LHZB published an article on the HR efficiencies in e-retrieval of medical examination results for govt agencies:
VITAL’s central management of civil service medical service provider reaps productivity and efficiencies in outsourcing
Prior to the formation of Vital, the Singapore Government’s shared services department under the Ministry of Finance, the task of appointing the medical service provider for hire and re-hire of public officers, rested with the Public Service Division (PSD). After July 2006, Vital took over from PSD, the role of managing the medical service provider for the whole of Government. This role also included the calling for an open tender to appoint and manage the performance of the medical service provider for the Government service. Vital was also to centralize billing in the administration of medical clearance for appointment, directly with respective public agencies. This is with a view to reaping greater productivity and efficiencies for the whole of Government, and more importantly, free the HR departments to divert more resources and time to manpower planning and policy work.
In October last year, Raffles Medical Group (RMG) was appointed by Vital on a fresh two-year tenure of providing central one-stop medical examination for a base volume of some 80,000 public officers, across clerical support roles, executives to management positions, from 38 ministries and statutory boards, in at least two key stages of their public service career. First, at the pre-employment stage, where the number of candidate appointed into public service is about 6,400 a year. Candidates selected for appointment to the civil service on permanent or contract basis, have to undergo a pre-employment medical examination. This is to ascertain that the candidate is medically suited to do the job that he is to be appointed to. The pre-employment medical examination will be conducted by RMG, who will take into account the nature of the candidate's job in determining the fitness of the candidate. The other is at re-employment of retirees where medical exceptions and medical fitness may need to be verified again. Since 1 July last year, the civil service had begun appointing or rehiring eligible public officers on re-employment terms and this is subject to medical fitness conducted by RMG. Other times, medical examination may also be called at the discretion of the government department due to an extension of employment, change in appointment or a transfer, posting which may be physically demanding. RMG’s role is to make a professional recommendation as to a candidate’s medical fitness and suitability for a specific job in the civil service, and ensure the accuracy and validity of all medical examination results before submitting the results to Vital expeditiously. RMG may also order other tests it deems necessary in order to make a recommendation of the candidate’s medical fitness, depending on the job nature.
Over the past five years, since Vital took over the central role of managing the outsourced medical service provider, the whole of Government service had experienced tangible benefits and resource savings. The outcome indicators of RMG, including how fast RMG completes medical screening from which Vital retrieves the medical results, are all now centrally managed by Vital. Additionally, the consolidation of services at Vital also provided an opportunity for process improvements to take place like doing away with hard copy medical reports retrieval. Agencies on their own, would not find it viable to look into streamlining and resource savings, given their smaller base volumes and the cross-agency coordination effort required to implement the solution. Vital played the vital role to fill this gap. Vital is the first public department to implement retrieval of soft copy medical reports from Raffles Medical Group (RMG)’s system server. Through collaboration with RMG, Vital is able to retrieve medical reports which will reflect the medical clearance status of potential hires to the public service who had gone for their pre-employment medical examination at any of the 11 RMG clinics and Raffles Hospital. This has enabled Vital to attain workflow efficiency and shorten the turnaround time required for retrieving medical reports, previously in hard copy printouts and dispatches from RMG.
RMG can now send Vital the medical reports by scanning the completed reports and storing them for retrieval in a softcopy registry in which RMG had invested about S$4,800 to facilitate the file extraction from its server. Vital enhanced its system to retrieve the softcopy reports from RMG via file transfer protocol. The turnaround time for Vital to receive medical reports from RMG is now halved from 14 days to a matter of less than 7 days. Where the pre-requisite of some jobs is medical fitness, this move has cut out the physical transfer of medical examination reports, thereby reducing the ‘wait’ time involved in the pre-employment process for both hirer and candidate.
Vital’s Head of Human Resource Services, Ms Ng Hwee Hoon, 37, on the reasons for the choice of RMG, said, “Besides financial soundness, track record, and cost competitiveness, Vital also looked at the provider’s readiness to leverage on IT to quicken processes. RMG also ranks high in its large numbers of network branches and medical touchpoints, with 11 clinics which officers can go to for their medical examinations.”