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Comment: The future of five star hospitals

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?”.

Posted on: 13/03/2017 UTC+08:00


News

China Cord Blood Corporation (CCBC), the country’s largest provider of cord blood storage and ancillary services, has reported a 38.7% rise in profits for the full year to 31 March of Rmb126.2 million (US$18.3 million). At the same time, revenues were up 14.6% to Rmb760 million.
Beijing-based Baheal Pharmaceutical Group plans to bring IBM Watson Health’s Watson for Genomics to clinicians across China. The new multi-year agreement comes less than three months after Baheal and IBM launched a strategic alliance to distribute Watson for Oncology in China. The plan is to establish an ecosystem within China to sell the molecular data interpretation technology to clinicians and researchers across the country. Financial terms have not been disclosed.
Medical insurance provider ALC Health has been confirmed as a Lloyd's Coverholder in Hong Kong. ALC Health, a subsidiary of global benefits and assistance services provider International Medical Group, has also opened an office in Hong Kong, appointing Harry Amende as business development executive.
Malaysian examination glove manufacturer Comfort Glove has reported a profit of M$10.1 million (US$2.4 million) for the first quarter of the year. This is a significant increase on the same period last year when the company was hit by a fire. Quarter-on-quarter, revenues were up 29% to M$93.7 million.
Thanks to listing costs, Hong Kong care home operator Pine Care Group has reported a 54.5% slump in profits for the year to 31 March to HK$12.4 million (US$1.6 million). At the same time, revenues were up 2.6% to HK$177.3 million.
Shares in Sydney-based medical appointment booking service 1st Group jumped 22.2% yesterday after the group announced an agreement with Australian leading health advertising and content provider, Tonic Health Media.
Shares in Australian medtech company Resonance Health rose 3.7% yesterday after Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF), a leading patient organisation in the field of iron overload, endorsed its technology which measures liver iron concentration.
US life science technology company Sanovas has agreed to set up a US$75 million venture capital fund and innovation centre with the People's Government of Suzhou. The centre will be based at the Suzhou Institute of Nanotechnology and NanoBionics (SINANO) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences located within the Suzhou Industrial Park Biotechnology Innovation Centre.



Analysis

Brisbane-based Oventus has had a good week. First and foremost the sleep disorder device manufacturer has just completed the first tranche of capital raising. It has raised A$6.5 million (US$4.9 million) in a placement of shares at A$0.36 per share. A second tranche to raise A$0.5 million will follow subject to shareholder approval. Bell Potter is managing the deal.
A new report from QBE Insurance, Australia's largest global insurer, reveals that 22% of healthcare companies in Hong Kong have suffered from legal and regulatory compliance issues over the past 12 months. The Risks of Regret report looks at both current and future business challenges and opportunities, and how well-prepared companies are to deal with risks.
“The Asia-Pacific region presents lucrative opportunities for multinational pharmaceutical firms that treat diabetes,” says BMI Research in Singapore in a new report on healthcare in Asia. Fuelled by rapid urbanisation, nutrition transition and increasingly sedentary lifestyles, the epidemic has grown in parallel with the worldwide rise in obesity. Asia’s large population and rapid economic development have made it an epicentre of the epidemic, with India and China the key hotspots in the region, it explains.
Susann Roth, senior social development specialist, Asian Development Bank, explains why the ADB is committed to doubling health sector investments by 2020.
SGX-listed private healthcare provider Health Management International (HMI) has reported an actual loss in profits for the third quarter of the year of M$1.6 million (US$370,000), though stripping out exceptional items, profits were up 12% to M$7.1 million. The loss was predominantly down to one-off fees of M$7.3 million incurred during the group’s M$556.5 million consolidation of its two hospitals in Malaysia, however profits were also eroded by M$1.3 million in forex losses thanks to a weakening ringgit.
Shares in Cayman Islands-incorporated G Medical Innovations, which develops mobile health technologies, declined heavily on their ASX debut yesterday, dropping 30%.
Singapore-listed property developer Perennial Real Estate has reported a 356% rise in profits for the first quarter of the year to S$38.7 million (US$27.5 million) thanks to divestment gains in Singapore. Revenues for the same period slumped 31.5% to S$20.2 million largely due to lower project management fees and lower rental revenue.
First quarter results from Indonesian healthcare companies have been subdued. There is a sense of marking time rather than any major move forward for any of them. Indeed with the exception of Siloam International Hospitals, the country’s largest private hospital operator, the share price of its healthcare rivals are all showing a loss for the year.



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