New electronics system cuts wait time at cancer centre

With an RFID tag, patients can go off for a meal or take a walk instead of sitting in the waiting area. Half an hour before their treatment is due, they will receive a text message from staff.
PHOTO: New electronics system cuts wait time at cancer centre

SINGAPORE - A new electronics system is cutting the wait time for chemotherapy treatment at the National Cancer Centre Singapore.

But what is perhaps more significant is that the wait is less frustrating because the radio-frequency identification (RFID) system allows patients to go off and have a meal or walk around instead of sitting and waiting for fear of missing their turn.

With RFID, the centre's staff can send patients a text message 30 minutes before their treatment is due, to ask them to return for their chemotheraphy.

The RFID tag each patient is given also enables the nurses to track his location in real time.

As a result, the nurses no longer have to do a manual check of a chemotherapy station to see if a patient has completed his treatment.

Productivity, as a result, has improved, said the centre's deputy director of nursing Chan Mei Mei.

"Today, we can treat about 20 per cent more patients and about 80 per cent of them wait no more than an hour for their treatment.''

Previously, about 35 per cent of patients waited more than 75 minutes to be treated.

The centre treats about 130 chemotherapy patients a day, and last year, it saw more than 35,000 of them.

The system was put on trial in October 2011 and was introduced for good at the start of this year.

It was developed by Integrated Health Information Systems, the Health Ministry's IT arm.

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