The Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) is the designated national eye centre within the public sector healthcare network. SNEC is part of Singapore Health Services (SingHealth). Annually, SNEC manages a workload of 360,000 patient visits in its Specialist Outpatient Clinics.
Charity Wai, chief operating officer, SNEC noted that the current 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.
To address the current limitations of the system and anticipate future needs the SNEC is working with NCS to design, build, and deploy a new Appointment Scheduling Optimiser (ASO) to transform clinic operations, reduce patient waiting times and allocate manpower and resources more efficiently.
The ASO is scheduled for rollout in the fourth quarter of 2021 and is planned for further scaling and deployment across all SingHealth institutions to improve overall clinic operational efficiency, elevating patient satisfaction and experience.
“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 Appointment Scheduling Optimiser to resolve the various pain points,” said Wai.
Wai pointed out that the ASO is “not a complete ‘overhaul’ but adoption of new IT solution that will improve appointment-making by optimising the sequencing of appointments that will consider the availability/capacity of pre-consult tests. This will help to even the load and prevent bottlenecks.”
Use case for advanced data and predictive analytics
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 perform supply-demand matching and appointment schedule optimisation is done continuously and incrementally with minimal human intervention, until an optimal daily schedule is reached, matching confirmed patient appointments with all available clinical resources.
The ASO operates on NCS’ proprietary Enterprise Schedule Optimisation Platform which offers the opportunity to scale the capabilities of the smart scheduling solution, offering businesses in a range of industries beyond the healthcare sector greater flexibility to customise solutions to better suit their needs.
The ASO will leverage data analytics to better predict future resourcing demand, enhance optimisation and improve long-term resource allocation as well as operational efficiency.
Wai commented that “should there be unforeseen delay in the roll out, SNEC will continue to conduct on-site monitoring and to decant and load balance to mitigate bottlenecks in the individual clinics.”