By THEPHILBIZNEWS STAFF
With the growing demand for health care services in the country, the Board of Investments (BOI) Philippines is moving to further improve the competitiveness of the country’s local healthcare services industry as it recently held an International Certification Awareness Seminar.
The seminar aims to make the industry prepared not only for the growing needs of the Filipinos but also for the growing opportunities in the medical tourism industry.
“This seminar aims to support and help enable the existing healthcare facilities and services, especially those licensed by the Department of Health (DOH) and/or accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT), to become better prepared not only for the growing needs of the local populace but also for the growing opportunities in the medical tourism and wellness travel industry. We hope to make them fully aware of the additional opportunities that a pursuit of international certification can provide,” BOI Executive Director Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa said during the start of the event.
“The Philippines, with the most hospitable, caring, nurturing, and wonderful people, coupled with the wonderful sights and relaxing places, has a lot to offer to the world. I think we just need to let the world know and while at that, ready our healthcare facilities for an experience that every medical tourist would be proud to share,” Executive Director Dichosa said.
On hand to share their knowledge and experiences were officials and representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry-Philippine Accreditation Bureau (DTI-PAB), PAB-accredited Medical Equipment Healthcare Group, Inc. Phils. (MedEquip), Department of Health – Philippine Medical Tourism Program (DOH-PMTWT), Philippine Tripartite Accreditation for Health Facilities, Inc. (PTAHF) and Health Core International. Participants include as far as Iloilo (St. Paul Hospital Iloilo), Dumaguete (ACE Medical Center), Floridablanca-Pampanga (Floridablanca Doctors Hospital) and Lemery-Batangas (Our Lady of Caysasay Medical Center).
During the Seminar, it was highlighted that the safety and effectiveness of medical devices and equipment play a critical role in healthcare. The correct use and adequate performance maintenance of such can help reduce adverse events that will improve overall effectiveness of treatment and increase the number of patients who will benefit from the medical products.
“It (international quality accreditation) is not meant to be a marketing badge. Rather, it is an assurance, a validation that a healthcare facility is practicing a culture of quality and excellence, continuously striving to comply with the global standards of patient safety and care. With very meticulous patients placing their lives into our hands, trust in our healthcare system needs to be established through quality certifications as audited by highly reputable and globally-accepted accreditation agency. As a result, we are able to attract international patients, encourage investments, and provide excellent healthcare service to our Filipino people,” said Joyce Socao-Alumno, President & CEO of HealthCore.
In his presentation on The Use of Standards in Providing Safe Medical Equipment for Patients and End Users, Dr. Jose Pepito Amores, Chief Operating Officer of MEDEQUIP, stated “we provide maintenance management program for medical equipment aligned with patient focused care which is interdisciplinary, safe, and monitored. So we apply our expertise in ensuring our clients are serviced not only to PAB-approved levels but also are compliant with international standards and see to it that patients have a safer and comfortable experience.”
Ms. Ma. Carla Naniong, Operations Manager of the PTAHF, shared its decade-long journey in finally being able to grant its first gold seal of certification to FEU-NRMF hospital on January 2019, it being the first home-grown organization accredited by the prestigious ISQUa (International Society for Quality in Healthcare, now the IEEA) at par with global standard organizations such as JCI (Joint Commission International) of USA, ACI (Accreditation Canada International), QHA Trent of U.K., TEMOS of Germany, NABH of India, and others.
“True to its vision and mission, to be a globally recognized, self-sustaining Third Party Accrediting Organization, committed to assist health facilities achieve safe and quality services, PTAHF standards were developed for all types of health care facilities – hospital and clinics – to comply the baseline requirements of an international best practice for quality and safety healthcare standards. At the end of the day, let’s patronize our very own. PTAHF Quality Standards, developed by Filipinos for Filipinos,” stated Ms. Naniong.
The seminar is part of many initiatives of the BOI to further develop globally competitive industries through its Industry Development Program (IDP). The Roadmap on Medical Travel and Wellness Tourism was completed in 2015 with the active participation of stakeholders. Among the recommendations in the Roadmap are the implementation of a uniform system of data collection, analysis and dissemination and the development of a brand strategy for the country. The awareness seminar seeks to ensure that the sector, prior to the brand strategy launch, will have the right healthcare facilities that are internationally recognized and accredited that can multiply the people-value the country is known for.
In her presentation on the BOI Investments Priorities Plan (IPP), BOI-Infrastructure and Services Industries Service (ISIS) Director Angelita F. Arcellana said that the ultimate objective of the BOI is for participants to gain actual international accreditation even if the process takes about two years since it is important for these firms to level up and gain the necessary traction of attracting more clients and additional investments.