HMA 2017: Looking at the future of healthcare in the Philippines, Asia Pacific

August 25, 2017

MANILA: Strong economic growth in the Asia Pacific region and in the Philippines in particular comes with benefits and challenges for the healthcare industry. Although the region is seeing an increase in hospitals, patients in both rural and urban areas are still facing affordability and accessibility issues.

With a focus on the future direction of healthcare in the Philippines and the Asia Pacific region, the 16th edition of the annual Hospital Management Asia conference brought together hospital owners, C-level executives, directors and healthcare leaders from 30 countries all over the world in Manila, Philippines for a two-day conferenced from August 23 to 24, 2017.

The two-day conference served as a space for international delegates and experts to share ideas and develop solutions to the common challenges faced by various hospitals in the region as they relentlessly work to pursue the highest quality of healthcare while lowering cost barriers and making it as inclusive as possible.

Health challenges in Asia Pacific

The Asia Pacific region is facing a myriad of healthcare challenges, according to Winston Phua, Head of Brand, Communications & Digital (BCD) for Philips ASEAN and Pacific.

One of the biggest healthcare challenges in the region is aging population. “Over 60% of the world’s population of 60 years and above is actually residing in our region. So I’m talking about 447 million people. This number is going to double to over 1.3 million people by 2050,” Phua said during the press conference at the HMA 2017.

Another challenge faced by the health sector in the region is the rise of chronic or noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which will continue to put a strain on already stretched healthcare systems. By the year 2030, the five leading NCDs – cardiovascular disease (CVD), chronic respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes and mental ill-health – will cost the global economy US$47 trillion, according to a study released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

On the other hand, professionalization of healthcare management, availability of treatment facilities and trained personnel in hospitals, and the ability to provide geographically and financially accessible care to patients are some of the critical challenges faced by healthcare providers, according to Dr. Eric De Roodenbeke, CEO of the International Hospital Federation (IHF).

Digitalization and innovation in the health sector

“The good news though is that we believe that innovation and technology will go a long way resolving some of these challenges,” said Phua, adding that digital enablement will be an important pathway in the future of the healthcare sector.

One such example is GE Healthcare’s Sustainable Healthcare Solutions (SHS) for emerging markets where they develop technologies that are clinically and economically relevant, according to Myra Eskes, President & CEO of GE Healthcare ASEAN. They also engage in providing skills training for medical personnel as they believe that having good equipment does not automatically mean having good patient outcomes. GE Healthcare also provides financing solutions that are viable and sustainable in the long term to address the issue of funding for players in the industry.

For Siemens Healthineers, it’s using artificial intelligence to help interpret radiology images, whether it’s X-ray, CT or MRI scans, said Elisabeth Staudinger, President of Siemens Healthineers, Asia Pacific.

“We see opportunities helping hospital providers to become a lot more efficient by utilizing information coming off equipment they’ve installed in the hospitals. Then there’s also this greater vision of creating information which is available globally and can be utilized no matter where you are in this planet for determining the best care for a patient,” Staudinger said.

Paula Wilson, President & CEO of Joint Commission International (JCI) USA, said the nonprofit organization sees Asia Pacific as a key region in terms of economic growth and growth in hospitals. JCI provides education, publications, advisory services, and international accreditation and certification to help hospitals improve patient safety and the quality of health care in the international community.

“What we do here is we’re constantly in the region talking to hospital leaders, understanding what their issues are, particularly around doing care in a safe way. That’s really what we’re most interested in. it’s creating processes, standardization to reduce the risk of healthcare because when we don’t do it well, it’s very, very dangerous for patients. So we do education programs here. We do a lot of outreach, a lot of hospital visits. We’re very optimistic about there being a lot more opportunity for us in this part of the world,” Wilson said.

A platform for collaboration

Welcoming more than 1,200 delegates, 80 expert speakers and boasted 13 Hospital Management Awards across 418 entries, Hospital Management Asia (HMA) 2017 provides an annual regional platform for healthcare leaders to network, collaborate and share insights on healthcare management best practices and solutions to shape the future of the industry in Asia.

“It is an honor and privilege for Clarion Events to be hosting HMA 2017 with the Private Hospital Association of the Philippines. Now into its sixteenth year, HMA is the most recognized event for hospital owners and C-level suite executives throughout the region,” said Richard Ireland, Managing Director, Clarion Events Asia.

This year, HMA presented five major themes catering to delegate interests, with the main aim of improving hospital performance and helping to set benchmarks for the best medical practices. Conference sessions at HMA covered topics from all five themes, namely:

  1. Quality, accreditation and safety
  2. Patient care and engagement
  3. Leadership, strategy and management
  4. Talent management
  5. Innovation and sustainability

“HMA has grown beyond a conference to a strong community of hospital owners, C-level executives, directors, clinicians and healthcare leaders in the medical field. As such, we have also lined up meaningful and engaging pre and post-conference events that serves as complements to the main conference namely the Patient Safety and Improvement Certificate Programme and JCI Designing for Safety and Quality Patient Care Workshop hosted by the Joint Commission International. We feel that this would be helpful for the delegates to improve hospital performance and also help with setting benchmarks for the best practices,” said Eleen Tan, Event Director, Hospital Management Asia.

With healthcare being one of the major sectors affected by inequity in the Philippines, HMA aimed to introduce solutions that touch on some aspects such as digitization and information communications improvements in the healthcare sector, business development and telemedicine development.

“We are very honored to co-host this conference,” said Dr. Rustico Jimenez, President of the Private Hospitals Associations of the Philippines, Inc. (PHAP). “We hope that the solutions presented over the two days are insightful and helpful to hospitals in their journey to improvement,” he added.


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