Exclusive Interview: CEO, Dr. Kariadi General Hospital Medical Center, Semarang, Central Java

By Shanty Citra and Nurfilzah Rohaidi

Hospital Insider speaks to Chief Executive Dr. Agus Suryanto on his vision for 2019.

Dr. Kariadi General Hospital Medical Center (RSUP Dr. Kariadi) is a teaching hospital in the city of Semarang in Central Java, Indonesia. Hospital Insider speaks to its Chief Executive, Dr. Agus Suryanto, on the hospital’s efforts at digital transformation.

What is your vision for your hospital this year?

We have begun transforming the organisation. There are more private hospitals than public ones in Indonesia and they are mostly managed by business people, so public hospitals like us will be left behind if we don’t continue to improve.

This transformation includes changing our view of public service to become more ‘friendly’ and patient-oriented. The most important issue for us are quality and patient safety, and it has become the backbone of our healthcare services.

We are still growing, and nowadays not only in RSUP dr. Kariadi but other hospitals as well, there is a push to implement technological advances. We have started using information technology for outpatient and inpatient services, queuing systems, and patient management.

And we also applied IT in drugs and goods management, procurement systems, and even for the human resources management. With all the weaknesses we still have, we are still trying to build and develop the system so we can provide a platform that can be easily accessed, even internationally.

What are is one challenge that you have faced while implementing this vision?

Our biggest challenge yet is to transform our working culture. This is not easy, but at least we have started this transformation from three or four years ago. We changed the function of human resources, as we want them to have a good work ethic and competitiveness.

We also provide an organisation regeneration centre for professional healthcare providers and management level, and we encourage our staff to pursue further education within the nation and abroad.

This year, we are also focusing on digitising the hospital. We have invested in new technology infrastructures since the previous year, and this year we will start transferring our conventional systems to digital ones.

How are you improving communication between doctors and patients using technology?

If we apply IT systems, our fellow Indonesians can easily access the system, they will see the quality of service in RSUP dr. Kariadi. They will also be able to easily register themselves, and won’t need to come into the hospital just to set up an appointment. If they have set an online appointment, they will only need to come for the treatment.

Even after their treatment, we still maintain the communication between patients and doctors. The Ministry of Health has provided an online platform called sehatpedia (healthpedia), and each hospital has doctors assigned to moderate the platform. Patients can access sehatpedia and then chat with the doctor they choose.

But this is only for educational purposes. They are not allowed to give prescriptions, but it is more like a consultation: “I have some illnesses like A, B, C, so where should I get checked out?”

It is basically to educate the community. One of our community issues is their hobby to “shop for doctors”, from doctor A, to doctor B, to C, and D, and so on. And it is not very efficient. With this communication platform, they could ask the hospital, not necessarily the doctor they want to consult with, about their health problems.

And today the MoH also has an integrated referral system called SISRUTE. This is to avoid patients waiting for a long time in a hospital for a certain doctor, just to find out that the doctor is not coming that day so they have to come back another day. This kind of situation is not efficient and convenient for our people.

Furthermore with the competition in digital era, MoH provides the inter-hospital referral system based on IT. So we can register first then check for the availability of the room or bed, whether they have the doctor or not, who is the doctor they want to consult with, and the availability of the other doctors. And that includes if our facility is full, and we need to hospitalise our patient in another hospital - we can give technical support for the doctors in other hospitals or provide consultations on the medical professional we refer to about the treatment they need to conduct, while the patient waiting to be admitted to their hospital room.

How do you ensure that your clinicians are constantly updating their skills?

We want to build partnerships in other countries, and we are very open about this. We have established some in Asia Pacific and Europe. We want to establish good partnerships with several countries in Asia Pacific or in the world, also to fulfil our needs as a teaching hospital.

For example, we have visited several health centres in Japan and Singapore. And our doctors and other healthcare professionals have their own network with other nations like the Netherlands, India, Australia, and the US. And each of them usually invite experts to exchange knowledge with us in RSUP dr. Kariadi.

For example, the obstetric gynaecology department might invite someone from this field in that month, and then someone from the cardiovascular department will invite the other expert from their field, or the infection department will invite someone from the Netherlands, and the neurosurgery department will invite experts from Japan. Sometimes we invite them to come, the other time we visit them for a field study.