A patient’s experience: How long does it take to consult a doctor?

20160831160000, Rui Ling Teo
Have you ever wondered what’s involved in a patient’s process of obtaining medical consultations and treatments?
Falling sick can be a real drag. After all, schedules are unwittingly overturned, plans are cancelled and long-awaited plans have little choice but to be placed on the backburner.

In both Malaysia and Singapore, streamlined healthcare systems provide patients with efficient and fuss-free ways to obtain medical help. From receiving doctors’ consultations to attaining treatment, and even seeking out specialised help, patients benefit from organised and systematic models of healthcare, different though both may be. Nonetheless, no system is perfect, as we will explore here.

Counting options


For starters, medical help is widely available in a variety of options both in Singapore and Malaysia. Patients can take their pick from a diverse range of private and public healthcare doctors – each just as certified and well-trained as the next.

Hospitals are kept open round the clock in order to provide timely medical help when needed. Public clinics (polyclinics in Singapore, and either Klinik Kesihatan or Klinik 1Malaysia in Malaysia) are also popular among local patients for quality health consultations and treatments that are gentle on the wallet.

Patients who seek prompt and efficient medical services can also turn to private clinics run by General Practitioners (GP). These GP clinics are scattered around the city, and many can even be conveniently found in residential areas and neighbourhoods. Increasingly, more GP clinics are beginning to offer 24-hours medical services to cater to patients’ emergency needs. Of course, as compared to public clinics, patients often have to pay steeper medical fees for consultations and treatments at GP clinics.

Waiting times can be a problem


However, patients in both countries also face varying waiting times for different types of medical services.

For emergency health situations that require critical aid, ambulance services are available at every hour of the day to escort patients to the nearest hospitals for immediate medical attention.

But not all patients get to enjoy such prompt medical attention at hospitals. Emergencies aside, waiting times at local hospitals often stretch up to hours on end. In Singapore, given the arduous waiting hours at local hospitals, patients are highly recommended to arrange medical appointments weeks in advance or simply look for alternative sources of medical help.

At polyclinics, patients may need to wait up to an hour or two for a consultation, especially during peak periods where queues may begin to snake. These public clinics are known for their affordability, so most patients often turn to polyclinics for common afflictions such as a flu or a cough.

As schedules get more hectic and lives become more rushed, GP clinics are also gaining popularity among the masses for their ability to deliver prompt medical attention. These GP clinics often deliver service on a first-come-first-serve basis, so patients only need to walk in for appointments, register their name, and wait 5 to 20 minutes for their turn to enter the doctor’s office. Thus, this is a fuss-free and efficient alternative for those who can afford it.

In Malaysia, locals actually have it somewhat easier, with a plethora of GP clinics available as well as when it comes to the accessing of specialist care. However, service times can vary widely between private and public healthcare. Laments over time wasted in public hospitals, especially, which can go up to as long as 5 hours, is widespread.

A solution in the pipelines is LEAN Healthcare, which looks closely at improving waiting times, but it will definitely take some time before it can reach healthcare delivery for the entire nation.

GetDoc: An option to ease waiting times


Access to medical help is now more widely available and convenient than ever in both Singapore and Malaysia, especially with emergency ambulance services and clinics located right at many doorsteps.

Consulting a doctor has been made even easier these days with the establishment of technological startups like GetDoc, which connects patients to doctors in smarter, more efficient ways. With GetDoc, patients can conveniently discover doctors and book medical appointments with just a simple tap, vastly cutting down on waiting time. Medical practitioners can find out just how convenient this can be, by clicking here (Malaysia) or here (Singapore).

Certainly, with these advancements, the average patient can now enjoy a greater ease of convenience to healthcare options than ever before. MIMS

Sources:
http://www.expatarrivals.com/article/finding-a-doctor-in-singapore
http://doctors.com.sg/medical/types-of-doctors-in-singapore/
http://www.drtanandpartners.com/how-to-go-about-seeing-a-doctor-in-singapore/
https://www.gov.sg/factually/content/when-can-i-call-an-scdf-ambulance
http://today.mims.com/topic/how-the-smartphone-is-changing-healthcare?country=Malaysia&channel=GN-Local-News-MY

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