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Chronic-disease patients can now monitor health at new kiosks

SINGAPORE — Instead of waiting up to two hours just to see the doctor and get medication, chronic-disease patients can now simply pop into a kiosk to assess their condition, then collect their medicine right away.

At the kiosk, patients have their blood pressure, height and weight taken, and their conditions assessed via a customised questionnaire. Photo: Tan Weizhen

At the kiosk, patients have their blood pressure, height and weight taken, and their conditions assessed via a customised questionnaire. Photo: Tan Weizhen

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SINGAPORE — Instead of waiting up to two hours just to see the doctor and get medication, chronic-disease patients can now simply pop into a kiosk to assess their condition, then collect their medicine right away.

At the kiosk, patients have their blood pressure, height and weight taken, and their conditions assessed via a customised questionnaire. Led by Eastern Health Alliance and SingHealth Polyclinics (SHP), and funded by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, MyHealth Kiosk was launched today (Oct 15) after a trial with over 200 patients using two different kiosks at two locations.

Since March at Bedok Polyclinic, over 100 patients with diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia have used the kiosk to monitor their condition.

And since September, clients at the Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities (THKMC) Bedok Radiance Senior Activity Centre have used the kiosk to monitor their health status via a lifestyle questionnaire. Questions include whether they have regular meals and exercise.

The kiosks reduce the number of unnecessary visits to the doctor for patients with well-controlled chronic conditions, and spares them from having to queue to see a doctor, said Dr Eugene Shum, chief corporate development officer of Eastern Health Alliance, at a media briefing at Bedok Polyclinic today. Instead of consulting the doctor four times in a year, chronic patients can head to the kiosk for their second and third visits, and collect their medication from the pharmacy after that, he said. If the kiosk deems them unfit, they will be referred to a doctor or nurse.

According to Dr Juliana Bahadin, clinic director for SingHealth Polyclinics at Bedok, about 62 per cent of patients who visit the polyclinic do so for chronic diseases. Patients who use the kiosk welcomed the shorter time required, but those who are older said it could be hard to use.

The kiosks issue instructions in three languages — English, Chinese and Malay — and there are audio instructions available for those who are illiterate.

Airport employee Kiran Sharma, 52, felt the instructions given were simple and clear. “It is convenient and very fast, good that we don’t have to queue up. I had to wait about an hour last time, just to measure my blood pressure,” she said.

“Now, I wish these kiosks can be placed in convenient places like void decks or community centres, which will be nearer (for patients).”

Retiree Tan Ah Lan, 67, had a tougher time. Speaking in Mandarin, she said: “I’m not sure how to use it, so my friends have to help me each time.”

Four more kiosks will be introduced in the next six months, with their locations to be determined. The six kiosks cost S$500,000, according to Eastern Health Alliance.

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