THE IMPACT OF EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT OF APPOINTMENT SYSTEM IN HOSPITAL (A CASE STUDY OF PREMIER HOSPITAL, UYO, AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA)
1.1 Background to the Study
In the whole wide world, health care sector is the pivot and integral part of human lives. Thus, any error committed in the clinical services might leads to defect or termination of life. As of late, information and communication has been utilized widely to improve the different tasks and services in the field of the medical care service. Patient meeting with the Doctor is one of the clinical services that have been automated. Healthcare providers are triggered to reduce cost of operation while improving the quality of service. This has brought about preventive medication in order to avoid disease, reducing the demand for emergency department and hospital stays for sick people. The impact of patient appointment cannot be underestimated in the health care delivery sector. Patient appointment is a complex process that plays a vital role in health care. Patient appointment performs several functions, from allocating resources to patients in need of examinations and allocation of surgery rooms to on-demand appointment booking with family doctors working at primary care clinics.
Patients’ waiting time has been defined as “the length of time from when the patient entered the outpatient clinic to the time the patient actually leaves the OPD”. Dinesh et al, (2013), presented several definitions for the waiting time. Few definitions also refer it to the total time that a patient spends to receive a particular service since entering to the hospital till entering the examination room to visit a doctor. (Leddy, 2003). Waiting time is describe as the total time from registration until consultation with a doctor. There are two waiting times, the first is time taken to see a doctor and the second is time to obtain medicine. (JamaiahHj Mohd Sharif, 2003). Registration time i.e. time including the payment process and record classification made is also part of patient’s waiting time. This aspect of waiting time can be dealt with the new techniques of reducing waiting time. The other aspect i.e. waiting within the hospital can be reduced only through basic interventions approaches including deploying appropriate work force including doctors, staff etc. This study is aimed at creating doctors effective management of appointment system in hospital that will help patients to book doctor appointment and fulfil their prospects. This system will enable doctors to manage their booking slots online also, it help patients to make their appointment to book empty slots too.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There is need for improvement in the interaction system between the doctor and the patient. Patient appointment scheduling system is very critical in hospitals to ensure efficient and effective service delivery in the health sector in Premier Hospital, (Uyo). Whereas in some hospitals, the patient has personally or person with the patient has to go to the registration desk ask for the appointment to get registered. Whole system is conventional pen paper based. This type of appointment scheduling system has a range of constraints, such as patients being required to fill in appointment forms upon arrival at the hospital or clinic, and there is no possibility to register while anywhere anytime therefore, patients spend a lot of time waiting in queues. Vast increase in technology to develop an appointment system for patients to book appointment for a doctor by using appointment scheduling application they can book the appointment from home or anywhere before going to hospital. In order to overcome the challenges of long waiting lines at Premier Hospital, (Uyo), it is therefore recommended that the hospital judiciously make use of effective management of appointment system for the patient appointment which would help in delivering the better health services in Premier Hospital, (Uyo).
1.3 Objectives of the study
This research study has both general and specific objectives. The general objective is to examine the impact of effective management of appointment system in hospital by using Premier Hospital, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria as a case study. However, the specific objectives include:
i) To design an effective medical duties appointment system for effective management in Premier Hospital, Uyo
ii) To outline a system that will serve as a reminder of medical duties in Premier Hospital, Uyo
iii) To understand the benefits of online appointment system to the medical practitioners
iv) To examine why hospitals should consider investing in patients’ appointment system
v) To develop a system that will enable booking appointments with patients.
vi) To establish a relationship between traditional and online appointment scheduling
1.4 Research Questions
Based on the outlined objectives, the following statements were considered to be the research questions for this study
i) Are there any effective medical duties appointment system for effective management in Premier Hospital, Uyo?
ii) Is there a system that serves as a reminder of medical duties in Premier Hospital, Uyo?
iii) Why should hospitals consider investing in patients’ appointment system?
iv) Is there any system that will enable booking appointments with patients?
v) Is there a relationship between traditional and online appointment scheduling?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The research hypotheses for this study include:
i) There is a significant impact of effective medical duties appointment system on effective management
ii) There is a significant relationship between traditional and online appointment scheduling
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study is significant in the sense that it will provide a possible solution to the problem of scheduling medical appointment duties. Also, it will help and give benefits to students, staff and school management of knowing what appointment system is all about and the problems found in appointment.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study focused on the impact of effective management of appointment system in Premier Hospital, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and it will therefore be carried out among the staff and patients of the hospital. It will concentrate on creating new appointment, and other details will be viewed for entry by the researcher as the case may be.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
The following constraints limited the research study in the process of carrying it out:
Transport problem: The researcher found it difficult to move from one place to another especially to the study area to obtain the necessary information to carry out the study as the research was always scared of entering public transport to the study area due to the fear of being kidnapped as kidnapping is now the major security challenge the country is currently experiencing. This limited the number of times the research needed to go the study area to effectively carry out the research work.
Unavailability of academic materials: scarcity of materials needed to effectively carry out the study also contributed to the factor that limited this study but the researcher was able to manage to source for relevant academic materials that enabled the successful completion of this project work.
Lack of financial support: This is another major limitation of this study as there was no financial support to carry out this study in a broad way.
Lack of time: The was no ample of time for the researcher to adequately concentrate on this research work as the researcher was also busy attending to other academic demands due to the fact that the time to carry out this study also clashed with some lecture classes for the researcher. Nevertheless, the researcher was able to balance the two.
1.9 Definition of Terms
The following terms were used in the process of carrying out this study:
Appointment: an arrangement to meet someone at a particular time and place. E.g.: "she made an appointment with my receptionist".
Computer: Computer is an electronic device that accepts data as Input, processes data and gives out information as output to the user.
Data: numbers, text or image which is in the form suitable for storage in or processing by a computer, or incomplete information.
Database: Database is the collection of related data in an organized form.
Emergency is a situation that poses an immediate risk to health, life, property, or environment.
Hardware: Hardware is a physical part of a computer that can be touched, seen, feel which are been control by the software to perform a given task.
Information: A meaning full material derived from computer data by organizing it and interpreting it in a specified way.
Input: Data entered into a computer for storage or processing.
Management: It is the co-ordination of all the resources of an Organization through the process of planning, Organization, directing and controlling
System: Physical component of a computer that is used to perform certain task.
Output: Information produced from a computer after processing.
Information System: A set of interrelated components that collect (or retrieve), process, store and distribute information to support decision making and control in an organization.
Software: Software is set of related programs that are designed by the manufacturer to control the hardware and to enable the computer perform a given task..