NUS students develop apps to help patients
NUS medical students work with students of other faculties to come up with creative healthcare solutions
As a medical student posted to the emergency department (ED), Mr Tan Jian Wei saw how patients got unhappy or frustrated after waiting for a long time.
He felt it would have been better if some of these patients with non-emergency cases had sought treatment from a general practitioner (GP) instead.
That was how Mr Tan, 24, came up with the idea of myHEROsg (Health Emergency Resource Organiser), an app that allows users to find out if they should go to a GP or the ED.
"During our postings in the ED in the fourth year of medical school, we noticed many patients who were unhappy or frustrated because they had been waiting for a long time.
"These patients could have been managed in a GP clinic instead," said the fifth-year medical student from the National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine).
"We thought we could come up with a convenient way for them to check whether they should go to the ED or the GP."
The app, developed by Mr Tan and four other students from NUS Medicine and the NUS School of Computing, is one of 17 entries in the year-long Medical Grand Challenge, started by NUS Medicine.
The student-led medical innovation programme encourages medical students to identify healthcare needs and work with students from other faculties to form interdisciplinary teams to explore creative solutions to meet them.
The Dean of NUS Medicine, Associate Professor Yeoh Khay Guan, said: "The Medical Grand Challenge serves as a stimulus to encourage bright young minds to collaborate, unleash their creativity and apply their ingenuity to important needs in Singapore healthcare.
"We hope this sparks a life-long interest in innovation... and solving real life problems."
Another group of students hope to minimise waiting time at specialised outpatient clinics with their app MissiQ.
It aims to improve patient satisfaction by "streamlining the efficiency of the healthcare system", said third-year medical student Benson Ang, 23.
The main driver is a chatbot that responds to patient queries, and gives a live update of the waiting time in specialist outpatient clinics.
Such queue viewers are available on the websites of some public hospitals and polyclinics.
The idea came from Mr Ang's experience a few years ago.
"I had to stay at the clinic and wait for my turn. I could not leave the clinic because I did not know when it would be my turn. I got frustrated about the situation," he told TNP.
"All I hope is for the app to let us know how much longer we have to wait, so we don't have to wait in the clinic. We can make better use of our time and go back to the clinic when it is going to be our turn."