Fri | Oct 19, 2018

NHF Online Services to reduce waiting time for patients

Published:Thursday | April 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
From left: Granville Gayle, senior vice president of information and communication technology, National Health Fund (NHF); Gregory Mair, chairman of the NHF; and Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton engage in conversation ahead of the launch of Quick Prescript at the Spanish Court Hotel, St Andrew, on Tuesday.

Recognising the urgent need to improve the quality of health services, the National Health Fund (NHF) on Tuesday launched its free prescription submission mobile application, Quick Prescript, which is expected to significantly reduce waiting time.

Quick Prescript is a mobile application that, once downloaded, allows patients to submit their prescriptions by taking photographs of them and uploading them to the Quick Prescript app.

Everton Anderson, chief executive officer at the NHF, noted that there had been serious challenges in administering treatment and drugs to patients in a timely manner but indicated that every effort is being made to drastically improve the quality of services.

"We know some of the stories of persons being at the pharmacy from 4:00 a.m., the long waiting times, persons turning away after seeing the long lines. We realise that we had to manage pharmaceuticals in 200,000 admissions per year for hospitals, [and] we had 2.7 million outpatient visits annually, generating 2.2 million scripts. There was inadequate access to funds [and] overcrowding for both inpatients and outpatients," Anderson said.

"We expect that this will reduce waiting time and improve access. This is another positive move in a bid to reduce waiting time."

 

GUARD AGAINST FRAUD

 

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton endorsed the initiative but cautioned staff at the NHF to make sure that everything was done to guard against fraud and other issues that tend to emerge with technology.

"When I was given the opportunity to serve, waiting time, for me, was one of my major pet peeves. When you look at all the surveys, when you listen to the anecdotes from patients, it is not normally that doctors and nurses are not good or providing good quality, it is not even that the hospital is not being run well from an administrative perspective, it's normally two concerns that are raised - the timeliness in the delivery of services and customer service," Tufton said.

"This creates a lot of frustration, and it is not therapeutic by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it amplifies the challenge that the persons have, so we need to fix that."

Patients who are without a smartphone or mobile data will be able to take advantage of the service via Quick Prescript kiosks, which will be placed at select Drug Serv Pharmacies and clinics across the island.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com