HGH to make OPD referral by May-end
LANI ROSE R DIZON
DOHA OUTPATIENTS heading for Hamad General Hospital (HGH) will soon have to have a referral from a primary health centre (PHC), but would be spared the effort of booking an appointment at the hospital.
On Sunday, the Outpatient Department (OPD) urology clinic of the HGH implemented the new arrangement, which will be rolled out across all clinics by the end of May, a senior official of the hospital said.
Called the fixed time appointment system, it will give priority to critical and urgent cases besides Qatari patients and cut waiting time for all urgent cases including those of non-Qataris to two-to-three days.
Waiting time for routine, nonurgent cases will also be reduced to a maximum of two weeks for Qataris. The waiting time for non- Qataris will also decrease gradually, HMC Managing Director Dr Hanan al Kuwari said.
“The launch of the new system is a continuation and confirmation of the success of the new appointment system achieved by the Women’s Hospital in October 2009 and the HGH’s Paediatric Outpatient Clinic in May 2011,” she said.
With the implementation of the new system, walk-in patients (those without a prior appointment) will no longer be admitted to the HGH Outpatient Department. New patients who wish to see a specialist doctor at the hospital’s OPD will need to get a referral from a doctor from the primary healthcare centre, the emergency department, or paediatric emergency centre (for children), as the case may be.
Patient referrals from the Primary Health Centre or Emergency Department will be forwarded to the HMC through the newly developed Patient Contact Centre (PCC) obviating the need for patients to call or visit the hospital to book an appointment.
Following an evaluation of the patient’s medical case by the specialist doctor, the PCC will call the patient to arrange an appointment at a time that is convenient for him to visit the OPD clinic, Dr Kuwari said.
Talking in detail about the new system she said that the new fixed time appointment system was established to support services offered by HMC to all patients. This is part of its commitment to providing the best diagnostic and treatment services that meet the highest international performance standards.
Hospital employees have been trained for the roles they have to play to ensure the success of the system.
HMC Business Development Assistant Executive Director Paul Mavin pointed out that HGH Outpatient Department doctors see over 1,500 patients each day and as many visit it to book their appointments.
“From today, we’ll be making it much easier for patients to book their appointments without having to come to the hospital. Moreover, we’ll be reducing the time that patients have to wait before they get an appointment with the specialist. Also, we’ll be reducing the time patients have to wait to see the specialist once they arrive at the hospital.
And finally, we’ll be increasing the amount of time that doctors will be able to spend with each one of their patients,” Mavin said.
HMC Centre of Healthcare Improvement Executive Director Nasser al Naimi said that the PCC would serve as the main point of contact for all patients referred to OPD clinics. Patients may contact the PCC between 7am and 6pm on +974 4439 5777 to enquire about their appointments; change or cancel them.
Dr Muna Almaslamani, assistant chairperson at the department of internal medicine in-charge of outpatient clinic was also present during the event.