What are the most important trends and developments transforming the healthcare sector?
The biggest changes have been the internet and digital health. The availability of knowledge is now so widespread, and it is not restricted to just specialists and doctors. Another trend is technological innovation; Prince Court is a leader in adopting and using new technologies. We acknowledge that the trend will increasingly move toward robotics, though we are waiting to see greater acceptance from insurance companies and the medical community as a whole. Medical equipment is becoming even more specialized and expensive, resulting in increasing healthcare costs. Healthcare technology continues to develop, and we must ensure that we do not deprive people of healthcare services as we head toward more robotics and innovation. Digital equipment and wearable technology will also continue to develop and will particularly change, especially in primary healthcare.
What needs to happen for Malaysia to develop further as a prime medical tourism hub in the region?
Malaysia has all the necessary ingredients to be a prime medical tourism market. In order for our medical tourism sector to develop, our general tourism must also take off. Thailand is a great example of a country with a strong general tourism industry that transitioned into strong medical tourism. We are working with the public sector to determine the best way to develop medical tourism in Malaysia. Matters such as ease of visas to visit Malaysia for medical treatment should be addressed. Moreover, medical tourists often come as a family, so we should work toward attracting families. We can package our general tourism services with our healthcare tourism services to create the perfect mix.
What are the main source markets for foreign patients that come to PCMC, and which markets show signs of strong growth?
We would like to stress that PCMC is a hospital for Malaysians, expatriates, and international patients; however, due to its quality clinical and service standards as well as its location, we receive tourists and travelers as well as expatriates from many different nationalities across the world. We have the most diverse patient load in the country. Patients from Indonesia, the UK, the US, and Japan are important markets for PCMC. We work closely with many embassies to support their staff, their citizens working as expatriates in Malaysia as well as visitors and medical travelers. PCMC also attracts Singaporeans and expatriates from Singapore mainly because of Singapore's strong currency. We have catered to many large groups from China that are interested in health screening as well as our IVF services.
How will you realize your vision of becoming a leading healthcare provider in Asia?
For the last few years, PCMC was recognized by Medical Travel Quality Alliance (MTQUA) as one of the world's top 10 hospitals for medical tourism and the top in Malaysia. PCMC has many firsts among its services, among them: the first private hospital in Malaysia to have the Da Vinci robot for surgery; the first and still the only private hospital doing kidney transplant including ABO or incompatible transplant; the only private hospital to have a full-fledged burns unit; the first corneal transplant; and the only dialysis center in Malaysia using beds and not recliners for the comfort of our patients. One of the frequent accolades from our patient is that PCMC does not look, feel, or smell like a hospital. We have 'zen' areas within the hospital building that provide peaceful sitting areas for patients and their families. One common grouse of hospital stay is the quality of food. PCMC is well known for the quality of its inpatient meals. We employ two five-star hotel chefs who oversee our kitchen, and every patient meal is cooked ala carte. Despite being well established for the high quality of our clinical, nursing, and customer services, we will not rest on our laurels but will continue to strive to improve our services in all areas.