which is run by SingHealth Polyclinics, was closed in May last year for upgrading works. Funded by the Ministry of Health, the redevelopment cost about $4.2 million. It was officially reopened yesterday.

In his opening address at the event, the guest of honour, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, thanked SingHealth Polyclinics staff for taking care of residents in Marine Parade and encouraged them to continue to work hard.

The new clinic has doubled in size and now has 28 service rooms, up from 18. It also has larger waiting areas, X-ray services and elderly friendly features such as ramps, handrails, lifts, low counters and larger signs. Walk-in patients can now call ahead, fix an appointment and turn up at the agreed time rather than go to the clinic and wait.

Mr Kandasamy, who is a general manager in a construction firm, said: “Pilbox is good for regular patients as our prescriptions are usually the same. It cuts down my half-hour to 45-minute wait for medication.”

The facility’s clinic director, Dr Agnes Koong, expects Pilbox to benefit the elderly. “What we realised is that the elderly are willing to try new things but need a human to bridge the gap.” Volunteers from Helping Hands,a clinic initiative, are on site to interact with and help patients in using technology-based services.

Marine Parade resident Veerama P. S. was happy with the upgraded polyclinic.“We can now accommodate more people,” said the 65-year-old. “Everything that should be here is here.”