Healthcare / Pharmaceuticals

Top care in a healthy environment

by Ada Ng

Linda Burgoyne, executive director
communications and clinical operations
Matilda International Hospital
Photo: Wallace Chan

Iconic Hong Kong hospital caters to high patient expectations while promoting staff well-being

Most people will need hospital treatment at some point in their lives. Keeping this in mind, one Hong Kong private healthcare institution focuses on providing all the support and care to make patients feel at home.

Staff sensitivity and responsiveness to patients' needs and concerns make all the difference when it comes to the hospital experience, points out Linda Burgoyne, executive director, communications and clinical operations, Matilda International Hospital (MIH).

It is a priority for the hospital to constantly improve everything from menus and choice of television channels to room privacy. "Our entire philosophy is about establishing the needs of our patients and clients," she says. "Our patients' expectations have always been high. They expect more than just basic healthcare services, so our standards are five-star."

The results of a hospital satisfaction survey carried out last year showed that the hospital met or exceeded 96 per cent of patients' expectations regarding everything from food and nursing standards to facilities and communications, Ms Burgoyne notes.

Patients indicated that privacy was high on their list of priorities. In response, the hospital has just added on a ward with private rooms for day patients.

Many clients also enjoy the privacy and personalised ante- and post-natal services offered by the hospital's team of nurses, midwives, physiotherapists and health professionals.

Personal touch

The hospital's maternity service is one of its core businesses and it remains a popular Hong Kong "birth place", notes Ms Burgoyne.

She says, "Many of our mothers choose to deliver their babies here and we encourage them to breastfeed and stay close to their babies all the time. In fact, we have an after-discharge breastfeeding success rate of 97 per cent, which is unheard of elsewhere."

She explains that this is the result of hands-on care by the hospital midwives who spend time teaching new mothers how to look after their babies at home confidently and comfortably.

This demonstrates the hospital's effort in promoting staff interaction with patients, adding an extra dimension to the service levels. "We encourage our patients to ask questions, because the more informed they are, the more at ease they feel," Ms Burgoyne says.

The hospital also focuses on innovative treatments. Since orthopaedics is a key service, the hospital is currently building a new theatre to be predominately used for orthopaedic surgery. "We'll be the first hospital in Hong Kong to set up a mobile O-arm imaging system used for spine and orthopaedic surgery," Ms Burgoyne says. The new technology will improve accuracy of the surgical procedure.

Staff wellbeing

MIH's unique corporate wellness programme with its built-in health promotion aspect is another innovative staff-in-mind service, according to Ms Burgoyne.

Instead of simply assessing staff on an individual basis, the hospital's health assessment unit correlates all information gathered from medical assessment tests to analyse the company's wellness as a whole.Data is then used to tailor corporate programmes to improve corporate health.

As well as offering health and wellness talks, the hospital also invites specialists to assess the staff canteen food, improve ergonomics and introduce exercise programmes.

Ms Burgoyne notes that Hong Kong companies are starting to take corporate wellness more seriously, as they realise that healthier staff translates into fewer sick days, hence improving corporate efficiency.

The hospital's emphasis on employee well-being ties in closely with its high expectations in terms of staff quality. "When we recruit nurses and other healthcare professionals, we expect them to put patient welfare first," Ms Burgoyne remarks.

"As all-round medical professionals, they should take the initiative to talk to patients, understand their needs and provide them with the necessary support," Ms Burgoyne.

As a means of boosting service quality as well as staff loyalty, the hospital also emphasises staff training. "In addition to the mandatory healthcare and customer service training, we also invest resources in nurturing nurses' additional areas of professional interest," Ms Burgoyne confirms.

To foster a sense of belonging and job ownership, the hospital creates specialist roles for staff.

For instance, senior nurses carry the role of duty managers on a regular basis. Other staff are given important departmental responsibilities such as health and safety and infection control.

"These give staff a sense of significance and remind them that they are moving forward in their careers," Ms Burgoyne adds. "In addition to a positive working environment, we also offer flexibility, for example with our new policy of giving clinical staff three or four days off after working three 12-hour shifts."


Taken from Career Times 15 May 2009, p. B4
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