Many countries across Asia are experiencing demographic changes that are likely to have a significant impact on future opportunities for private hospitals and clinics. Population demographics are rapidly ageing for some countries, accelerating demand for acute and emergency care.
This has forced some Governments to play catchup, building capacity after years of under-investment in public healthcare infrastructure. These pressures have also led to a stronger focus on holistic primary care and home based care initiatives, designed to provide access to more appropriate care for patients with chronic care needs, and reduce reliance on emergency acute facilities.
Even countries with strong investment flows into public health infrastructure, such as Singapore, have found it difficult to keep up with the challenge. According to a 2018 research report by Value Penguin, Singaporeans are now faced with the reality of overcrowded public hospitals, with waiting times across 6 Singapore public hospital emergency departments averaging 2.5 hours. According to the report, the figures are far worse mid-week, with much longer average delays and extremely high bed occupancy rates. It should come as little surprise that the Singaporean Government is aiming to increase the number of hospitals from 27 to 33 by 2022, which will be achieved by a combination of public and private hospitals.
As Governments scramble to build overall capacity in the healthcare system, this rapidly increasing demand for healthcare services clearly offers opportunities for investments in private hospitals and clinics across the region. It also points to the need for the private sector to find more effective ways to scale service delivery, and improve the patient customer experience.
United Family Healthcare (UFH) group is China’s largest foreign-invested healthcare provider. UFH operates private hospitals and health clinics in major cities throughout China, delivering comprehensive, integrated healthcare in a personalised, patientcentered way. Their patients include both local residents and international visitors, with an emphasis on holistic family care.
According to Jenny Shao, UFH’s Director Health Information Systems, private healthcare organisations are able to provide more individualised care than the public providers. “United Family Healthcare has a hub and spoke model of hospitals and primary care clinics. We are setting up a healthcare ecosystem of coordinated care delivery using an InterSystems TrakCare Electronic Medical Record (EMR) solution.”
“We talk about the three Ps: the patient, the provider and the payer. We also offer an insurance program called Unity, where UFH is a provider as well as a payer. As a result, our purpose is not only to treat the customer, but to keep them in a healthy condition. Our clinicians are now starting to select cohorts of patients for care coordination, and will soon have disease management groups. We use TrakCare with InterSystems HealthShare to carry out patient cohort analysis, so our clinicians can understand which patients should be targeted for care coordination, and what their risk profiles are.”
With waiting times and bottlenecks increasing the pressure on the public system, recruiting and retaining high caliber clinicians is likely to become more challenging across the entire sector. Private hospital operators that are seeking to grow patient revenue and volume will need to focus their efforts towards lifting clinical productivity while delivering a superior patient experience.
By automating clinical workflows within the EMR, healthcare providers are able to better standardise clinical care across the organisation, and more easily and efficiently coordinate handover. Best practice EMR implementations also create opportunities to innovate more rapidly, and make it easier to consistently deploy new workflows that reflect best clinical practice. The end result of these EMR workflows, are fewer delays for both patients and clinicians, with information being available in real-time to relevant clinicians.
Self-service technologies and mobile technologies are also playing an increasing role for patients, and will undoubtedly be deployed more widely throughout healthcare organisations over the next few years. The ‘self-service’ trend is well established in retail, where it has been enthusiastically been adopted. In healthcare environments, self-service is likely to focus on areas such as appointment scheduling, billing, hospital admissions, and medication dispensing.
Clinical settings themselves are also changing, with in-home care, primary care clinics, and ‘wellness’ clinics growing in importance for private hospital operators. As these more diverse care settings become more integrated at an organisational level with traditional acute care hospitals, the breadth of care settings that need to be managed expands, and it can become much more challenging to consistently deliver high quality care. EMR workflows can help ensure best practice clinical methods are followed across the various locations and settings, while helping to reduce delays for patients, streamline billing processes, and ease the burden of scheduling and coordinating care.
United Family Healthcare
United Family Healthcare (UFH) is an international hospital and clinic network that provides private, premium healthcare.
• founded in 1997
• pioneered private international healthcare in China
• hospitals and clinics in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuxi, Tianjin, Qingdao, Bo’ao and Nanjing
• delivers premium, personalized healthcare
Leading private hospitals across Asia are partnering with InterSystems to transform healthcare delivery. Please visit http://bit.ly/2NCRJPg to learn more.