Exclusive interview: Los Baños Doctors Hospital & Medical Center, the Philippines
By Jasmine Gan and Ng Yi Ming
Medical Director Dr Rowena Pua shares the challenges the hospital is facing as it expands, and one change she would like to see in healthcare in the Philippines.
What are the biggest challenges that the hospital is facing this year?
The challenge we are facing now is the opening up of the hospital. We have just put up an 8-floor building to add an additional 120 beds.
The exciting thing is that we will be able to have in our hospital, bigger rooms, bigger waiting area for outpatients, and then we can add more facilities like the CT-scans, and improve our dialysis rooms. It will be an increase in all of our services. What’s more, we are going to complete our eye centre, it’s a first for us.
This way, at least the doctors will be able to have complete facilities for the patients. They won't have to refer them to another hospital.
Another obstacle is that we still need funding to purchase all the needed equipment and beds and other requirements for patients’ rooms. We need the optimum set up of beds and side tables, for example. We have already provided air conditioners for all the rooms. A long-term challenge is to improve our mother-child facilities so that we can be considered a baby-friendly hospital.
What are some healthcare trends to watch?
The government is now pushing for universal healthcare, where all Filipinos can access healthcare. It will be a partnership between the government and private sector.
We are still waiting for the implementation of the rules and regulations for the programme to be implemented. Some doctors will have less patients, other doctors will have more patients, but it's okay. This is so that the minority can also access healthcare.
How are you leading digital transformation in your hospital to improve services?
Now we are moving to electronic medical records and we are gearing towards additional equipment like CT scans.
We are just starting out. We have to give a bit more time, because we have to input the daily observations that we have for your inpatients. So what we see is that we will use technology to be more on preventive care, rather than hospitalisation care for patients.
And to improve patient care, we give regular trainings for our nurses and other biomedical groups.
What is one change that you would like to see in healthcare in the Philippines?
One thing I really want is that the government should not allow hospitals to be built nearby to each other. There should be a distance from one hospital to another, so that we can serve more people.
Now, we have four hospitals within a kilometre of each other in this area. The distance should be further so that they can help other parts of the country.