International standards the key to medical tourism in Indonesia and Malaysia

 

In Indonesia, the Ministry of Health plans to transform the island’s largest hospital, Sanglah Hospital, into an international hospital offering services in accordance to benchmarks set by the US-based accreditation body, Joint Commission International (JCI). As a first step, Sanglah has received a certificate of accreditation from the National Committee for Hospital Accreditation [KARS).

The aim is that by 2012 Sanglah will become the first international hospital in Indonesia. Key benchmarks are excellent customer care, patient safety, and hospital management. The ministry admits that customer care and customer-related services are a general weakness of Indonesian hospitals. It believes that this, not cost, is why many Indonesians seek medical treatment overseas. The ministry wants hospital staff to improve their communication skills and their ability to be sympathetic to patients. It believes that on equipment, technology and medical expertise, Indonesian hospitals are on a par with overseas counterparts.

The plan for international accreditation will ensure that international standard services will be available for local and foreign patients. The ministry aims to have seven hospitals with the international standard accreditation. Four hospitals - Sanglah, Cipto Mangunkusumo, Wahidin and Pertamina have already rolled out improvement programmes while three hospitals are preparing to launch the programme.

In Malaysia, the Penang state government plans to develop and promote Penang as the medical city of the region. Patients from within ASEAN countries and further afield will be able to go to Penang to seek a holistic and cost-effective healthcare once everything is in place. The local government says that out of Malaysia's total medical tourism receipts, Penang contributed 57% in 2009 and 66% in 2010. Penang has some seven speciality hospitals, which have formed the Penang Health Association to jointly promote Penang as a destination of choice for medical tourism. Other business sectors, including tour and travel agencies, hotels, transport and restaurants will also be involved in efforts to develop Penang into a medical city.

Located off the northern coast of Peninsular Malaysia in the Andaman Sea, Penang, and in particular its capital city of George Town, has become a destination for medical tourism. Penang offers a combination of hospitals, clinics, medical specialists and other healthcare providers, with medical treatment and services offered at considerably lower costs compared to Australia, Europe, UK or USA. These are further enhanced by a dynamic economy, stable government, and a well-educated and multi-lingual workforce. Penang has earned a growing reputation for quality medical services for visitors from around the world.

PenangHealth is an alliance of seven hospitals in the state working together to meet this growing international demand:
•    Gleneagles Medical Centre
•    Hospital Lam Wah Ee
•    Island Hospital
•    Loh Guan Lye Specialists Centre
•    Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital
•    Pantai Hospital Penang
•    Penang Adventist Hospital

PenangHealth combines and coordinates the resources of all seven medical facilities to provide a comprehensive range of general, secondary and tertiary services at competitive rates.

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