A vital health care provider
The Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte has a reputation for excelling in a wide variety of clinical areas, not only on a local level, but also nationally and in other Portuguese speaking countries.
The management team is committed to maintaining this reputation for excellence and, as such, is always looking for ways to enhance the services offered and the experience of patients.
Turning their attention to Santa Maria Hospital, they began searching for solutions to help improve waiting times and also to make payment as efficient as possible for those who contribute financially towards their health care.
An integrated operation
Queue management and patient flow management specialist The Tensator Group was on hand to offer a viable and cost effective solution to meet all of Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte’s requirements for Santa Maria Hospital.
Following a pitch and trial process, Tensator’s systems for both patient payment and ticket-based virtual queue management were installed throughout the hospital.
Upon arrival, patients can use one of Tensator’s Multi-Service Machines (MSM) to select the services they require. Their personal National Health Service Card or Citizen Card is read by the machine to identify if payment for the service is needed and the patient is able to pay the balance there and then via notes, coins or Portuguese interbank network Multibanco.
The challenge for us at Santa Maria Hospital was to ensure that the process of paying and queuing were both integrated and flowed seamlessly. The patient journey from payment to consultation is now effortless.
Each self-service machine is connected to Tensator’s virtual queue management system and, once payment is made, the patient is issued a ticket for the service they need and placed in a virtual queue. This means that they are able to take a seat and relax in a waiting area until their ticket number is called, rather than having to stand in a physical linear queue. Once an individual is called forward, their ticket number is displayed on a central display screen and they are directed to the relevant consultation room.
For those patients who do not wish to join the queue directly after payment, they have the option of booking an appointment for a later time. Upon their return, they can use one of Tensator’s ticket dispensers or multimedia kiosks to take a ticket and place themselves in the virtual queue.
Tickets for pre-booked appointments will only be issued 30 minutes before the consultation time, which helps to keep the number of patients waiting for each service at a manageable level.
The fully integrated central architecture of the system allows managers to monitor the status of each queue and make changes to the system if required, ensuring that all patients are seen within a reasonable amount of time. This allows managers to make informed decisions about resource deployment and review staff efficiencies.
Once the consultation is complete, patients are once again directed to a Multi-Service Machine, allowing them to pay any additional medical fees. The multimedia kiosks can also be used to print off a medical note to present to employers if required.
Tensator’s integrated payment and queue management solution has been installed in 21 different departments at Santa Maria Hospital.
In total, Tensator has installed 19 ticket dispensers, 5 multimedia kiosks and 10 MSM units.
Patients are benefiting from a more efficient way of paying and queuing, as well as reduced waiting times, which in a busy hospital environment is vital. The hospital’s management team is able to make savings by deploying resources more effectively and boosting staff efficiency.
The Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte (CHLN) is a health facility in Lisbon, Portugal, which incorporates two of the areas busiest hospitals.Both the Santa Maria Hospital and Pulido Valente Hospital play pivotal roles in the Portuguese health care system. As well as providing vital medical services to members of the public, each hospital also acts as a training unit for postgraduate students and has extensive research facilities.