In an interview with Leopoldo Giraldo Velasquez, Manager of Hospital General de Medellin, he recalls how HGM has been recognized as one of the best public hospitals in Latin America, not only for its regulations on medical procedures, but for applying best practices in each department, including the effective implementation of today’s medicine and advanced techniques in clinical procedures.
Giraldo has been General Manager since April 2012, showing its leadership in the health sector in Colombia and with more than 20 years of experience in management positions. Its strategic direction has resulted in the financial strength experienced by the hospital today.
"Our commitment is to quality," he said after exemplifying various hospital certifications: ISO 9000 (quality in hospital management), ISO 14000 (environmental management) and OHSAS 18000 (occupational health and safety). "We are constantly evaluating our own quality standards, and these certifications help us self-assess our methods to ensure an ongoing improvement process," said Giraldo.
They have also established processes for patient safety, with efforts ranging from the renovation and maintenance of infrastructure to upgrading soft and hard technologies.
Only in 2014, the hospital invested more than US $3 million in renovating equipment, including purchasing a new angiography and tomography, among other medical technologies.
Hospital General de Medellin constantly supports and renovates its medical instruments by following these two processes.
1) Corrective and preventive maintenance: Calibration of medical equipment.
2) Replacement: When the company integrates new models to their diverse healthcare units.
"Every year we look into renovating technologies to make information run more smoothly, more agile and timely after these improvements," said Giraldo.
In spite of being a public healthcare center whose stimuli is limited, management has maintained an incentive program for all of its 1,300 employees, encouraging them in the areas of research, performance and team work, among others.
The medical staff conforms much of the essence of the hospital and they are the primary value described in the quality served in HGM. On account of this, Hospital General de Medellin has integrated into its annual budget more than US $1 million in training programs for the whole staff, from their doctors and nurses, to administrative resources.
"We want to generate the necessary skills for all of our resource, which will increase their performance value," said Giraldo.
Environmental and Social Initiatives
Much of HGM commitment to the environment is shown in their regulations, with ISO 14000, which is a series of green standards for the proper management of the area. Additionally, the hospital has integrated green processes to handle medical waste until its final destination.
Hospital General de Medellin has deploy energy efficient solutions with the use of LED lighting, by replacing high-electricity technologies, and by installing solar panels to increase its renewable commitment. These good environmental practices are transmitted to each employee, raising awareness on the proper use of energy and gas.
As part of its social commitment, HGM built a breast milk bank to replace the requirements of premature children, and in collaboration with McDonald's, the hospital created a family room in the hospital.
"We are working on a social housing program where they can come and sleep during their visits," said Giraldo.
Competitiveness Growth through Value Chain Activities
Although Hospital General de Medellin is a public center, it manages to hold its exercise as a provider of health services, and its main ally, the Municipality of Medellin, in turn participates in the Board of Directors of HGM.
The hospital also has collective agreements with 20 important universities and tech centers; CES University of Medellin plays an important role as an education partner. Partnerships with other educational institutions are mostly for managerial training of the staff. "We are working to be recognized as a university hospital," said the manager.
The hospital is also a member of the Cooperative of Hospitals of Antioquia (Cooperativa de Hospitales de Antioquia,) an organization consisting of approximately 150 partner hospitals, with the main function of representing the supply chain of each center. "This cooperative is dedicated more to the joint purchase of medicines, supplies and equipment for the entire hospital network," said Giraldo.
HGM is also a member of Hospired, a network of hospital services comprised of 13 public and local clinics. "This network allows us to optimize what we have now. We have launched a basic transportation project and a laboratory plan, and we will continue to advance with more network services to optimize the resources that each of these organizations have," said Giraldo.
Suppliers are also partners in the value chain of HGM, both local and international, continuously optimizing hospital logistics.
With an investment of approximately US $ 25 million, HGM will begin the construction of a new hospital, located in the northeastern district of Medellin. This unit will provide medical care for 600 patients, and will provide the following healthcare services: emergency services, surgery, diagnostic support, laboratory, imaging, etc. With an initial input of 100 beds. The project is expected to be operational by mid-2017.
"We are still in the design process this year and hope to start the construction ideally if we move forward on the issue of required authorizations by the health ministry. We will be completing construction within the next two years," said Giraldo
By the end of 2015, the Comprehensive Outpatient Services Center for Women and Families (Centro Integral de Servicios Ambulatorios para la Mujer y la Familia,) will begin operations, where a more specialized assistance related to the social problems of women service will be provided, but always following the HGM’s integrity practices.
Further investments will be destined to the maintenance of institutional spaces and infrastructure, as in the case of the adequacy of the emergency department, obstetrics, cardiology, etc.
As for business intelligence and information management, the company will be updating the current software to optimize streamline electronic methods.
They hope to develop a tower with an investment of US $ 40 million, close to Hospital General de Medellín, to expand its high complexity services and maternity care.