Sep 4, 2009

Efficient Singapore Polyclinic Triage

Today was not a very good day because I have mild flu. Because of the current flu scare, I made sure I was not having the major one. So I dragged my lazy ass to the Polyclinic to get myself checked out.

There was a queue as expected but overall I was impressed with the system. The line may have been long but once you get your turn, everything else came along smoothly.

I made a simple flowchart on how my polyclinic "experience" was. I find the service quick, efficient and convenient. Sorry no clinic photos. I was unsure if they will allow me to take snaps while waiting.

This is a simple rundown of the process (based on my experience). This is only applicable to Primary Level Care. I havent really experienced going to a Specialist or a Hospital at that. Honestly, I dont even want to know or experience that. But anyway, I would like to share this. 

Polyclinic Procedure:

The first thing you have to do when you get to the clinic is to check whether you have the flu symptoms or not. They have two lines that lead up to the main door. There is one with a green banner (no flu like symptoms) and there is the red one (flu like symptoms). This triage is a good way of telling which patients should be given priority and also to segregate those who may seem "contagious" apart from the others.
For those unfamiliar with the word triage, i got this definition from
A process for sorting injured people into groups based on their need for or likely benefit from immediate medical treatment. Triage is used in hospital emergency rooms, on battlefields, and at disaster sites when limited medical resources must be allocated.
    I have put numbers on the flow chart above and you can follow it along with the corresponding brief descriptions below:
    1) I was on the red Queue since I was experiencing some mild flu symptoms. First was they gave me a surgical mask and gave me a Queue number

    2) Those with flu like symptoms had to take the stairs. There was a red colored "seatbelt on poles" (like the ones you find in the Oscars, lined up by the side of the red carpet so the crowd won't be able to mob the celebrities. sorry i dont know what its called. hehe) that you will find before you get inside the polyclinic. This is to prevent potential H1N1 patients from using the elevator. It was not really disappointing since the next floor is where you will be instructed to go.  You have to sit and wait for your queue number to be called.  I read a book while waiting. I also struggled to put the surgical mask on. The wait time was probably 5-10 minutes.

    3) Once your number is called, a lady/nurse (with a mask on) will call you and give you a little tray to put your belongings (bag, little umbrella etc). Then you get on this electronic weight / height scale. After that, you get your blood pressure taken. Afterwards, they will get your temperature too.The lady will ask you if you have asthma. If you do, she will lead you to another room where another lady/nurse will auscultate and check if you have any wheezing. I dont actually know what they will do if they find any abnormality in your breathing but if youre okay, they put this little clip like thing on your finger (dont worry it does not hurt), hooked to another digital electronic device, and it will measure your Oxygen level. Pretty neat I thought!

    4) Then of course you have to sit again by the plastic chairs to wait for the Doctor to call your number. Actually, the doctor will not call you, each room has an electronic number system on top and if your number is displayed, you can just go in and see the doctor.

    Once you are in, the doctor will of course ask you some basic things like, why you are there and how you feel and when you started feeling "sick". If you have any bowel movements that do not seem normal, they doctor will ask you to lie down and he will check for any weird sounds coming from your belly. This whole procedure lasted for less than 5 minutes. It could be longer for some, but for me and the guy before me, it was really quick.

    After the doctor has presumed to know what you have, you will be asked to wait outside for your medicine.

    5) The waiting time is not too long (this depends on the time of day you visit or if there is "sick" season, Im not sure). The Pharmacy guy receives some instructions through his computer and he goes around getting your medicines from yellow trays in the room. He will call the queue number and confirm your NRIC / FIN then give you a bag with the medicines. You are then instructed to wait for your number to be called for the payment.  The payment section is the next room beside it.

    6) The waiting time did not take too long either. You have the option to pay NETS or cash. I heard that for locals the price is cheaper because they can use their Medisave to pay their bill and a small portion is cash co-payment. Im pretty sure also that they are government subsidized. Unfortunately, Im not a local or PR so I had to pay a hefty $ 30. Well it was okay since back in my country a visit to a doctor would cost $20 and that does not include your medicine yet.

    7) Finally, you are sent home and asked to get enough rest.  They also tell you to come back the next day in case you are still not feeling well.

    Important note:

    They give out a little card that you need to bring for each visit. You have to scan this when you get your height and weight. Also, you have to present it when you see the doctor. This makes it easier for them to access your records and key in whatever diagnosis or treatment was given.


    By the way, if you missed work, dont forget to get the document called MC from the doctor. Also, this is validated upon payment at the Payment Section (6).

    Above all, get your much needed rest when you get home. Drink plenty of fruit juices or fluids. Eat on time and try to eat even if you dont feel like it. Its always nice when there is someone there to take care of you and make sure your temperature is monitored and you take your meds at the intervals given.

    1 comment:

    1. I'll keep this post in mind should I ever need it. By the way... nice flow chart!


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