SingHealth to give out digital MCs from March 31

From tomorrow, patients visiting hospitals, national speciality centres and polyclinics under SingHealth will receive digital medical certificates.
PHOTO: SingHealth

Patients visiting hospitals, polyclinics and most national speciality centres under SingHealth will receive digital medical certificates (MCs) instead of hard-copy versions from tomorrow.

The new DigiMC system developed by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) will also be used at private institutions such as Raffles Medical and Mount Alvernia Hospital.

"Digital MCs offer patients greater convenience, streamlines clinical and administrative workflows and is environmentally-friendly," said Dr Goh Min Liong, SingHealth's group chief medical informatics officer.

Raffles Medical launched a DigiMC pilot this month and aims to roll the system out fully by June, barring delays arising from the coronavirus situation, a spokesman told The Straits Times.

Mount Alvernia also plans to roll the system out in a few months.

But the system will not be implemented at the National Neuroscience Institute, which is also under SingHealth, by tomorrow, ST understands. This is because it is located at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital campus under the National Healthcare Group (NHG), another public healthcare cluster.

NHG said it intends to use the DigiMC system in the future, and has initiated discussions with GovTech.

Private healthcare provider Parkway Shenton, which is upgrading its electronic management record system, will also review how its system can interface with DigiMC.

A DigiMC pilot was carried out at all SingHealth institutions in December, the public healthcare cluster said yesterday.

More than 400,000 digital MCs have been issued since the pilot started and over 80 per cent of the more than 17,700 patients surveyed were satisfied with the initiative, said SingHealth.

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Digital MCs, which can be accessed via a URL sent to patients, eliminate the need to submit a hard copy to employers or seek a replacement if they are misplaced.

Patients get the digital MC via SMS within five minutes of the doctor issuing it during a clinic visit or hospital stay.

A patient unlocks the MC by keying in his date of birth. Once unlocked, patients can forward the SMS or the URL to their employers or relevant parties.

The URL will not expire and patients can access the MC whenever they need it. They can also download and share or print the MC.

As these digital MCs are hosted and displayed on a government domain, employers are better able to determine if the documents are legitimate.

Paper MCs will still be provided for those who do not own mobile phones or do not have mobile numbers registered with the healthcare institution.

This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.