JDWNRH discontinues appointment system in eye dept.
Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) rolled out appointment system for ten of its department around two months back, however it has discontinued appointment consultation in the Department of Ophthalmology (eye) beginning Monday.
The officiating chief program officer with the hospital’s Quality Assurance and Standardization Division (QASD), Jigme Choden said the appointment system for this department was discontinued due to the complex nature of examination and treatment procedure.
“The management was skeptical right from the beginning when the eye department started appointment system because unlike in other OPD, patient avail multiple services in eye department,” she added.
However, Jigme Choden said the department was positive about its smooth functioning and decided to try appointment system in Ophthalmology department.
“We started having problem a month after it started and the department continued to face problem after several tries,” she said, adding that the department and QASD, therefore, finally decided to discontinue it.
“The department is presently running well,” Jigme Choden said.
Meanwhile, JDWRH started appointment system as a pilot project in the three departments of ENT, Gynecology/Obstetrics and Medical in March 2018. After its success, similar system was started for the department of Surgical, Dental, Psychiatry, Dermatology, Orthopedic, Ophthalmology and Pediatric on September 3, 2018.
The officiating chief program officer said the pilot project was a success and many people found it convenient as they did not have to wait in queue unlike the past. It was then rolled out in JDWNRH’s seven departments.
Three months following the initiation of the appointment system, the QASD also carried out a waiting time survey and it was found that the waiting time was drastically reduced.
“This was because patients were given scheduled time and the survey found that all the patients were seen on or before the appointment time,” Jigme Choden said.
However, she added that the reduction of patients’ waiting time was not justified in Ophthalmology department since most patients need around twothree hours to complete the whole process. It was also found that most of the patients failed to turn up for their appointment for various reasons, thus wasting the allocated time for consultation.
Meanwhile, the appointment system in JDWNRH was introduced to reduce patient waiting time and as a strategic response to the recommendation and findings of Royal audit Authority’s performance report and QASD survey.
The RAA performance audit on delivery of OPD services in JDWNRH found that average patient waiting time in medical and General OPD was beyond the set target of 45 minutes. And the survey carried out by QASD in 11 OPDS in 2017 found that the average waiting time was 1 hour and 9 minutes.
The medical superintendent of JDWNRH, Dr.Gosar Pemba said the appointment system was initiated not only to reduce waiting time but also to improve quality of OPD services because appointment system allowed every patient 10 minutes time to take quality consultation and examination in detail.
A patient who had come for consultation, manager of Changjiji Youth Center Kinley Phub said the appointment system is very convenient. He added, “I don’t have to stand in line for hours and the appointment is immediate and early for severe cases.”
He said the hospital is also flexible for those who are still unknown to the appointment system.
Jigme Choden said provisions are also kept in all the OPDs for walk in patients as the hospital still gets several patients everyday who are not aware of the new system.
“Many still fail to get an appointment even though multiple announcements have been made on national television,” she added.
Jigme Choden added that one main concern since the introduction of the appointment system was people not turning up on scheduled time.
“On a daily basis ‘no-show’ is about 8-10 cases. Therefore, hospital requests all individual who makes appointment to show up on time or inform the receptionist so that the slot can be prearranged for those in need,” she added.
Meanwhile, to get an appointment on the next day, a patient will have to call the concerned department between 10 am to 3 pm.