Indonesia’s healthcare industry is poised for growth. It will be worth more than $50 billion by 2020, reports The Jakarta Post. But what are the barriers that hospitals face in their quest to deliver high quality services in the digital age?

Professor Dr Nasronudin, who is the director of Airlangga University Hospital in Surabaya, summarises the scene today: “The challenge for the hospital industry is how hospital management can maintain the quality of human resources; the use of sophisticated equipment at expensive costs; but at the same time, provide faster and safer services and win increasingly fierce competition.”

To keep up, hospitals can adopt a combination of technology and international quality standards to improve services and management. This is the only way that they can “play a role in this era of global competition”, says the professor, who is also president of the Indonesian State University Hospital Association.

Health tech will play a huge role in healthcare services of the future, he continues. “All global communities will be familiar with the use of advanced technology. Social relations will be carried out using technology,” he remarks. “This will reduce the quality of human touch that should remain in providing health services.” But he notes that this does not mean the human touch is ignored altogether.

In countries such as Singapore, the human touch is still very much in demand. The Ministry of Health predicts that the country will need an additional 30,000 healthcare workers by 2020 to care for an ageing population that is living longer. The country is currently figuring out new ways to deliver healthcare services, and at the same time, striking a balance with robotics and automation.

Engaging patients

Professor Dr Nasronudin also notes how it is all the more important today for hospitals to keep clear lines of communication on management practices and service quality as service transformations take place. Communication lies at the heart of patient engagement, and an overall better patient experience.

“The first thing that is very important is transparency between both internal and external stakeholders.”
“The first thing that is very important is transparency between both internal and external stakeholders,” remarks Professor Dr Nasronudin. “In this way, loyalty will be formed” amongst patients, he says.

It can take the form of healthcare and wellness information on a website for any patient to access, enabling them to be more informed about their health, notes the chief executive of a hospital in Singapore. “It is important for our patients to become aware of what quality healthcare is,” Dr Noel Yeo said recently. “And this will improve patient engagement and confidence in medicine.”

Social media can be a useful tool for any hospital to reach out and keep its patients engaged, according to theme COO of a Philippine hospital. “We are using social media to reach out to the community, from the schools to households,” said Dr Paul Brigino, whose hospital runs healthcare and wellness programmes to encourage preventive healthcare.

And within the hospital itself, good communications can enable a ‘patient-centredness’ approach to healthcare services. Simply look at how doctors and nurses communicate amongst themselves, and how they communicate with patients, Dr Fathema Djan Rachmat, President Director of Indonesian healthcare provider PT Pertamina Bina Medika, said recently.

This extends to the communications between leaders and staff, remarked Dr Fathema. “Interaction with your staff is very important. As a leader, your life is easier.”

2019 is a crucial year for Indonesia’s healthcare system, with the introduction of the national health insurance scheme. At the same time, major private players have announced ambitious expansion schemes, and are catching up to neighbours Singapore and Malaysia. Against this backdrop, there is potential for much growth.

Professor Dr Nasronudin will be speaking at Hospital Management Asia on 11-12 September 2019.