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Thursday, September 22, 2016, 22:09

HA’s booking app extends services for outpatient clinics

By Willa Wu

HONG KONG – The Hospital Authority’s (HA) first appointment-booking mobile app – BookHA – has extended its services to cover four more outpatient clinics under the authority, allowing patients to seek medical help from hospitals not within their clusters, thus helping to cut potentially long queues.

Starting from Sept 19, patients who visit the HA’s outpatient clinics for ear, nose, and throat, eye, neurosurgery, and orthopedics and traumatology can seek appointments through BookHA, which was launched on March 8 for only gynecology specialist outpatient clinics.

Previously, appointments to the HA’s specialist outpatient clinics were done either by phone or by making personal visit to the clinics.

HA Chairman Leong Chi-yan said 200 new appointments have been made since the app extended its service and the app was expected to make 300,000 new appointments this year.

Leong also noted that in the past six months the app has been downloaded 34,315 times and in total 1,341 users have handed in their appointment applications. Among them, 726 successfully booked their services.

The HA explained that the application failure was partly due to users applying appointments to clinics that the app did not yet cover.

The app will cover specialist outpatient clinics of cardiothoracic surgery, medicine, obstetrics, pediatrics and surgery next year, the HA announced during its board meeting on Thursday.

In the same meeting, the HA also announced patients were satisfied with the HA’s medical services in 2015 as they rated 7.8 out of 10 points in the authority’s recent survey.

The Patient Experience and Satisfaction Survey (PESS), conducted with help from the Chinese University of Hong Kong from July to October last year, interviewed 9,297 patients who were discharged from the HA’s hospitals within the previous month.

HA Chief Executive Leung Pak-yin said the authority is considering launching hotline services to provide medical information to discharged patients.

Meanwhile, the HA has been assigned 280,000 vaccinations – 20,000 more than last year – by the Department of Health to response to peak flu season, which will likely fall into the last quarter of this year.

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