Care of A Different Kind of Care

发布时间:2020-03-26 来源: 人生感悟 点击:

  The New Century International Children’s Hospital in Beijing exemplifies a new trend in hospital management
  Chinese parents and children, who are used to the noise and disruption of the typical hospital, may well find themselves unaccustomed to the quiet setting of the New Century International Children’s Hospital.
  Located in downtown Beijing, the hospital was hailed as a “special Children’s Day gift” when it opened its doors on June 1 this year. It is believed to be the most modern children’s hospital in China.
  The 8,500-square-meter building was specially designed and decorated to cater to children’s psychological needs. Apart from the world-class medical equipment, it practices an internationally recognized management system in line with the standards set by the U.S. Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, with the aim of creating a cozy environment for the young patients and providing quality services to them and their parents.
  Most hospitals in China are overcrowded and have notoriously complicated procedures. In these hospitals, a sick child has to be escorted by two adults. However, a woman who was in the New Century Hospital with her husband to accompany their sick daughter found her presence “unnecessary,” as the hospital offered one-stop medical services. They did not have to rush around to follow the doctor’s instructions as in most other hospitals. Instead, they just stayed in a home-like medical ward, with hospital staff taking care of everything. This is in sharp contrast to other hospitals, where doctors sit behind their desks, while patients wait their turn outside the consulting rooms.
  “Almost all the treatment processes are done in a single ward,” said Xin Hong, the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer. “Apart from making things easy for the parents and children, it’s intended to protect the privacy of the children.”
  Hospitals are a source of pain for most children. Rooms where injections are given and laboratories for various types of tests are usually filled with loud cries. But doctors at the New Century Hospital refer to collecting blood samples as “performing magic.” The children’s hands are covered with a cloth, and blood samples are collected from their fingers before they know it.
  A variety of cartoon books are available. Soft music is also played to lessen the children’s nervousness. To many parents’ surprise, the doctors can give injections and take blood samples painlessly, a feat that amazed the father of a three-year-old boy. “Judging from his facial expression, my son didn’t feel any pain,” he said.
  “Don’t treat children simply as patients or emotionless beings. Don’t regard them as adults, either. You should always think of their feelings,” blurted a physician as he walked out of a medical ward.
  No more white coats
  CONFIDENT CEO: David Wood, Chief Executive Officer of the New Century International Children’s Hospital in Beijing, has his eyes fixed on the business potential unleashed by China’s growing middle-income families
  In this hospital, the traditional white coat has been discarded. Doctors are dressed in colorful clothes decorated with patterns familiar to children. Medical Supervisor Zhou Hong explained that children fear doctors clad in white coats and are therefore reluctant to go to the hospital. “Our hospital gives children the feeling of being at home or in an amusement park instead of in a hospital. As they feel at ease, they can cooperate with doctors and nurses. This, of course, can make a difference in their treatment and recovery,” she said.
  The doctors are required to communicate with the sick children for at least 15 minutes when they meet for the first time. In typical overpopulated hospitals, this is a wild dream for patients. Doctors also tell the parents, “The relationship between you and the hospital is cooperative. We will provide you with the most complete information, and you are welcome to join us in the decision-making process. We will not make all decisions for your children on our own. This helps shape a perfect treatment scheme.”
  The hospital is designed to look more like a kindergarten, with recreational areas both in the outpatient department and the inpatient department. Children admitted to the hospital for treatment are allowed to take various toys with them. The inpatient wards, which serve as their temporary homes, can be decorated as they like. Parents can stay with them in the spacious wards furnished with sofa beds.
  Each child has his or her own physician, pharmacist, nutritionist and nurse in the hospital. Their routine health checks are like a party held in the patients’ ward. After the patients leave the hospital, these professionals will continue to advise their parents on the use of medicine and home care.
  “Both my son and I think it’s like visiting a friendly neighbor,” said a father, who was ready to check out with his cured boy. “He even begged to be allowed to stay here longer.”
  David Wood, a hospital manager with 25 years’ experience in running medical institutions in the United States and some other countries, is the chief executive officer of the New Century Hospital. “The most important factor in hospital management is market positioning,” he said. “It is the key to determining the management pattern.”
  Wood formerly was president and general manager of another international medical institution in China. That hospital mainly targeted wealthy Chinese and expatriates, charging staggering prices for their services. Wood said New Century Hospital wanted to be different. The hospital learned from a market survey that Chinese middle-income earners are willing to pay more to enjoy better medical services. However, they will still recoil if the prices charged are many times higher than in public hospitals.
  Filling a niche
  The New Century Hospital fills in the gap by offering high-quality services to middle-income families at prices they can afford. Moreover, it cooperates with many medical insurers, making it easy for its customers to settle medical expenses.
  Wood said the hospital must make sure the prices are affordable for Chinese families. “If this is not taken into account, you will never get ahead in China’s health care business,” he said.
  The New Century Hospital is a profit-making hospital funded by private capital. Wood admitted that the investors certainly hoped to build a luxurious hospital, but in that case the hospital would have to charge high fees to earn a profit, turning many prospective clients away.
  Wood noted that on one end of the health care system are deluxe international hospitals catering to a small segment of the market, and on the other end are public hospitals serving the majority of Chinese patients. He said the New Century Hospital is somewhere in between, a position where there are many opportunities.
  In his view, prices must be reasonable in order to gain a competitive advantage. Hospitals should make every effort to ensure that the medical services patients receive are well worth the money they pay.
  Generally speaking, a patient’s expenses include the cost of medicine, expendable medical supplies, the services of medical staff and hospital administration. Some experts say the last two categories of expenses in Chinese hospitals are the lowest in the world. The largest portion of a patient’s payment actually goes to medicine and medical supplies.
  Despite their essential role in treating patients, medical workers are often underpaid. As a result, the practice of taking bribes before surgery still occurs now and then despite government ban. University graduates prefer to work in pharmaceutical and medical equipment businesses rather than become doctors or nurses.
  The New Century Hospital is eager to reverse the situation, according to Wood. While investing heavily in human resources and management, it strictly supervises the purchase of medicine. Pharmaceuticals must be approved by the Medicine Management Committee before they are used in the hospital.
  Strong affiliation
  The New Century Hospital is located in the complex of the Beijing Children’s Hospital, the largest comprehensive children’s hospital in China and in Asia. It was established as the international branch of the prestigious hospital and has received great support from it.
  Wood said the New Century Hospital’s proximity to the Beijing Children’s Hospital could give it a business advantage, making it more accessible to patients.
  He added that the New Century Hospital has a complete set of medical equipment. However, it did not purchase any costly, rarely used products. In case special tests have to be performed, facilities in the neighboring Beijing Children’s Hospital can be used on a fee basis. This arrangement helps reduce the costs of the hospital and thus lessens the financial burden of the patients, Wood said.
  He commented that the Beijing Children’s Hospital has top pediatricians and a wide array of programs. This cooperation ensures that the New Century Hospital can provide excellent medical services. He added that full-time doctors in the New Century Hospital are also highly competent and will receive constant training to improve their skills.
  Zhang Jinzhe, one of the pioneers of pediatric surgery in China and a senior consultant at the Beijing Children’s Hospital, was once invited to take part in the diagnosis of some critical patients in the hospital. Li Zhongzhi, President of the Beijing Children’s Hospital, Hu Yamei, a renowned expert in children’s blood disorders, and other experts serve as the hospital’s consultants.
  The hospital has established special committees on medical services, medical records, infection management and medicine purchases. These committees oversee the operations of the hospital and safeguard the rights of the patients.
  The New Century Hospital can also arrange international hospital transfers. It is the only Asian member of the U.S. National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions. It also keeps cooperative relations with children’s hospitals in some U.S. cities such as Boston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Wood believes these links are valuable because they enable his medical staff to exchange information with their U.S. counterparts.
  The membership scheme adopted by the hospital entitles its members to all-inclusive health care services. Wood said his hospital not only treats diseases but also tries to build a safety net for children, offering services ranging from daily health care to medical treatment and recuperation.
  Wood is optimistic about the hospital’s future, adding that with the medical staff constantly enhancing their competence, he is looking to turn the children’s hospital into the best of its type in Asia.

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