Gauteng health MEC takes digital route to help patients

An app has been released where patients can directly lodge their complaints, suggestions and feedback on any health matter.

The Gauteng department of health has turned to technology to ensure people’s voices are heard.

This follows criticism by unhappy patients, who have often taken to social media or called about the treatment they received.

The recently appointed executive committee member of health, Dr Bandile Masuku, has developed a strategy aimed at strengthening the patient experience across all Gauteng health facilities and has supervised the release of an app where patients can directly lodge their complaints, suggestions and feedback on any health matter.

The health department’s spokesperson, Kwara Kekana, said the Mpilo “healthcare in your hands” app will allow patients to report excessive waiting times in facilities, safety issues, staff attitudes, the cleanliness of facilities and unethical behaviour by healthcare staff, such as fraud and corruption.

Kekana said: “The app will allow us to handle complaints better on a case-by-case [basis] and, furthermore, will allow us to understand some of the challenges and frustrations of our patients in facilities.”

Masuku is confident the application will not only improve patients’ experience, but also raise staff morale and attitudes towards patients and among health workers.

“The app will speed up the resolution of complaints in our health facilities. The platform also allows users to share compliments and suggestions. The Mpilo app has a geolocation feature that helps users find the nearest health facility,” Masuku said.

The department has appointed a team that will be based at the central office and will be responsible for an immediate response to incidents.

“Improving patient experience is one of the strategic priorities of the sixth administration. We look forward to receiving feedback from the people of Gauteng on the app,” he said.

The app is available in both Android and IOS stores and to accommodate patients with older technology, the department has another method that doesn’t need the use of smartphones.

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