New applications and websites: Muscovites shift to online appointment scheduling

New applications and websites: Muscovites shift to online appointment scheduling
Photo: Photo by the Mayor and Moscow Government Press Service. Yevgeny Samarin
Patients are able to make a doctor’s appointment through various new services.

More people are using remote appointment booking – via the internet, telephone and mobile apps. This year, 15 percent more patients used these services. This number exceeded one third of all outpatient clinic visits. 

Mobile app use has doubled, which is the highest increase relative to the other remote scheduling services. In 2015, patients used the apps about 2.2 million times, but 5.4 million uses were recorded from January-October 2016.

The popularity of the Moscow state services website has been growing as well with over 7.7 million visits. Plus nearly 1.8 million appointments have been made via the call centre.

In addition, doctor’s appointments can now be made with Telegram Messenger via the website.

Seeing a doctor the same day

The Unified Medical Information and Analytical System (UMIAS) has processed over 100 million requests a year. The system now has over 9 million patients, 800,000 of which were added in 2016.

The system provides a general picture of the situation in outpatient clinics. As estimated, 88 percent of those requesting an appointment were scheduled either for the same or for the next day, and 85 percent in the case of paediatricians. Also, 89 percent see the doctor within 20 minutes of the appointed time.

Online records and prescriptions

More than 50 percent of all Moscow outpatient clinics converted to using online healthcare records in 2016. At this point, the number of patients is 2.6 million. Seven thousand therapists have attended a training course on using the online medical records system.

Another important event for doctors and patients was initiated this year: validating online sick leave certificates. This saves both time and paper. In one year, Moscow therapists issued 1.3 million e-sick leave certificates. 

So far, doctors still have to print e-prescriptions. The effort to amend the law to recognise online prescriptions continues. Over 28.5 million prescriptions have already been issued online, including 18 million this year.

Therapist work satisfaction has grown 70 percent in six months due to the introduction of online services. This is due to the cooperation between UMIAS administrators and healthcare practitioners who can make suggestions on improving the service.