The Smart Health Cards (SHC) being issued by the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) will go operational beginning January. Patients would then be able to make all hospital payments through these electronic cards.
The new cards are expected to reduce the crowding and waiting time at various outpatient clinics of the HMC.
HMC has issued 500,000 smart cards in the first phase of the project which is dubbed E-purse. The smart cards can be used through Electronic Payment Systems installed at various hospitals functioning under the HMC. A total of 300 payment machines will be available at various outpatient departments of HMC by early January.
The smart cards, being issued through the primary health care centres will replace HMC’s conventional health cards. The new service will be initially available at the Hamad General Hospital, Rumailah Hospital, Al Amal Hospital, HMC’s Psychiatry Department and Al Khor Hospital, according to sources from HMC’s Media Department.
“The first phase of the project included issuance of the smart cards while the electronic payment system will go operational in the second phase, being launched in January. All the data related to patients will be entered into these electronic cards in the next phase,” said the sources.
The smart cards, fitted with a magnetic chip, stores patients’ medical data, their credit details and can be used for payments of all medical services.
“These services shall no longer be settled through the coupon-based payment system, currently applied at Primary Health Centres, but through patients’ funds electronically stored in the smart health card. Patients may also charge their E-purse with funds at any issuing outlets available at HMC,” said an HMC statement issued yesterday.
Hamad Hassan Hilal, head of Patients’ Accounts and chairman of SHC Finance Committee said that electronic payment system will not only lessen the waiting time for patients but also facilitate extending of health care services to the visitors.