Catering to a burgeoning medical tourism industry

ISLAND Hospital is among the top 10 hospitals in Malaysia that made the World’s Best Hospitals 2024 listing by Newsweek and Statista.

This recognition, which is the result of a stringent selection process involving 2,400 hospitals from 30 countries, reflects the hospital’s commitment to delivering best-in-class person-centred care.

A significant contributor to the industry, Island Hospital welcomed 193,000 health travellers from more than 100 countries in 2023, representing a double-digit increase compared to pre-pandemic figures, with over 20,000 of them undergoing their health screening there.

“Island Hospital is a top-of-mind healthcare destination due to the expertise and reputation, which we have built and nurtured for over 20 years,” said Island Hospital chief of staff Lim Kooi Ling.

“People trust in the quality of healthcare being delivered at competitive costs here alongside a health traveller-friendly ecosystem that assures patients from around the globe of a seamless experience.”

The hospital’s consistently strong performance as a choice destination for health travellers through the years is in line with its standing as one of four finalists in the prestigious Flagship Medical Tourism Hospital (FMTH) programme in Malaysia, which is spearheaded by the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) and fully endorsed by the Malaysian government and Health Ministry.

As the only FMTH finalist in the northern region, Island Hospital has been undergoing rigorous audit and assessment processes by international bodies like Joint Commission International (JCI) and IQVIA, in a bid to provide the ‘Best Malaysia Healthcare Travel Experience by 2025’.

In striving for continuous improvement, the hospital is committed to elevating patient experiences with the provision of exceptional preventative and curative care anchored on medical excellence, service excellence best practices and international branding.

One way the hospital does this is by enhancing its offerings with the comfort and convenience of patients in mind. To ensure seamless end-to-end patient journeys for health travellers, the hospital has a dedicated International Patient Service Centre to help them even before they arrive and post-treatment.

The hospital also recently launched the VESALIUS.m mobile app in a bid to harness mobile technology to enhance patient experience.

“A collaborative effort with Nova MSC Bhd, the app aims to strengthen patient engagement beyond the hospital premises, providing a convenient, efficient and user-friendly platform for patients to access medical information, manage appointments, monitor their queue status, provide feedback and much more,” Lim said.

Additionally, the provision of specialist-led health screenings with same-day results, helps to alleviate anxiety, especially among health travellers who might be on a time constraint.

This also enables patients to promptly make informed decisions regarding further treatments, opinions or options available to them.

In its endeavours to uphold medical excellence and service excellence best practices, the hospital has, through the years, garnered a string of local and international accolades.

Lim Kooi Ling

In November 2023, it became the first Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS)-accredited hospital in the Asia Pacific to achieve the Centre of Excellence (CoE) certification for its cancer care services.

“The CoE certification process included adopting evidence-based medicine and holistic care while prioritising the active involvement of patients and their families by embracing person-centred care whilst highlighting our dedication and commitment to clinical excellence and continuing improvement,” elaborated Lim.

In 2017, Island Hospital embarked on the development of the Island Medical City, a first-of-its-kind integrated medical hub.

When fully completed, Island Medical City will incorporate, among others, 380 medical suites and a medical tourism-focused hotel, as well as housing expanded centres of excellence, focusing on oncology, orthopaedics and general surgery as well as gastroenterology, cardiology, neurosciences, ambulatory care, health screening, digestive health, preventative medicine and fertility.

“With a gross development value of RM2 bil, Island Medical City was conceived based on successful models in developed healthcare ecosystems. With a 1,000-bed capacity, it will be able to accommodate the growing number of both local and international patients,” Lim explained.

“We also envision that our medical suites will be a platform to attract healthcare professionals across a diverse range of specialities under one roof, providing a centralised platform for them to utilise Island Hospital’s facilities to grow their practices while contributing to the advancement of healthcare in Penang and Malaysia.”

With strategic investments in facilities, capabilities and technologies, Island Hospital continues to accelerate its endeavours to expand and simplify access to quality healthcare services and propel Malaysia into the global spotlight as a premier destination in the medical tourism industry.

“Our vision is to raise the Malaysia Healthcare brand to enrich and enhance the level of healthcare delivery for both healthcare travellers and our local community,” said Lim. – Feb 29, 2024

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