Hospital services

Faster and easier: digital technology streamlines hospital services

Shot by Sun Chao. Edited by Sun Chao. Subtitles by Sun Chao and Cai Wenjun.

Digital technology and a patient-centric service format have streamlined services at Shanghai Chest Hospital.

Patients who need regular screening and follow-up checks of their lung nodules or post-surgery checks in hospital can complete the service with a single service on a single booking.

Previously, such a service required three reservations and three hospital visits. For patients in other provinces, the process would have been much more painful and time-consuming.

As part of standard practice, patients should book an outpatient visit and come see the doctor, who will order a CT scan and other necessary tests. After paying the bill, patients must book the CT check, which is usually arranged a day or two later. After undergoing a CT scan and other tests, patients must book another outpatient service to see the doctor, who reviews the results and gives medical instructions.

For patients who need regular follow-up or postoperative care, this is a practice that should be repeated every three, six or 12 months depending on their condition.

“If the doctor is a leading expert, booking will be much more difficult due to the expert’s popularity and limited quota,” said a patient named Shen from Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province. “It may take between a month and a month to complete the whole process. For patients from other provinces like me, it is extremely tiring and inconvenient, not to mention the cost and time we have to spend on the whole process.”

At Shanghai Chest Hospital, a leading hospital for treating heart, lung, esophagus and trachea diseases in the country, about 55-60% of patients come from other provinces, especially the Yangtze Delta region.

In addition, 60% of patients in the outpatient department are those who come for a regular check of lung nodules or a post-operative examination.

According to the hospital, it performed about 15,000 lung nodule surgeries in 2020. About 30.5% of the patients come from Shanghai, 20.7% from Jiangsu province, 18.6% from Zhejiang province and 8 % of Anhui Province. This means that almost 80% of the patients come from the Yangtze Delta region.

Among patients with lung nodules who do not need surgery currently but need regular follow-up, those in other provinces cover half of the total amount.

“In fact, the practice is not only a waste of patients’ time, but also a waste of limited medical resources, as many doctors waste their precious time on outpatients with patients coming in for regular follow-ups and simple consultations. said Zheng Ning of the Party. hospital secretary.

The hospital decided to break with the usual practice and bring more convenience to patients by condensing the regular follow-up service from three hospital visits to one.

Chao Sun / SHINE

An article explains the one-day service in the outpatient hall of Shanghai Chest Hospital.

Faster and easier: digital technology streamlines hospital services

Chao Sun / SHINE

Patients on day duty can pay the medical bill at the special fund.

The current booking system in local hospitals only provides outpatient booking within one month and test booking within three months. “Our new one-day system is a bespoke system that provides up to a year of booking and outpatient service,” he said.

The trial is now only available for patients requiring postoperative checks and those requiring regular monitoring for lung nodules, as they only require a CT scan and other simple checks, but cover a large amount of outpatient services.

“Combining the three hospital visits into one was not easy,” Zheng said. “But thanks to the development of digital technology and communication and the coordination of the various departments, we have managed to streamline the process.”

The hospital introduced the new service in June and gradually made adjustments based on feedback from patients and medical staff. It is the first hospital in the city to introduce such a one-day service.

“It’s a great reform of the routine health service,” Zheng said.

Under the new practice, doctors make reservations for patients for the next hospital visit and prescribe any necessary checks like a CT scan in the system after completing the current one.

Patients will receive a short message one month before the doctor’s arrangement and make a reservation on the hospital’s WeChat account. The system will remind the patient three days before the booked date. Patients can change the reservation date.

During the day, patients go to the hospital at the appointed time to pay the check bill and undergo CT scans and other biological tests in the morning. Physicians are available to meet with patients in the afternoon to verify all test results and provide follow-up guidelines.

If the patient needs a regular visit to the hospital next time, the doctor will make arrangements in the system, and the patients will repeat the whole process next time. The whole process is completed in one day.

“For patients in the Yangtze River Delta region, we can leave home early in the morning and arrive home just in the evening,” welcomed the new ward, Shen, a patient from Jiaxing. “I enjoyed the one-day service today and it’s extremely convenient.”

A patient from Liyang, Jiangsu Province, said the cost of her hospital visits was significantly reduced with the one-day service.

“I have to spend 1,000 yuan to hire a vehicle and driver from my hometown to Shanghai for a hospital visit every time,” said the patient surnamed Lei. “The transportation from my home to Shanghai takes more than three hours, so we have to stay one or two days for each hospital visit. The total cost of each post-operative check-up is expensive for me.

“I am very happy to hear that the three visits have been combined into one. This is my first time using the service today. It is very convenient and economical for patients like me.”

Faster and easier: digital technology streamlines hospital services

Ti Gong

A patient booking the one-day service undergoes a CT scan.

Officials said public hospitals continue to be criticized for overcrowding and long waiting times. The new service is truly patient-centric and user-friendly and helps address these issues.

As patients have reduced their visits to the hospital, the outpatient hall and waiting room will also become less crowded. It is also an effective measure under the current requirements for the prevention and control of COVID-19.

The practice is also welcomed by doctors, who are freed from simple and repeated service to give more time and service to patients who need surgery or detailed consultation.

Dr. Cheng Xinghua from the hospital’s oncology department said the new department makes the medical department more organized because top doctors can devote more time and energy to complicated cases or patients who need of a surgical intervention.

“The number of patients who come to see me for a CT scan has decreased significantly under the new practice, while more outpatient time remains for patients who need to meet me for a consultation,” Cheng said. . “We can make better use of professional abilities during a limited service time.”

Faster and easier: digital technology streamlines hospital services

Chao Sun / SHINE

Dr. Cheng Xinghua talks to a patient who books the one-day service.

With the new system, the average time for patients to complete the whole process is reduced from the previous 4 days to the current 7 hours, as the hospital has successfully introduced many offline practices, such as repeat visits to the to practice online.