Admissions Buddy – Transforming Financial Counselling

Admissions Buddy is an online portal for patients to calculate their estimated bill size prior to a planned surgery, allowing them to make informed choices relating to the financial aspect of their procedure, such as the use of Medisave, Medishield or insurance, as well as choice of hospital wards.

Traditionally an over-the-counter process, financial counselling (FC) can be daunting for patients, as they receive large amounts of information within a short period of time. Those seeking clarifications would hold up the queue for other patients, while counter staff had to spend additional time to respond to emails and phone queries from past patients.

With Admissions Buddy, the process has been reengineered for the entire front-of-house experience. Patient wait time for financial counselling over the counter has reduced by about 50%, from 20 minutes to 10 minutes. 90% of patients said that they are satisfied with the new platform, with 34% rating their experience as “Excellent” in a survey. In addition, Admissions Buddy has resulted in about 50% time-savings for staff due to the redesign of related back-end processes such as the digitising of the Elective Admissions Forms.

Upon login via SingPass, each patient will have access to several FC services such as a customised estimated hospital bill, specific to their upcoming surgical procedure. Previously, the only online option was a broad estimate for the procedure in question, on the MOH website. With Admissions Buddy, patients can now easily compare the cost and facility differences for different ward types before making their choice. They can also grant data-sharing consent for means testing, authorise Medisave deduction and make payment electronically. This can be done at their convenience and pace, and patients can also involve their family members in the decision making process.

Admissions Buddy was introduced in 2015 and has since been implemented across SingHealth institutions (KKH, SGH, NHCS and SKH). Over the past year, there were over 22,000 logins to Admissions Buddy, representing up to 40% of the annual planned surgeries at SingHealth institutions. By FY18, Admissions Buddy will be made available via HealthHub.