You can tell a lot about a company based on the people who represent it. That’s why after healthcare conglomerate Aster DM Healthcare announced that it’s taken interest in the Philippines, I took the opportunity to ask Director Alisha Moopen and Country Manager Joyce Socao-Alumno a few questions.
Representatives of healthcare conglomerate Aster DM Healthcare answer questions about what they will do – and what they can do – for the Philippines.
I mentioned how Aster DM Healthcare plans to collaborate – not to compete – with pre-existing hospitals and medical institutions. Is this just a euphemism of the truth?
Alumno, Manager of Aster DM Healthcare in the Philippines, says it isn’t. “There are several underserved communities that we need to attend to. An ambulatory clinic cannot do much [for them]. They need to be sent to hospitals and that's where the collaboration comes. We will also partner with the HMOs.
“Competition only exists when there is a low demand for something. But here in the Philippines, the demand is high.”
Aside from ambulatory clinics, what does Aster DM Healthcare plan to bring to the Philippines?
Alumno mentions the use of more efficient technology in the form of electronic medical records (EMR). “EMR is paperless. There will be no need for the patient to tell [one doctor after another] about what happened to him in the past. No need to try to remember what was done and what [was taken].”
Aster DM Healthcare promises to bring in better technology and better services.
The goal of EMR: A seamless delivery of care if the patient comes from within Aster DM Healthcare’s network, courtesy of a centralized database.
But we already have EMRs in the Philippines, you might say. That’s not the case for many institutions, including the flagship hospitals of the country. Aster DM Healthcare just might set an example worth emulating.
Samie Lim of Casam Holdings, Inc., owning 10 percent of Aster DM Healthcare’s clinic network in the metro, mentions something every patient can relate to: shorter waiting times.
“Queuing in other places is so terrible,” Lim says. “We don't know when we will be called. There are best practices to be observed.”
What are these “best practices”?
Moopen elaborates. “There are three things that we focus on. One is clinical outcome. There are no compromises made when it comes to quality.
“Second is service excellence. There are many places you can go for medical expertise, but comfort is also important. Handholding you through that journey is very important. Everyone is handpicked to deliver that degree of care.
“Third is cost outcome. We need to make sure that [each service] is at the right price point. We start very modestly. We want to be able to extend care, not only to those who have deep pockets, but to everyone, which is why we did segmentation.” Put simply, segmentation allows people of different incomes to choose which facilities they can go to, depending on what they can afford. We adopt the promise, ‘We’ll treat you well,’ not only for patients but also for our staff and experts.
As for where Aster DM Healthcare is headed in the Philippines, Moopen has this to say: “We begin with a small center but we can quickly and rapidly grow. We start with one unit, expanding to five or six units in the first year. We can build more ambulatory clinics and a hospital as well.”