The Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) has partnered with NCS to “design, build and deploy” a new appointment scheduling optimiser (ASO) amid plans to transform patient experience across all SingHealth facilities.
Scheduled for deployment during the fourth quarter of 2021, the roll-out is designed to enhance clinic operations by reducing patient waiting times and allocating manpower and resources more efficiently. With plans also in place to further scale across all SingHealth institutions, SNEC currently manages an annual workload of 360,000 patient visits via Specialist Outpatient Clinics.
Shaped by NCS’ NEXT expertise - enhanced by the recent acquisition of Singapore-based 2359 Media - the solution leverages artificial intelligence (AI), advanced analytics, deep learning and machine learning technologies with the goal of addressing operational challenges and resourcing.
“Currently, appointment scheduling for all patient visits including those requiring initial consultations and the necessary same-day eye services and investigations is a time and labour-intensive process handled by appointment staff,” said Charity Wai, COO of SNEC.
“To address the growing volume of appointment requests and limited visibility over demand at multiple service stations resulting in bottlenecks and long clinic waiting times, SNEC collaborated with NCS to leverage the ASO to resolve the various pain points.”
Specifically, NCS will deploy advanced data and predictive analytics as well as machine learning to tailor an in-house schedule optimisation ASO platform. Using SNEC data sets with exact patient and operational requirements, AI algorithms will perform supply-demand matching and appointment schedule optimisation with "minimal human intervention". This will run until an optimal daily schedule is reached, matching confirmed patient appointments with all available clinical resources.
“We are delighted with this opportunity to work with SNEC to play a critical role in the digitalisation of healthcare services that will have a tangible impact on the end-to-end patient journey,” added Howie Sim, vice president of Healthcare and Transport Client Service Unit at NCS.
“The first-of-its-kind in Singapore, the ASO marks the first of many use cases in healthcare, such as the improved allocation of hospital beds, operating theatres, and even optimising valuable nurse-to-patient staffing for better care. This is an example of how digitalisation of business operations can revolutionise customer outcomes.”
According to Sim, the ASO operates on NCS’ proprietary Enterprise Schedule Optimisation Platform which offers the opportunity to scale smart scheduling solution capabilities beyond the healthcare sector, maximising data analytics to better predict future resourcing demand and enhance optimisation levels.