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6/18/2009

Scoring hospitals

Lee Soh Hong, an accountant, started a website to monitor performances of public hospitals by feedbacks from the public. If this is taken positively without fear or feeling under scrutiny, it could go a long way. No one likes to be publicly scrutinised or have a complaint box ready to receive complaints about them. But this will be the trend as customers wise up to their rights and demands better service for the money they are paying. I was at the NUH for a couple of occasions recently and have made some observations. We have very good medical and support staff manning the institutions, especially the doctors and nurses. We have the best and most modern equipment available. But they are not perfect, especially the software. I feel that they need to have someone full time to look at the software aspects, on how to take good care of customers and their needs, not just medical alone. The quality of the medical care is a given. It is the small nitty gritties that are still found wanting. I did mentioned in the previous post about the PA system. Maybe it was because of some restructuring and relocation due to the H1N1 crisis. Even then a little thought will have make things easier and friendlier to the customers. When I raised this to the staff who was trying his best to help, he told me to write in. This amazed me. Why my on the spot feedback was not enough for him to raise it internally? Why is it that feedback must be written officially for it to be acted on? The other part that I want to repeat is the appointment time and when the patients will eventually be seen by the doctors. After 30 or 40 years, we are still seeing patients having appointments at 9am and seen at 10 or 12 noon. The wait is unnecessarily long. Perhaps there are good medical reasons to do so. To a patient, going to the hospital early and having to wait and wait is bad. In my recent encounter I find that if the staff were to put more urgency or priorities in clearing the patients and let them off over some routine paper works, it would surely help. Spending 5 or 6 hours waiting for a treatment which often ended with 10 or 20 min with the doctors is very difficult to justify. Attempts should be made to cut down this waiting time as many people's time are wasted unnecessarily. My comments are from someone looking from the outside. There must be good reasons to drag the procedure for hours. If not, then the long waiting time is unacceptable.

20 comments:

Wally Buffet said...

Hi Redbean,

Hope your relative is recovering well after the cataract problem. My wife had cataracts ops on both eyes at TTSH done by a world class ophthalmologist and we are fully satisfied with the outcome. And at a very affordable cost too. Truly outstanding! Small wonder that I still see lots of Malaysian registered cars in our local hospitals' carparks!

Typically, when you see a specialist in a government hospital, the poor sod is overbooked possibly by as much as 200 % so some waiting time is a given. The quarrel is with how long we have to wait. The reason why appointments are overbooked is because there are many who do not come for their appointments so the simplest solution is to overbook so that the specialist's time is well spent to take care of as many patients as possible within the working day. My experience with private specialists is that they are only marginally better than the government ones, especially those with a large clientele. However, there is a big disparity in consultation fees so one cannot have your cake and eat it too. Frankly, waiting is not a big problem. You can always surf the net on your netbook or catch up with some reading.

Being government bodies, public hospitals still have protocol to observe in implementing feedbacks from patients because whatever they do will affect the smooth running of other departments. So what I normally do is to email the CEO of the hospital concerned with my suggestions. I find that they are usually very receptive to feedbacks and if the suggestion has merit, will be implemented.

My personal ranking of local hospitals is:

1. TTSH
2. KKH
3. CGH
4. SGH
4. NUH
5 AH

Hmmmmmm.....I haven't been to the IMH. Just wondering how good they are! LOL.

Hey Redbean, I have a picture taken looking out from my waterfront tent home at Changi Point in my blog. Please look and critique and see where I can improve. I heard Lijiang and Dali in Yunnan province is a good place for some scenic photography. Any comments?

redbean said...

our eye specialists are world class, among the best. this is something we can be proud of. the services are good. i was nitpicking and i am sure the hospitals too would want feedback to better themselves. they are doing a terribly good job, i must say.

lijiang and dali are great for photobuff. i will like to take a look at your pic. what is your blog by the way. sorry, can't recall.

Wally Buffet said...

wallybuffet.blogspot.com

redbean said...

hi wally,

nice shot. ok, since you want some comments. 1. remove the dustbin and the crane. just reposition yourself shld do it. 2. use the widest angle possible and change the format to landscape to give a bigger expanse sideways. 3. use the smallest aperture possible to catch the colour of the sky. this can be done by using a tripod and lower the speed or increase iso. 4. composition is ok, minus what i said in 1.

this is at changi point?

Wally Buffet said...

Yep, this is Changi Point where I live during the current hot weather.

In a tent, my own waterfront property!

Free some more. Who says it's costly to have the good life in Singapore?

redbean said...

i always recommend blogging and photography as two inexpensive hobbies for the oldies. no need to spend hundreds of dollars to attend theatre or concert.

life can be interesting in anyway you choose it.

Wally Buffet said...

Reading your writings gives me the impression that you are a very frugal man. C'mon Redbean, loosen up and go a little wild now and then! :-)

redbean said...

hi wally, i just spend within my means. once in a while pamper myself a little treat. nothing audacious : )

Anonymous said...

Have some beer and coffee at Changi Point Hawker Centre or the many restaurants there will be nice. There are good food at economical price, love the corner nasi lemak stall with long queue.

The place is no more as crowded as when it was popular at a time when a certain trade was flourishing.

After makan, take the boardwalk and walk up to an unused Former British Army Barrack that looks like a posh mansion at the top of a desolate corner. Go before it's dark.

Ah; sorry I got carried away and strayed too far, please forgive !

Anonymous said...

his postings on the AWARE saga tells me he is a straight dude, i cud be wrong.. heehee

Anonymous said...

"Why my on the spot feedback was not enough for him to raise it internally? Why is it that feedback must be written officially for it to be acted on?"

Exactly my sentiment too!

Anonymous said...

"Why my on the spot feedback was not enough for him to raise it internally? Why is it that feedback must be written officially for it to be acted on?"

Exactly my sentiment too!

Francis Chua

redbean said...

changi village is still a very nice laid back place. a place full of child hood memories. it was a place we headed for during school vacations, taking the buses out there.

but not much of the originals are left along the beaches, except for the village.

Wally Buffet said...

Huh? The spot where I pitched my tent and which is home to me is still as it was 55 years ago. But back then, there were no Net books to post comments, no Ipods to listen to my favourite crooners, no Iphones to call my stockbroker and certainly, the air was cooler and cleaner.

singaporegirl said...

Hi Red Bean: being a regular user of TTSH (because of my mum, dad n other relatives), I can vouch for Wally's ranking. TTSH is the tops!

here's my song n dance abt it:

http://singaporegirl.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/lies-lies-damn-surveys/

also, agree with u redbean that oldies (or youngies for that matter) can have great fun and improve their writing/reasoning skills thru blogging.

I've written to Phua Kok Tee of Sage abt this, suggesting instead of putting them on all sorts of computer literacy courses (costly, if not to the learners, then the tax payers) n wot hav u, just get them to access the Net for free e-learning n then create blogs...

Anonymous said...

Doctors and other Healthcare Professionals are mostly caring lot though they are unlikely to be as nice and friendly as Insurance Sales People.

redbean said...

hi singaporegirl, welcome again.

yes, the users of the hospitals are the best judge of their effectiveness. what the hospital administrations can do is to put themselves in the place of patients and their caregivers and try to make things easier for all.

the computer literacy programme is good but can be more targetted. basic internet skills can do a lot for the oldies and much easier than trying to relearn all the computer staff. the able can go on to learn more. for many, to be able to navigate the net and blog is a great freedom itself.

yes, they should get the oldies and homebound to blog. spending on bus/mrt fares is so wasteful.

about being nice and friendly are part and parcel of the professions. some need not be nice and friendly. some can talk down on people and bully people as well ;)

Wally Buffet said...

"some need not be nice and friendly. some can talk down on people and bully people as well ;)"

This is no longer the culture in our government hospitals and for the private hospitals, to a greater extent. People are now very knowledgeable so these professionals cannot bluff their way through. For all health matters of my entire family, I speak to medical practitioners on an even footing, even pointing out to them, current research on the issue of which they are still not aware. So times have change and they too must change their attitude towards their patients.

Wally Buffet said...

Computers and the net has changed my life.

Instead of idling with other oldies sitting in coffee shops, playing mahjong or staring at the ceiling in the void decks, I

1. Haunt Sim Lim square to search for the latest technology and build faster computers.

2. Attend faithfully all the computer shows and exhibitions for new gizmos and super deals.

3. Absorb new knowledge from the net everyday.

4. Read what others are thinking, for example, what's on redbean's mind.

5. Place my bets on forex and the stock markets.

6. See and know what my children and grandchildren are doing overseas via video conferencing, email, facebook, tweeter etc.

7. See and explore the places I want to go via Google Earth. Buy my airtickets and book hotels via the net. No need to deal with shady tour agencies.

The world is right there on your keyboard. Why the Ah Peks want to sit in a coffee shop with all the noise, filth and humidity is beyond me.

And now, courtesy of Redbean, I want to develop the new hobby of digital photography. All the resources I need is just a click away!

redbean said...

hi wally and all,

there is a fierce posting in TOC on TTSH which contradicts all that you people have said.