A patient uses a kiosk to check his fees at a hospital in HCM City. VNS Photo Gia Lộc
HCM CITY — The HCM City Department of Health has instructed hospitals to further improve their services warning that patients are still not satisfied with them.
The latest survey by the department last month found that patients were unhappy about having to wait too long to get medicines covered by health insurance and the lack of seats at public hospitals.
The total number of patients expressing dissatisfaction was 3,952, 1.7 per cent more than in August but 36.2 per cent less than in September last year.
The monthly survey is meant to help hospital managers know about and rectify shortcomings to improve patient’s satisfaction, the department said.
At most public hospitals, it has installed touch screen kiosks for patients to complain about services. The complaints are sent to the department for its monthly survey.
While many hospitals received complaints about the medicines covered by insurance and seats, some have been addressing them using IT solutions.
At Phú Nhuận District Hospital, for instance, prescriptions made by doctors are sent in serial order to the system in its pharmaceutical department. There the department workers check the prescriptions on their computer screens and get the medicines for patients.
Earlier patients had to bring their prescription to the pharmaceutical department and wait to get the medicines.
Dr Võ Văn Minh, the hospital’s director, told Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper the new procedure reduced the waiting time from 34 minutes to 12 and, importantly, prevented errors.
Reforming procedures related to examination and treatment is one of the hospital’s main targets to improve patients’ satisfaction, according to Minh.
The Children’s Hospital 1 has a mobile phone app for parents to register their ill children and fix an appointment from home instead of coming to the hospital, collecting a token and waiting for their turn as they used to do in the past.
They can also pay for the treatment through the application, according to the hospital.
The app also stores, manages and monitors patients’ medical information and reminds them of their follow-up schedule.
Assoc Prof Dr Nguyễn Thanh Hùng, the hospital’s director, said the aim was to create a smart system of healthcare services through a combination of human intelligence and IT solutions, an indispensable need if the country was to integrate globally.
Before introducing the app, the hospital offered this service on its website.
The use of IT helped reduce overloads and burnout for hospital staff and makes healthcare more efficient and faster, he added.
Assoc Prof Dr Tăng Chí Thượng, the department’s deputy head, said hospitals had their own plans to improve administrative procedures.
Those with shortcomings should take the initiative to rectify them, he said.
Statistics from the department show that the number of outpatients at hospitals increased by four million year-on-year in the first nine months of this year.
There were more than 36 million outpatients in all. — VNS