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Icon SOC placing the patient at the centre of care
A CANCER diagnosis is a difficult and emotional time for individuals, families and friends. With the incidence of cancer predicted to increase by as much as 70 per centi over the coming decades, Icon SOC (Singapore Oncology Consultants), whose founding doctors are considered the forefathers of medical oncology in Singapore, believes more needs to be done to ensure everyone has access to the best care possible.
Ms Serena Wee has recently been appointed CEO of Icon SOC, signalling the growing maturity and stability of Icon's integrated cancer care model in Singapore. Ms Wee has over 25 years' experience in healthcare management and was previously leading regional operations for Icon SOC as Chief Operating Officer.
"When a patient walks through our doors they aren't just a number. At Icon SOC we are committed to looking beyond our patients' treatment by ensuring we consider every element of their cancer journey. We offer them an experienced team who place their needs and concerns first," Ms Wee says.
Icon SOC's holistic approach to care aligns each stage of their cancer journey with the information they need to decide the care that is right for them. This includes recognising Singapore's rich multicultural landscape and delivering care in a respectful way to patients and their families.
"We provide a comprehensive and cohesive approach to care from diagnosis through to treatment, whether it be via chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these. Allowing patients to have access to all cancer treatments is an important part of providing continuity of care and a team they feel comfortable with at every step of their treatment."
This integrated model enables a close working relationship and collaborative decision making between the various specialists involved in a patient's treatment and ensures seamless care throughout the patient journey.
Icon Group, Australia's largest dedicated cancer care provider with 28 centres nationally, acquired Singapore Oncology Consultants (SOC) in 2016. In recent years, Icon SOC has grown from four to seven clinics and has extended beyond medical oncology to include haematology and radiation oncology.
This growth has been seen across the Icon portfolio globally as they leverage their Australian and Singaporean capability to service a growing need for cancer services in Asia. In 2018, Icon signed two landmark service agreements with National Cancer Hospital (K Hospital) in Hanoi and Military Hospital 175 in Ho Chi Minh City, to develop large-scale cancer care infrastructure, implement an international standard in medical excellence across hospital management, and apply world-class technology and techniques to deliver remote cancer care in Vietnam. Further to this, the organisation officially signed a milestone agreement with China's Sanbo Brain Hospital Management Group (Sanbo) to deliver radiation oncology services at Sanbo's Chang'an hospital in Chongqing later this year, with a number of other agreements underway in China.
Through acquisition, Icon SOC has developed a unique Singaporean and Australian culture. Dr Tan Yew Oo, one of the original Icon SOC Founders, believes the culture of Icon is one of its strengths.
"The clinicians who established Icon SOC and the other businesses within Icon Group have a strong belief in exceptional cancer care. No matter where that care is delivered we are all speaking the same language - the language of the patient. It is why we brought clinicians together under the Icon SOC banner and this remains as relevant today. Every day I am here to help patients start their cancer journey - it is an honour," says Dr Tan.
Currently, medical tourism accounts for 50 per cent of patients treated at Icon SOC clinics as cancer patients from across Asia and the Middle East come to Singapore for better treatment options. Furthermore, Icon's doctors have been servicing many countries for several years, including Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China and beyond, with doctor-led clinics in Vietnam.
Icon has also employed a unique shared-care model that connects patients to innovative treatments and its clinicians, while enabling them to access local medical relationships to manage ongoing health, side effects and follow up appointments throughout treatment and beyond.
"At the core of Icon is a simple mission - to deliver the best care possible, to as many people as possible, as close to home as possible. Our investment and ongoing commitment to innovative remote care solutions is testament to delivering on this goal and has seen us minimise patient travel to acute care, allowing them to remain closer to their support network," says Ms Wee.
The strength and stability of Icon's global network gives it the unique ability to share expertise where it is needed. Icon does this via the remote application of skills and telehealth models, alongside on-the-ground experience.
"Icon has a strong platform to continue growing in the ASEAN region, introducing additional capabilities and providing the latest cancer treatments using the newest technology and drugs to continue delivering the best care possible to people in the region," she concludes.
iGlobal cancer cases and deaths are set to rise by 70% in next 20 years. BMJ. Available at: https://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c3041