The healthcare sector is at an inflection point today. On one hand, standard operating procedures and a risk-averse culture are yielding predictable, high-quality care for patients. On the other hand, healthcare costs continue to rise and new models of care are now required to address the increased burden of chronic diseases on our modern society.
For Singapore-based clinics like Kong Dental Surgery and The Medical Practice, this paradox has mooted the need for a strategic review of how internal processes can be streamlined through the effective use of technology, in order to improve operational efficiency, lower operating costs, enhance the customer experience and enable better quality care for patients now and into the future. By partnering with Assurance Technology to digitally transform their business operations, Kong Dental Surgery and The Medical Practice have since streamlined the bulk of their operational processes with technology, saving valuable time and resources that can be redeployed to more meaningful areas within their remit.
Customer-centric digital transformation to enhance patient experience
As an industry that is known for being resistant to change, healthcare also has the potential to reap wide-ranging benefits from digital transformation. By digitising patient information into Electronic Medical Records (EMR) as a first step, this can enable medical practitioners and support staff to unlock tremendous value through new insights, enhanced collaboration and innovation down the value chain.
For The Medical Practice, managing patient records manually has become increasingly time-consuming and cumbersome over time, especially as the number of patients and records continue to grow. With the patients’ medical history, diagnoses and prescriptions being written manually on paper and filed in physical folders, retrieving medical records and the reading of illegible handwriting has resulted in precious time being wasted, inducing additional stress on staff who are already operating under pressure.
“Keeping medical records on paper is a laborious and time-consuming process. When required, our staff would always need to spend a significant amount of time taking the cards in and out of the drawer, which was very inefficient. Hence, we were looking for a solution that could enable us to streamline our processes, and enhance the overall patient experience,” said Dr Karina Kho, Resident Doctor of The Medical Practice.
“Assurance Technology was very well-known in the market for providing technology expertise for medical clinics like us. With physical records being increasingly harder to manage over time, we decided to take the step forward to work with Assurance Technology to digitally transform our processes by using their Clinic Assist clinic management software built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform,” added Dr Kho.
Streamlining clinic management processes with customised solutions built on the cloud
With over 20 years of experience in developing clinic management technology tools for general practitioner (GP) clinics, specialist clinics, dental clinics and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) clinics, Assurance Technology have continued to improve on their Clinic Assist solution, a cloud-based software built on Microsoft Azure to help clinics of all sizes streamline their processes and operations.
“By enabling clinics to digitise patient records, complete direct submissions for the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS), manage billing, chronic diseases, connect with pharmaceutical representatives for dispensation of drugs, and check for drug-to-drug interactions, duplicated prescriptions and drug allergies via the customised Clinic Assist system, clinics can get all the information they need in one place, without the need to flip through manual records or rely on staff with specialised expertise,” said Peter Hong, Founder of Assurance Technology.
By building Clinic Assist on Microsoft Azure, which meets the requirements for a broad set of international and industry-specific compliance standards, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Multi-Tier Cloud Security (MTCS) Singapore standard and the Singapore Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA); this inspires confidence among Assurance Technology’s customers and provides them with the assurance that their data will be safely secured, while ensuring that the customers will have ownership to their respective data.
“With the growing risk of cyber threats in today’s world, we have implemented a secure password policy where users are required to have an alphanumeric password with a minimum of eight characters, and change their passwords at least twice a year. We also implemented Two-Factor Authentication to provide an extra layer of security, while conducting regular tests to uncover any system vulnerabilities and ensure that our cyber defence mechanisms are up-to-date,” added Hong.
Transforming clinic operations and patient experience for the better
Since adopting Clinic Assist, Kong Dental Surgery has reaped a wide range of benefits, including increased efficiency of its operations and enhanced communication between its clinics.
“With Clinic Assist being built on the cloud, we have since streamlined our call centre operations where one receptionist is able to look at the four different appointment books for our four dental clinics to find available appointment slots. This saves customers the trouble of having to call the clinics separately, as well as help reduce the amount of manpower required to manage appointment booking across our clinics,” said Dr Gloria Kong, Director of Kong Dental Group.
As for The Medical Practice, one other key benefit was their newfound ability to help patients save time by implementing a digital queue system via their mobile app. “Our patients can simply download a mobile app to request for a queue number for medical consultation, while receiving real-time updates on the number of patients that remain in the queue, to know when to head down to the clinic. Rather than sitting in a long line at the clinic to wait for their turn, this makes the queue process more efficient as patients can make more effective use of their time,“ said Dr Kho.
With the first step of digitalisation now completed, Kong Dental Group is also casting their vision to the future, working with Assurance Technology to look at emerging technologies that can be implemented to future improve the patient experience.
“Assurance Technology is in the process of integrating voice recognition and natural language processing into Clinic Assist. While we are now used to writing and typing on our computer screens now, we are looking forward to streamlining this process further by having the ability to input our clinic notes by talking. With voice recognition, this will enable the voice input to be translated into text, and stored in our records even more efficiently,” said Dr Kong.
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