What the Doctor Ordered!

Appointment with a doctor can be arranged on the Internet
As of now only Minsk City Polyclinic No13 offers this service. As soon as I learnt that appointments with doctors may be arranged via the Internet I connected to the Internet to check whether this unexpected convenience was true. It was easy to find the right website, www.info.minsk.by/pol13, and select the best time and date. I was just a couple of clicks away from arranging an appointment with a doctor. In a minute or two I was sent a confirmation (by the way, only those registered in Policlinic No13 are entitled to use the Internet to see doctors. The computer will register everyone, of course, but if you are not on the list, you will never see the yearned-for letter). Could it be that simple?

The next thing is to go to the policlinic to get your letter, or coupon, and that’s it! No need to get up at dawn and wait in a kilometer-long line. Another nice thing is that you get a ticket with your name on it and the number of your medical record. Also, doctors are aware not only of the number of patients, but also of what sort of ailments they will have to deal with, so there is always a chance to reschedule a meeting or fit several appointments.

— Younger people use the Internet much more often, so they are our main I-clients, the receptionist of the policlinic Natalya Mashko says. Some 14–16 patients arrange appointments with doctors via the Internet every day. An old lady surprised everyone one day after she learned one could use the Internet: she seemed very happy and yelled she would rather use her computer than be on the waiting list.

Anyway, those who have no access to the Internet or no computer may easily arrange appointments with doctors at the reception or by phone.

— Patients should have a choice whether to go to the health center or to access it on the Internet, says Lyudmila Baraulya, the head physician of Minsk City Polyclinic No13. World wide web saves time, reduces the pressure on the receptionist. And it is just a small part of what the new automated information system can do. In the near future every doctor will have a computer to read patients’ records from the screen.

IT will also help deal with those “experienced” computer users that arrange several meetings with several doctors to win time. The system of tickets should be adjusted, and doctors should be made more “accessible”. There is a good way out: the healthcare committee of the Minsk City Administration promises that in two years’ time all policlinics of the city will be available on the Internet.

Besides, there is good news from Belarus’ national Internet provider Beltelecom: Internet fees are being cut down, so it is getting more convenient and cheaper to see the doctor.

Alexander Tumar
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