Many of us do experience joint pain, sprain or strains. Some of us would like to visit an orthopaedic surgeon in Singapore to get it evaluated. Today this article will discuss some considerations that you may have prior to making an appointment with a private orthopaedic clinic in Singapore, and hope to better prepare you for the visit.
Singapore is not a big country, and usually distance may not be a problem. Most Singaporeans are able to travel to the clinic of their choice. When they have an orthopaedic condition, they may choose to visit their family doctor, or a polyclinic, or sometimes they may want to visit a specialist clinic in Singapore
Advantages Of A Specialist Clinic
The advantages of a specialist clinic are as follows:
- Shorter waiting time to an appointment slot
- Compared to the public health system, private specialist clinics are usually able to schedule the patients in with shorter waiting time. This allows for earlier care, earlier investigations, and treatment.
- Fully qualified specialist care
- Doctors at the specialist clinic are usually trained specialist doctors with many years of experience. At each visit the same specialist will usually attend to your problem.
- Ability to provide emergent care, immobilize any fractures, and arrange for admission if needed should the clinical care needs be urgent.
- Most of the specialist clinics are also located near to private hospitals. Where the clinical need is urgent, the specialist doctor can administer urgent care, such as wound care, immobilize fractures, and admit the patient if there is a need.
- Shorter waiting time to surgery
- If there is a need for surgery, the waiting time to surgery may also be shorter, as most specialist doctors are accredited to several private hospitals, and are able to liase with these hospitals for an early surgical slot.
The disadvantage of visiting a private orthopaedic clinic in Singapore is that it may be more costly than a family doctor, or a polyclinic visit. The investigations and treatments may also be more expensive. Also not all private clinics are Medisave accredited, and Medisave limits may not be sufficient to cover the cost of treatment at a private facility.
Factors To Consider While Making Decision
To guide your decision making, you should consider these factors.
The urgency of the clinical problem
If your clinical problem is acute, and serious, for example you have had a fall and you are unable to walk and is in severe pain, or there is an open wound with significant bleeding, you will need to have this issue looked at immediately. Where the clinical problem is serious, such as injuries sustained in a road traffic accident, you may need to activate the ambulance. In such cases, the care need is immediate. You will not be able to wait for an appointment. If, however, you are still able to move around, and a caregiver is able to bring you to a clinic, It is best to walk in either to your family doctor, or a specialist clinic, or an A&E to have it looked at immediately.
If the clinical problem is not so urgent, for example low back pain, or a slowly growing lump that you want to have evaluated, you can call the clinic of your choice to book an appointment. It is entirely your decision whether you choose to have it evaluated via the public health system, or you prefer to visit your family doctor or chosen specialist clinic.
Some patients do have corporate health insurance that cover for private specialist clinics visits in Singapore. They usually have corporate insurance cards that detail the coverage. Some of the TPAs that administer these corporate insurance are MHC, Alliance, DA, Fullerton, and iXchange. During your enquiry with the specialist clinic, do let them know if you have these insurance. Clinic staff usually can check your coverage for you. At our clinic, we work with a wide range of corporate health insurance TPAs.
Please click here to see if you have any of these corporate insurance.
Private hospitalization insurance such as NTUC incomeshield, Prushield policies usually do not cover for outpatient visits. These insurance are for coverage of inpatient hospital bills, day surgery or surgery bills. However, if you are being covered by these policies, you may wish to visit their panel doctor to have your clinical problem evaluated. This is so that if you do require surgery or admission, you are already under the care of your panel doctor. These are some webpages of the respective hospitalization shield policies where you can check panel doctors:
- Prupanel Connect(Prudential): https://www.prudential.com.sg/prupanel-connect
- Health Connect (Great Eastern): https://gehc.healthconnect.com.sg/public/specialist-panel
- NTUC Incomeshield: https://www.income.com.sg/specialist-panel
- Singlife : https://singlife.mhcasia.com/#/
- AXA Shield Panel: https://www.insurance.hsbclife.com.sg/health-insurance/axa-shield/SPlist.pdf
- AIA Panel: https://www.aia.com.sg/en/help-support/qualityhealthcare/browse-healthcare-specialist.html
Our clinic works with all the above panels. We are on the main panel of all the above shields, except AIA. For AIA patients, we continue to care for them under extended panel benefits.
Your preferred doctor
You may already have your preferred orthopaedic doctor to visit. Your doctor should have the required expertise, and training in the area of the clinical problem that you want evaluated. For example if your clinical problem is knee pain, you would want to visit a knee specialist in Singapore to have it checked. Look at his website and his/her training to see if he has the required expertise. Often your friend/family may recommend a surgeon to you, however it is still important you do your own research.
Some important questions that will help with the visit.
- Are you able to walk, do you require walking aid/ wheelchair.
- If you are visiting us in a wheelchair, do let us know so we can inform the hospital concierge at the lobby to assist. Our staff may be able to assist to bring you to the clinic if necessary as well.
- What is your preferred day and time for the clinic visit?
- Do you have an insurance card, if you do, please let us know so we can help to check your coverage
- Have you done any imaging for the clinical problem. If you have, do let us know where you have done the investigations so that we can trace the report/imaging if necessary.
Knowing the above will help us ensure that your visit to our clinic will be smooth, and your clinical problem properly evaluated. You will be informed regarding the cost of the initial consult. Once the appointment is booked, our clinic will usually send you a confirmation with the confirmed date, time and place, and with which orthopaedic specialist you will be seeing If you need to change the appointment, you can always inform the clinic.
At Hip & Knee Orthopaedics, we have 2 experienced orthopaedic surgeons in Singapore that are able to evaluate and care for your orthopaedic problems. We are Medisave accredited, we work with many corporate health insurers, and are on the main panel of most hospitalization shields. We will provide patient-centred, evidenced-based orthopaedic care for you and your family.