Electronic medical record system delays, longer wait times

Electronic medical record system delays, longer wait times

SINGAPORE: A disruption to the electronic medical record system caused delays in registration and longer wait times on Thursday Sep 29 at hospitals and polyclinics, under the National Healthcare Group NHG and the National University Health System NUHS. Some non-urgent appointments had to be rescheduled.

Patients who needed urgent medical assistance were promptly attended to by NHG, NUHS and Integrated Health Information Systems IHiS on Saturday in response to CNA's queries on Thursday.

Staff on the ground helped to support patients because of a delay in registration and longer wait times. Patients who fasted as part of their medical procedures were offered drinks and biscuits to cope as necessary. The healthcare institutions affected by the vote include Woodlands Polyclinic and Yishun Polyclinic.

A Kannan, who had a blood test scheduled that morning, told CNA he had issues getting a queue number on his HealthHub app before his appointment.

Patients can get a queue number on the app 30 minutes before their scheduled appointment time.

Kannan then left home earlier to get a queue number from the self-help terminals at Woodlands Polyclinic, but said the terminals were shut down describing the situation there, as chaotic staff told patients to obtain a queue number, reschedule appointments or contact the contact centre.

He said that his wife, who had another appointment at the same polyclinic, was also told to reschedule it due to the outage.

He said that he would have to wait for two to three hours to be called, because he decided not to wait for the polyclinic to call him for his next appointment.

There was no announcement on the HealthHub about the situation at the polyclinic and calling the helplines did not help either. Another CNA reader who didn't want to be named said she faced similar issues with the self-help terminals at Yishun Polyclinic when she arrived at 9.50 am for her 10 am appointment.

Polyclinic employees at the entrance told her that the entire system was down with a waiting time of two to three hours.

A polyclinic staff member advised to head home and reschedule the appointment via the HealthHub app when the system is up.

She said it would be better if there was a SMS alert or announcement on the Facebook page to inform the affected patients.

Most of them were turned away, but those who did not mind waiting still queued to register. In their joint reply to CNA's queries, NHG, NUHS and IHiS said they received reports of users having difficulty accessing the electronic medical record system at around 3.40 am on September 29.

The affected institutions activated their business continuity measures, and the system was restored at 1 pm on the same day, they said.

We are monitoring the situation and the system is stable, sais NHG, NUHS and IHiS.

We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused and express our appreciation to patients, staff and members of the public for their patience and kind understanding while the system was restored.