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Pills in a locker

30 November 2017 / by / no comments

Pills in a locker

Chronic patients have easy access to their med­ica­tion with­out hav­ing to join a queue.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_9408” align=“alignleft” width=“588”] PILL­BOX was first launched at Marine Parade Poly­clinic last year. Today, there is an enhanced ver­sion at Bedok Polyclinic.[/caption]

The Pre­scrip­tion in a Locker Box (PIL­BOX) was first rolled out at Marine Parade Poly­clinic in Feb­ru­ary 2016, allow­ing its chronic patients to col­lect their med­ica­tion after poly­clinic oper­at­ing hours at their con­ve­nience, includ­ing on week­ends and pub­lic hol­i­days. In the past, when patients needed to refill their reg­u­lar med­ica­tion, they would need to take a num­ber and join the queue at the phar­macy. This not only wasted patients’ time, it also added to the con­ges­tion at the poly­clinic pharmacy.

Dis­sat­is­fied with the process, Christina Lim, head of phar­macy oper­a­tions, SingHealth Poly­clin­ics (SHP), decided to do some­thing about it. The Phar­macy Depart­ment brain­stormed ideas and looked beyond the health­care indus­try. “It was the e-​commerce sector’s self-​service model for par­cel col­lec­tion that sur­faced as an appeal­ing solu­tion,” she revealed. “We started to explore how that con­cept could be adapted to our needs.”

The result was Pre­scrip­tion in a Locker Box (PIL­BOX), the first of its kind in Sin­ga­pore. Lim explained, “Patients would make an appoint­ment to col­lect the med­ica­tion. They pay at the pay­ment kiosk next to the lock­ers and the locker door would then auto­mat­i­cally open for them to col­lect their med­ica­tion.” Since PIL­BOX oper­ates round-​the-​clock, patients can arrange to pick up their med­ica­tion at their con­ve­nience, sav­ing them about half an hour of wait­ing time at the polyclinic.

How­ever, spe­cial care had to be taken to ensure patient safety. “Unlike parcels, there can be no mis­takes with med­ica­tion,” said Lim. “The right pack­age has to go to the right patient.” As a safe­guard, two rounds of authen­ti­ca­tion are required when deposit­ing and col­lect­ing the medication.

A chronic patient, 60-​year-​old Kan­dasamy Indramo­han, was all thumbs-​up for the ser­vice. “PIL­BOX is a great ser­vice. Staff at the poly­clinic told me there is a new ser­vice that allows me to col­lect my med­ica­tion later from a locker box. So, I came down on a Sat­ur­day and col­lected my med­ica­tion within a few min­utes, with­out any has­sle. This ser­vice is indeed handy and help­ful for peo­ple in a rush, and do not wish to wait at the phar­macy.” Vol­un­teers are also at hand to assist patients to use PILLBOX.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_9409” align=“alignright” width=“597”] Get­ting one’s med­ica­tion is now easier.[/caption]

An enhanced ver­sion

In August this year, SHP launched an enhanced ver­sion of PIL­BOX at Bedok Poly­clinic, expand­ing the ser­vice to acute patients on repeat med­ica­tions who do not require med­ica­tion coun­selling by the pharmacists.

The enhanced PIL­BOX fea­tures the first self-​cooling med­ica­tion col­lec­tion locker sys­tem in Sin­ga­pore, which is able to main­tain proper stor­age con­di­tions for med­ica­tions with­out the need for the lock­ers to be in an air-​conditioned area. The temperature-​adjustable locker sta­tion also allows patients or their care­givers to self-​collect pre­scrip­tion med­ica­tion which requires refrig­er­a­tion such as insulin or cer­tain types of eye drops. Lim said, “This fea­ture enables the phar­macy to expand the range of med­ica­tions to be self-​collected through a locker sys­tem. The locker sys­tem can store up to 400 to 500 types of medications.”

Bedok Poly­clinic has piloted a Pick & Go ser­vice since the launch of PIL­BOX for patients on repeat med­ica­tions who do not require med­ica­tion coun­selling to pick up their med­ica­tions at the PIL­BOX on the same day of their visit. Instead of wait­ing in the clinic for their med­ica­tions after their doc­tor con­sul­ta­tion, patients or their care­givers can run their errands and return to col­lect their med­ica­tions at PIL­BOX upon receiv­ing a phone text mes­sage inform­ing them that the med­ica­tions are ready. They can col­lect the med­ica­tions at PIL­BOX even after the poly­clinic has closed for the day. The Pick & Go ser­vice can save about 30 min­utes of wait­ing time at the pharmacy.

Two months since its launch, the Pick & Go Ser­vice has already served more than 1,380 patients, an aver­age of 32 patients each day, and the ser­vice has received pos­i­tive feed­back from patients who were aged 18 to 68 years old with either acute or chronic con­di­tions. The com­mon chronic con­di­tions these patients had were dia­betes, hyper­ten­sion and high blood cho­les­terol, while the most com­mon acute con­di­tions were fever, cough and cold.

Accord­ing to SHP, there are plans to pro­gres­sively roll out PIL­BOX in other SingHealth Polyclinics.

(** PHOTO CRED­ITS: SingHealth Polyclinics)



Chronic patients have easy access to their medication without having to join a queue.

PILLBOX was first launched at Marine Parade Polyclinic last year. Today, there is an enhanced version at Bedok Polyclinic.

The Prescription in a Locker Box (PILBOX) was first rolled out at Marine Parade Polyclinic in February 2016, allowing its chronic patients to collect their medication after polyclinic operating hours at their convenience, including on weekends and public holidays. In the past, when patients needed to refill their regular medication, they would need to take a number and join the queue at the pharmacy. This not only wasted patients’ time, it also added to the congestion at the polyclinic pharmacy.

Dissatisfied with the process, Christina Lim, head of pharmacy operations, SingHealth Polyclinics (SHP), decided to do something about it. The Pharmacy Department brainstormed ideas and looked beyond the healthcare industry. “It was the e-commerce sector’s self-service model for parcel collection that surfaced as an appealing solution,” she revealed. “We started to explore how that concept could be adapted to our needs.”

The result was Prescription in a Locker Box (PILBOX), the first of its kind in Singapore. Lim explained, “Patients would make an appointment to collect the medication. They pay at the payment kiosk next to the lockers and the locker door would then automatically open for them to collect their medication.” Since PILBOX operates round-the-clock, patients can arrange to pick up their medication at their convenience, saving them about half an hour of waiting time at the polyclinic.

However, special care had to be taken to ensure patient safety. “Unlike parcels, there can be no mistakes with medication,” said Lim. “The right package has to go to the right patient.” As a safeguard, two rounds of authentication are required when depositing and collecting the medication.

A chronic patient, 60-year-old Kandasamy Indramohan, was all thumbs-up for the service. “PILBOX is a great service. Staff at the polyclinic told me there is a new service that allows me to collect my medication later from a locker box. So, I came down on a Saturday and collected my medication within a few minutes, without any hassle. This service is indeed handy and helpful for people in a rush, and do not wish to wait at the pharmacy.” Volunteers are also at hand to assist patients to use PILLBOX.

 

Getting one’s medication is now easier.

An enhanced version

In August this year, SHP launched an enhanced version of PILBOX at Bedok Polyclinic, expanding the service to acute patients on repeat medications who do not require medication counselling by the pharmacists.

The enhanced PILBOX features the first self-cooling medication collection locker system in Singapore, which is able to maintain proper storage conditions for medications without the need for the lockers to be in an air-conditioned area. The temperature-adjustable locker station also allows patients or their caregivers to self-collect prescription medication which requires refrigeration such as insulin or certain types of eye drops. Lim said, “This feature enables the pharmacy to expand the range of medications to be self-collected through a locker system. The locker system can store up to 400 to 500 types of medications.”

Bedok Polyclinic has piloted a Pick & Go service since the launch of PILBOX for patients on repeat medications who do not require medication counselling to pick up their medications at the PILBOX on the same day of their visit. Instead of waiting in the clinic for their medications after their doctor consultation, patients or their caregivers can run their errands and return to collect their medications at PILBOX upon receiving a phone text message informing them that the medications are ready. They can collect the medications at PILBOX even after the polyclinic has closed for the day. The Pick & Go service can save about 30 minutes of waiting time at the pharmacy.

Two months since its launch, the Pick & Go Service has already served more than 1,380 patients, an average of 32 patients each day, and the service has received positive feedback from patients who were aged 18 to 68 years old with either acute or chronic conditions. The common chronic conditions these patients had were diabetes, hypertension and high blood cholesterol, while the most common acute conditions were fever, cough and cold.

According to SHP, there are plans to progressively roll out PILBOX in other SingHealth Polyclinics.

 

(** PHOTO CREDITS: SingHealth Polyclinics)

 


 

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