Long queues, congested reception areas and endless hours of waiting could well be a scene from the past as City Health launches its new appointment system.
The City of Cape Town’s Health Department on Friday officially launched its new appointment system in Kraaifontein.
This new appointment system is aimed at improving accessibility to primary health care and reducing waiting times in a bid to strengthen health services and improve health care.
‘We are well aware that congested waiting areas are a source of stress not only to our patients but also to staff.
"We welcome this new initiative as it will improve both patient and staff satisfaction,’ said the City’s mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith.
This new appointment system is a joint initiative between City Health and the University of the Western Cape and forms part of the Appointment Systems Learning Initiative (ASLI) project.
The pilot project included the design and implementation of timed appointment systems at 16 facilities.
‘Patients were given both a date and a time for their appointment based on the preference of the patient, as well as appointment availability and urgency of care.
'They were required only to arrive at the facility at the appointed time, and were given priority over patients without appointments or those who arrived late for their appointment.
'It is this learning from the project that is now being used to inform the appointment systems in all City Health facilities,’ said Smith.
The appointment system will include all non-acute services such as maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health, chronic health services such as the treatment of HIV and tuberculosis and non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
Acute services will not utilise the timed appointment system and patients will be prioritised based on a triage score and the time of their arrival.
‘Currently, most appointment systems are being supported by paper-based appointment books.
'It is expected that these systems will be significantly strengthened with the introduction of an electronic appointment tool, which will be rolled out later in the year.
'Not only are electronic calendars easier to maintain but are also faster at accessing Information and Communications Technology (ICT),’ said Smith.