The Medical City: A partner in seamless healthcare

The pandemic proved to be the disruptive event that catalyzed many changes in the world. For some, however, it expedited revolutionary transformation that may ultimately change things for the better.

For The Medical City (TMC), it served to reaffirm past efforts–put in place before the pandemic–to deliver a brand of healthcare that harnesses the best of technology and healthcare expertise. 

Even with the pandemic still raging and, with it, restrictions on mobility, TMC was able to earn two prestigious recognitions from the Joint Commission International (JCI) and for its Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) Clinical Care Program.

TMC Chairman Jose Xavier B. Gonzales welcomed these distinctions and noted how they assure patients of healthcare services that are at par with the best hospitals in the world. “It is also good for our organization because it keeps us on our toes,” he said.

From October 11 to 14, 2021, TMC submitted itself to the rigorous assessment and testing of the JCI, the world’s premier healthcare quality improvement and accreditation body. 

The virtual survey was just as rigorous as JCI’s pre-pandemic on-site surveys. It involved a comprehensive inspection of the facility, review of practices, processes and procedures, interviews, and examination of records to check for sustained compliance and improvement. Expert surveyors evaluated TMC’s compliance with hospital standards, which were even expanded to 282 standards and 1,200 measurable elements across several areas.

After JCI’s evaluation, TMC was awarded the Gold Seal of Approval for a record sixth time.

Another feather in TMC’s cap is its recognition for its Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) Clinical Care Program, its third for the innovative procedure. In the Philippines, JCI-certified AMI program is offered by TMC, and by as few as 14 hospitals worldwide.

AMI is a one-hour “door-to-balloon” procedure, meaning that a patient with a blocked coronary artery should be treated within 60 minutes of being brought to the hospital’s emergency room.

TMC Cardiovascular Institute’s AMI program follows a holistic approach that includes advanced treatment options, specialized nursing care, cardiac rehabilitation, and a comprehensive lifestyle modification program.

Gonzales said that even after the patient leaves the hospital, they receive follow-up care for months and even a year following the procedure. “We can proudly say that our numbers in terms of clinical outcomes are significantly low because of this,” said Gonzales.

TMC President and CEO Dr. Eugenio Jose F. Ramos said that although the pandemic challenged TMC on several fronts, it also inspired it to respond resolutely. TMC boosted its processes and implemented initiatives that helped it adapt to the new normal and pursue with the same vigor the preparations for the accreditation surveys.

The recognition it received from JCI and its AMI program affirm TMC’s future-forward efforts to extend healthcare beyond the brick-and-mortar confines of the hospital building through its TMC Care Anytime, Anywhere program.

The concept of TMC Anytime, Anywhere is more than teleconsulting, explained Dr. Ramos. The program encompasses homecare, telemedicine, ambulatory care, hospital care, and even community care where TMC engages local governments in caring for patients.

"The future is the convergence of advanced science and technology. When you put them together, you really don’t need to go to the hospital," said Gonzales. The goal, he said, is to provide a seamless patient care experience, from home to hospital, and even to the community.

Caring for a patient as one whole institution, instead of as individual healthcare professionals, means the patient enjoys continuous care and assures that he has several healthcare professionals always available to him. Making this possible is technology. TMC’s Hospital Information System allows patient records to be centralized and accessible across the TMC network of five hospitals and 50 clinics across the country, and even its hospital in Guam. 

The pandemic boosted and further accelerated TMC’s digital transformation. It was also crucial in providing seamless healthcare to patients across the TMC network. Meanwhile, home care was already in place at TMC even before the pandemic and in fact helped it overcome capacity issues during the surge in COVID-19 cases.

The technological linchpin of TMC’s digital transformation is AI (Artificial Intelligence). Gonzales explained that, as they encounter cases in the hospital and go through hundreds of thousands of images and scans through diagnostic procedures like chest X-rays, mammograms, and retinopathies, their system recognizes patterns and learns to spot tumors or signs of diseases.

Gonzales said that the benefits of this technology will be felt most by patients in the provinces, who can now be diagnosed remotely even without seeing experts who are usually based in the NCR. 

Dr. Ramos said that TMC is well-positioned to integrate healthcare into the lives of Filipinos, guiding them to a health-seeking behavior and responsibility for their health.

TMC is further strengthening its infrastructure, from triaging to care to training, even until researchas a continuous learning organization where even protocols for treatment can be created, ultimately in a personalized way as it treats each patient as a partner in his own healthcare.

“TMC is a team that approaches each patient as a person, with all the subspecialties and the technology, that will give patients the best care,” he said.

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