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Elevating benchmarks to enhance Malaysia’s healthcare ecosystem

Publish date: Thu, 08 Jun 2023, 12:22 AM

SPEARHEADED by the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) and endorsed by the government, the Flagship Medical Tourism Hospital Programme aspires to set new benchmarks in global healthcare travel.

The programme is an integral part of the five-year Malaysia Healthcare Travel Industry Blueprint to provide the Best Healthcare Travel Experience by 2025 which aims to empower the country’s private healthcare facilities to deliver seamless end-to-end patient experiences anchored upon outcome-based medical excellence, service excellence best practices and international branding.

“The progress we have witnessed with the Flagship programme is a testament to the drive and focus of becoming the future torchbearer for Malaysia Healthcare, not only locally but also internationally, significantly contributing to the country’s export service,” Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa pointed out in a statement.

Subsequent to rigorous auditing by international bodies Joint Commission International (JCI) and IQVIA, four private hospitals, namely Mahkota Medical Centre, Institut Jantung Negara (IJN), Island Hospital and Subang Jaya Medical Centre, were unveiled as finalists of this first-of-its-kind programme recently.

“We are one of the largest and most comprehensive hospitals in Southern Peninsular Malaysia. The investments we will be making with this programme will further reinforce Mahkota Medical Centre as one of the most reputable referral hospitals across Southeast Asia and better serve local and regional communities,” noted Mahkota Medical Centre’s CEO Stanley Lam.

“Our expansion plans include a beautiful seafront location, located in the heart of Melaka, a UNESCO world heritage site.”

According to IJN’s CEO Datuk Dr Aizai Azan Abdul Rahim, the Flagship Medical Tourism Hospital Programme provides a platform to support the national agenda of making Malaysia a top healthcare travel destination as well as improving IJN.

“Apart from maintaining quality healthcare, we aspire to bring in the latest technologies and techniques for the benefit of the public. These are key in ensuring that we are at the top of clinical excellence and people’s minds so they are assured of receiving the best heart care,” enthused Dr Aizai.

Meanwhile, Island Hospital CEO Mark Wee found the Flagship Medical Tourism Hospital Programme aligned well with the hospital’s vision for growth.

“We conceived the Island Medical City in 2016 as our commitment towards taking medical tourism in Malaysia to the next level. This ambitious project marks the evolution of Island Hospital into a leading regional quaternary healthcare provider offering the Best in Class to our patients,” contended Wee.

“This vision dovetails perfectly with the goals of the Flagship Medical Tourism Hospital Programme. With the opening of our new facilities, the Peel Wing in 2022, we are poised to achieve our goal of healthcare travellers making up to 80% of our revenue in the next few years.”

Elsewhere, Subang Jaya Medical Centre’s (SJMC) CEO Bryan Lin sees the Flagship Medical Tourism Hospital Programme as an opportunity for collaboration and growth, not just for SJMC alone but also for Malaysian healthcare globally.

“Through this programme, we hope to contribute strongly to growing the healthcare travel market by at least 30% yearly. We are excited to take our capabilities to the next level to become a premier healthcare travel destination of choice,” shared Lin.

The four finalists are now embarking on the Acceleration Period of the programme which is from 2023 to 2025. During this three-year period, the hospitals will be granted several incentives.

These include fast track-facilitation to support the development milestones, flexibility of testing concepts with healthcare technology sandbox, access to programme mentors/advisors that will assist with programme development, progress assessment and monitoring as well as a special investment tax allowance (ITA) for qualifying capital expenditures.

According to MHTC’s acting CEO Farizal Jaafar, the iconic flagship medical tourism hospitals are set to accelerate industry growth and pave the way for more sustainable and enhanced private healthcare services in the country.

“The programme is anticipated to contribute towards boosting the nation’s socio-economic development. This will generate spill-over effects that will further strengthen our healthcare system, hence providing all Malaysians with easier access to quality healthcare,” he added. - June 7, 2023

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