New hospital app cuts waiting time
CHON BURI: Chon Buri Hospital has become the first hospital in the country to offer a mobile app that allows patients to check information on government medical welfare packages, a step that can reduce patient waiting times and ease hospital congestion.
The government-run provincial hospital has worked with Kasikorn Bank to create a friendly user-mobile app, known as CBH Plus, which stands for Chon Buri Hospital Plus.
The app has been downloadable since early this year for patients at the most-crowded government hospital in the province.
CBH Plus has been linked to the government database that provides information on all three government medical welfare schemes -- the 30-baht universal healthcare, social welfare and medical welfare given to government officials. The app can help patients check their welfare packages and their entitlements.
Finding information on patients' welfare is time consuming, and can increase patients' waiting times.
Dr Charnwit Chaisuriyaphun, head of the IT department at Chon Buri Hospital, said the app was created to reduce waiting times and relieve congestion.
The hospital has had to deal with one million visits per year. For each visit, the registration process takes one to two hours.
Currently, the app allows some patients to make online appointments, which saves them from registering and joining a queue when they arrive at the hospital. This app provides features for patients to register online in advance.
They only wait for their turn outside the treatment room. It is known as single queue, in which the number is used for the medical consultation, collecting drugs and paying.
However, online appointments at this stage will be applicable to patients already receiving ongoing treatment. Currently this applies to about 400 patients, or 10% of patients that visit the hospital daily.
The CBH Plus app also has a notification feature that updates the real-time queue number so that patients can see where they are in a queue on their mobile phone.
Appointment alerts will remind registered patients of their appointment date and time.
Meanwhile, the application can give patients access to their healthcare records such as drug allergies, medicines taken and lab test results. Online payments will also be available on the application.
The CBH Plus app is the latest example of government hospitals using digital innovation to improve services.
Deputy public health minister, Satit Pitutecha, said new technology is a significant way to improve healthcare services in the country.
"Big efforts from the ministry's medical staff is helping make Thailand's state medical care receive world recognition," said Mr Satit referring to the country's ranking in the US-based CEO World magazine that had the country's public healthcare services listed in 6th place in the world, higher than health services in Spain and France.
In the future, the Public Health Ministry will introduce blockchain technology to help in patient information sharing among hospitals, to make it easier for patients to go to other hospitals. A trial of this technology will be carried out at a government hospital in Samut Prakan province.