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IF YOU'VE ever been for a health check-up, you're probably familiar with the tiresome process: a revolving series of doctors, clinics, lab tests, and scans - all at different locations. The result is an anxiety-ridden day spent hopping from clinic to clinic. One home-grown medical group - MWH Holdings Pte Ltd, the holding company for the Singapore Heart, Stroke and Cancer Centre - is changing all of that, by putting itself in patients' shoes and adopting a truly patient-centric approach.
Says Michelle Lim, the company's chief operations officer: "We realised that when patients go to other medical centres and hospitals for their check-ups, they often have to go to different locations to get their lab tests, various scans and procedures, as well as consultation done. At each of these locations, they then have to register and wait for their turn. This results in long waiting times and inefficiency, as there is often little coordination between the various parties.
"As patients need to collate the results from various sources, they usually have to wait a few days before they get to consult their doctors with the full results. This can cause unnecessary anxiety for the patients."
To combat this, MWH Holdings decided it would use design innovation to improve the entire workflow from start to finish - so as to ultimately transform the patient's experience from troublesome to fuss-free.
"At our centre, patients are able to get lab tests, diagnostic imaging scans, and procedures done - all at the same location. This allows for better coordination and reduced waiting times, and it saves the patient the hassle of travelling to different locations," notes Ms Lim.
Convenience aside, the one-stop approach also results in superior patient care and far quicker turnaround times. For example, because patients can see different specialists all within the same centre, the level of coordination is much higher as various doctors can work closely to manage the patient's condition.
And while most health screening results are typically only obtained after a few days, MWH Holdings is able to deliver these on the same day, and within just a few hours.
"We hope to do away with the long waiting times and the need to make multiple appointments, and bring our 'One Day, One Stop, One Centre' solution to the public," emphasises Ms Lim.
The strides the company has made are particularly impressive when one considers their humble roots. Established in 2002 as Michael Lim Specialists Heart Centre, the clinic had only a handful of staff and an 800-square-foot space. Sixteen years on, however, the group has grown to become one of Singapore's largest integrated healthcare organisations, with around 100 staff.
At present, the group has two multi-specialty medical centres, three medical aesthetics centres, two diagnostic imaging centres, and one in vitro fertilisation (IVF) centre - spanning a total of 30,000 sq ft at Paragon and Royal Square Novena. It covers a wide range of specialist medical services, including cardiology, ear nose throat, internal medicine, orthopaedics, urology, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, radiology, and aesthetics.
Beyond the expansion in medical services offerings, MWH Holdings is also growing its business by developing mobile applications that marry technology with health care. This includes setting up personalised healthcare accounts for each patient, where they can - at any time - review their medical histories, screening results, diagnosis from doctors, medication, and other conditions. All of this information will be securely stored in the cloud, so that patients can have their healthcare information at their fingertips.
This could prove revolutionary to the industry. Ms Lim explains: "Quite often, we realise that when a new patient visits a doctor, they may not be equipped with sufficient medical knowledge to accurately convey what prior tests they have done. They also may not have brought along previous tests done at other centres. This means the attending doctor will often order a series of tests, in order to provide a sound assessment.
"By allowing patients to assess their prior test results through the mobile application, patients will have their medical history at their fingertips, which means that doctors need not repeat unnecessary tests the patient may have done previously - resulting in cost-savings for the patients. Making prior results easily accessible would also mean doctors can make better assessments from the very beginning, as there is a baseline comparison."
These mobile applications will also benefit MWH Holdings from a business productivity standpoint. For one, staff will be able to track orders for lab tests and diagnostic imaging through these systems, eliminating the need to search for manual order forms.
Not only will this reduce the risk of human error, it will also mean that staff need not use multiple platforms - freeing them up from inefficient and duplicative tasks such as double registrations. MWH Holdings expects to make these digital advances a reality by the end of this year.
Evidently, the group is doing something right, as it has been approached by multiple developers outside of Singapore to set up medical facilities and hospitals overseas - using the exact systems and protocols MWH Holdings has developed. "This is a testament to the recognition of the branding that we have achieved," adds Ms Lim.
Even as it ventures into China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, the group plans to do so with medical centres or medical concierge centres, to promote medical tourism back to Singapore. Through it all, it's clear that MWH Holdings is a proud Singapore firm - well-deserving of its 2017 Singapore Prestige Brand Award.