Timothy Low, chief executive officer of Farrer Park Hospital in Singapore, explains how high end medical treatment can find its niche as belts around the region are tightened.
Asia has extremely high standards when it comes to private healthcare and Singapore is a favourite destination for regional patients. As the newest hospital in Singapore, Farrer Park Hospital offers not only quality clinical care, but also five star personalised service. The unique construct of Connexion, which houses three entities, a medical centre, hospital and five star hotel and spa, offers unparalleled conveniences and comforts to patients and their families.
When a patient is clinically ready, they can be discharged from the hospital and recuperate in the hotel. A hotel stay is cheaper than a hospital stay and can shave 20-30% off the full hospital bill. While the concept of a hospital near a hotel is not uncommon, to integrate it as seamlessly as we did, is novel.
Farrer Park Hospital has so much more to offer. We have top of the line equipment in radiotherapy, and is among the best in the region. We have highly experienced gastroenterologists treating some of the most common cancers such as stomach and bowel cancers.
Another element of the hospital design that is unique is the way information or data is set up to flow seamlessly throughout the building. The construct itself was ahead of the curve by building in fibre optic cables that run throughout the hospital infrastructure, enabling the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).
Through VDI, doctors can look at patients’ results in real time on their mobile devices. Be it a ’phone or a tablet, they can get real time information whether they are bedside, dining out or even attending an overseas conference. This gives doctors the opportunity to make fast and informed decisions for the patient anywhere in the world 24/7. In terms of patient care this has enormous benefits. No other hospital that I know of has integrated their information flow as seamlessly as we have. At the planning phase, we’ve built in features that will keep us technologically relevant for the next 20 years.
The integration of our data network also enhances operational efficiency and patient outcome.
We engage the patient and family at every phase of their treatment process because we believe it is an important part of the recovery journey. They can choose their own meal, out of a matrix of over 200 five star hotel chef and hospital nutritionist designed meals.
More importantly, with the integration of the patient medical records and meal ordering system, the patient’s meals are tailored to their dietary needs and they are able to select food that is only suitable for them. The meal orders go directly to the kitchen and saves the hospital manpower. This means that our nurses, the hospital’s most valuable resource can devote more time to patient care and other duties. Traditionally, nurses go around taking orders which takes about three hours a day. Our system saves over 2100 nursing hours annually which can be channelled back to patient care.
We are small as far as healthcare organisations go in Singapore but that makes us nimble. We inculcate in every employee the need to innovate, to have the ability, as an organisation to look beyond the traditional boundaries of healthcare and grasp opportunities quickly.
I encourage my colleagues to challenge the status quo, instead of “why?” we should be asking “why not?”.