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State-of-the-art healthcare

Article - June 10, 2013
Spearheading the country’s emergence as a leading destination for medical tourism in the Asia-Pacific region by providing advanced technology, lower costs and shorter waiting and recovery times, St. Luke’s Medical Center showcases the future of global healthcare with its cutting-edge medical equipment, world-class expertise and impeccable patient care
ST. LUKE'S MEDICAL CENTER
The Philippines is emerging as a major destination for global medical tourism and reputable sources suggest the achievable returns from tapping into its full potential are set to be huge. The country is rapidly becoming an international first choice for combining healthcare and vacations due to its world-class physicians, cutting-edge technology, high levels of widely spoken English, and its uniquely Filipino brand of caring and compassion – all at great value for money and a fraction of the cost in other, more developed countries. 
 
In a study by healthcare business intelligence firm HealthCore, earnings from foreign tourists’ spending on healthcare and wellness services totaled $1.3 billion from 2006 to 2010. The report further reveals that the country has the potential to earn as much as $1 billion annually by 2018 – or earlier – with strategic investment in healthcare infrastructure.
 
“I believe today is the best time to come; people should invest when a business is growing, not when it is fully grown, and the health sector today is growing,” says Dr. Edgardo R. Cortez, President and CEO of St. Luke’s Medical Center. “For investors to maximize their profit, it is important to invest at the right time. If you go too early you will earn later, and if you go too late your margin will be small. If you go at the right time, like now in the Philippines, you can realize that your margins will be the maximum you could ever get.”  
Considered one of the best hospitals in Asia, St. Luke’s Medical Center was founded in Quezon City in 1903 and now has a second hospital in Global City. Over the past century it has gained a reputation for superior healthcare service rooted in five pillars: high levels of professional expertise in its staff, state-of-the-art technology, guaranteed patient safety, excellent success rates, and passionate customer service. 
 
“Medical tourism in the Philippines is coming of age; we are ready. St. Luke’s Medical Center offers total care with compassion, and the Patients Experience Division stands for not just curing, but caring,” says Marilen Tronqued-Lagniton, Vice-President of the Patient Experience Division, which was created when the hospital decided to get back to the basics of care provision and really looked into what a patient needs to feel comfortable and safe. 
 
“We also looked at the service five-star hotels give to their guests and implemented that in our hospital. We have a personal patient experience associate for our patients that is on standby 24/7, as well as a concierge and a pick-up service from the airport.”
 
An insistence on the highest professional standards is integral to the hospital’s focus on making patients feel at ease when faced with medical treatment. “Patients should come to St. Luke’s because here we promise to give them the best treatment in terms of healthcare. I call it state-of-the-art healthcare through compassionate, efficient processes with good clinical outcomes and results. And this is what we deliver; we are making the patient as safe as possible,” says Dr. Cortez.  
 
The high standards at St. Luke’s have been recognized internationally. For example, last year it won its fourth consecutive Reader’s Digest Trusted Brand Platinum Award, which goes to companies that scored three times or more than their nearest rival.

St. Luke’s in Global City was also distinguished last year as being ranked 11th among the ‘25 Most Beautiful Hospitals in the World’ by the editors of U.S.-based Healthcare Management News and Insights. 
 
“Awards for us are secondary. Actually, in reality we do things right because that is the right thing to do,” says Dr. Cortez. “We always want to improve so we have a lot of activities to make sure there is continuous innovation in what we do.” 
 
St Luke’s was the first hospital in the Philippines and the second in Asia to achieve international accreditation by Joint Commission International (JCI), a subsidiary of JCR, which is the global arm of JCAHO – the oldest and largest health care accrediting body in the U.S. Dr. Cortez attributes the constant push to raise standards with the latest technology as a major factor in gaining JCI approval. 
 
True to form, St. Luke’s has introduced a breakthrough in surgical technology offering a more precise and less intrusive way of doing surgery: robotic surgery, which dramatically reduces recovery times. 
 
Dr. Cortez adds, “We were also the first to have PET and PET CT scans, which have fast become part of the usual diagnostic procedures for cancer, protecting cancer spread and recurrence.”
 
Success rates are high at St. Luke’s, being around 99.99% for open-heart surgery, 37% to 45% for fertility treatments, and a 68% cure rate regarding colorectal cancer. “Expertise, technology, well-trained staff: we promote everything as a package,” says the CEO.

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