The rise of design thinking in healthcare has spurred me to look into creating the best possible patient-centric experience by understanding the changes in patient behaviours and attitudes. Mount Elizabeth Hospital is taking preliminary steps to go beyond just curing patients of their physical ailments.

1. Encourage patient autonomy

Patients today typically browse online resources before consulting specialists or other healthcare practitioners. They want to be well-informed and they want to make decisions for their healthcare needs. This is a departure from medical paternalism where doctors determine the care and treatments for patients.

We recognise that the public can benefit from a credible resource portal which enables people to take ownership of their well-being. Hence, we developed Health Plus, a source of up-to-date and accurate health and wellness information, that is contributed by our accredited specialists and healthcare professionals.

“It is important for our patients to become aware of what quality healthcare is. And this will improve patient engagement and confidence in medicine.”

Indeed, it is important for our patients to become aware of what quality healthcare is. And this will improve patient engagement and confidence in medicine.

2. Create an eco-friendly institution

Consumers are becoming more conscious of the environment, and for good reason – our choices in the hospital can have adverse consequences on our habitat, which then leads to indirect effects on our patients’ health.

It is only right that we take the initiative to introduce green benchmarks of facility management to explore energy efficient best practices and to reduce waste. I want to emphasise that it is essential this is done without compromising infection control standards (where single-use plastics have great utility for example). For a start, Mount Elizabeth Hospital is working towards becoming a plastic-bag-free hospital.

3. Provide “green healing” spaces

As we move towards progressively holistic approaches in healthcare, we must also look outside conventional ways of helping patients rehabilitate and recover from surgeries. We are planning to introduce biophilic designs by integrating sustainable green spaces like gardens, water features and other natural features into our infrastructure in the near future.

This departure from the standard clinical and sterile aesthetic is a clear sign that hospitals nowadays prioritise not just patients’ physiological, but also psychological well-being. Likewise, creating therapeutic oases of calm in the building allows our staff to rest and relax, thus reducing stress levels and anxiety at work.

4. Foster greater synergy in the hospital

In private hospitals, patients have high expectations about their hospital experiences. They want to communicate, be reassured and be looked after by qualified and proficient staff. This inspired us to design processes that are team-based and focused on departmental collaboration. These processes enabled better communication and minimised duplication of efforts within the wards and offices.

On top of that, our hospital staff feel a greater sense of belonging, and work better and more efficiently with one another. The improved co-ordination has led to a solid improvement in our care delivery and patient satisfaction.

In summary, it is imperative for sustainable healthcare to constantly evolve to meet the needs of those it serves. With consumers preferring transparency and becoming more discerning than before, insights from patient behaviours and perceptions are pivotal to designing holistic healthcare solutions. As part of Singapore’s private healthcare sector, I will continue to explore new initiatives to boost patient experience and engagement, and work hand-in-hand with my fellow healthcare professionals to take Singapore’s healthcare to the next level.

Dr Noel Yeo is CEO of Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

This article was reproduced with permission and originally published here.