SLIDESHOW: Asia Leading the Best in Medical Destinations
For the first time ever, a Malaysian medical center was named as the top hospital for medical tourists by the Medical Travel Quality Alliance (MTQA).
In the annual ranking by MTQA, Prince Court Medical Center in Kuala Lumpur was selected as the hospital that best provides medical tourists with outstanding care beyond standard clinical protocols as well as excellent medical treatment.
“Prince Court is already known as an outstanding medical facility,” said Julie Munro, MTQUA president in an issued release. “This award recognizes that it also pays the utmost attention to key non-clinical aspects of care that influence good outcomes and a successful medical travel journey for medical tourists.”
According to MTQA, Prince Court Medical Center provides excellent surgery options for medical travelers and pays exceptional attention not only to the medical care its doctors and nurses provide but to the details of patient comfort.
Special services include a sophisticated burn unit, an In Vitro Fertility department and a senior manager that coordinates all international patient and medical tourist services, assuring travelers that coordination of care that meets the needs of the medical traveler is a top priority.
“It’s almost impossible for medical tourists to know how to find a good hospital that will truly provide the treatment and care they are traveling to get. We hope consumers and doctors will pay more attention to non-clinical factors that can significantly impact clinical outcomes and not just ask about hotels and airport pickups,” said Munro.
Prince Court Medical Center continues to be a major participant in the Malaysian Health Travel Council’s activities in road shows and exhibitions including Bangladesh, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, and Myanmar, according to MTQA. The hospital’s website has also been redesigned to offer specific clinical information, educational articles and comprehensive write-ups.
Continuing to serve as the only private hospital with a full-fledged eMR coupled with RIS/PACS, Prince Court Medical Center’s improvements in medical equipment and procedures within the past year include obstetrics monitoring upgrades to allow for multiple fetal monitoring, installation of the Swisslog Pillpick system for inpatient medication dispensing, evaluation of a card-based USB for uploading imaging data for medical travelers, and the investment in dialysis equipment.
“Prince Court Medical Center is now under direct management of experienced Malaysian managers chosen for their experience and expertise within the local private hospital sector, with key position holders having a minimum of 10 years prior private hospital experience,” said Dr. Chong Su-lin, managing director of Prince Court Medical Center. “There has been no change of ownership. The owner is still Petronas Hartabina.”
Also for the first time, seven of the top 10 hospitals reviewed are in Asia, serving hundreds of thousands of medical tourists from the region and beyond for inpatient and outpatient medical treatment. Asian medical centers continue to offer better medical procedures and care than most other medical destinations.
All 10 hospitals on the list provide medical treatment and care for medical travelers that are of the highest quality, according to MTQA.
The additional hospitals that made it on MTQA’s 2013 World’s Best Hospitals for Medical Tourists™ list include:
Asklepios Klinik Barmbek – Hamburg, Germany
Asklepios is of particular value for medical tourists who need treatment beyond the scope of their top facilities at home. It partners with innovative medical technology companies from Germany to test the most modern medical equipment before it is released worldwide. Asklepios Group is the largest private hospital operator in Europe.
Clemenceau Medical Center – Beirut, Lebanon
Clemenceau has ties with Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and stands out as perhaps the leading hospital in the Middle East. This past year, CMC adopted “Six International Patient Safety Goals,” increased the use of encryption protected passwords to access patient electronic records, and introduced multidisciplinary rounds to better coordinate medical treatment for patients.
Fortis Hospital – Bangalore, India
Fortis Hospital, formerly Wockhardt Hospital, provides excellent surgery options for medical travelers seeking orthopedic procedures including hip resurfacing and replacement. It works closely with some U.S.-based medical travel agents for follow up care and services of American patients once they return home.
Wooridul Spine Hospital – Seoul, Korea
Wooridul is a world leader in medical treatment of the spine. Wooridul’s influence and prestige has spread worldwide through its doctors and its joint ventures with hospitals in Asia and Europe.
Bumrungrad International – Bangkok, Thailand
The most well-known hospital for medical tourists, Bumrungrad has been taking foreign patients for 20 years. It has invested heavily in integration of medical records, pharmacy, labs and other hospital departments into a state-of-the-art electronic environment.
Anadolu Medical Center – Istanbul, Turkey
Anadolu offers a very high standard of treatment and care, and seems to understand the needs of the medical traveler. It has an international focus, with multilingual doctors and nurses, and a keen awareness of the services and support systems a medical traveler should have.
Gleneagles Hospital, Singapore
The Parkway Hospital Group may well be the standard bearer for private hospital care in Singapore, and Gleneagles Hospital is its flagship. The Parkway group owns and operates hospitals throughout Asia.
Asian Heart Institute – Mumbai, India
Asian Heart Institute is one of the few centers in the world performing nearly 100 percent bypass surgeries on a beating heart and with a very significant percentage using total arterial grafting. The hospital boasts the lowest surgical mortality rates in the world with 0.26 percent in isolated bypass surgeries and an overall mortality rate of 0.8 percent. According to MTQA, some of the most challenging and rare cases are performed regularly at Asian Heart Institute.
How healthcare can safeguard itself against cyberthreats
One of the most fundamental lessons from the COVID crisis is that health should always be a priority. In a similar fashion to the human body that frequently fights off viruses and foreign invaders that intend to cause it harm, the sector itself is now a prime target for another type of external threat: cyberattacks.
The figures speak for themselves: between December and January this year, hospitals in the UK were at 89% capacity, with 7,000 fewer available beds than there usually are. As the pandemic increased pressure on hospitals, clinics, and research facilities to create a treatment for patients globally, it has left the sector exposed to hackers who, like a virus, have been targeting it relentlessly and evolving their tactics.
From patient records being held ransom, to fake emails claiming to originate from the UN WHO, the NHS, or vaccine centres, through to attacks on the cold supply chain to find out the secret formula of the COVID vaccine, the healthcare industry is facing constant cyberattacks and struggling to cope. This threat is unlikely to go away anytime soon – and as such, the industry needs to take a proactive, preventative stance to stay safe in a dynamic digital world.
The responsive nature of healthcare – particularly of hospitals – means that efficiency is crucial to the industry’s standard operations. To support this, the sector has been embracing technological advancements that can improve the quality of work, enabling staff to meet pressing deadlines, and enhancing patient care. For example, the industry has been digitising records and improving its ways of working through digital means over the past few years.
This shift is critical to offer high quality patient care; yet, it also means the sector has become more dependent on IT, which can come with a risk if cybersecurity processes employed are deemed as inadequate.
Without the correct security measures in place, the desired efficiency gains realised, can be easily lost in a heartbeat. Simply put, an elementary glitch in the system can have a tremendous ripple effect on many areas, from accessing patient records and conducting scans, to maintaining physical security and protecting the intellectual property of experimental treatment development.
To prevent this, healthcare organisations need to ensure they’re considering cybersecurity as part of their overall digital transformation strategy – and setting the right foundations to create a culture where safety goes hand in hand with patient care.
Before implementing cybersecurity process, healthcare organisations need to assess the potential risks they face. Depending on how much confidential data the trust has, where it is stored, who has access to it and via which means, the cybersecurity strategy and associated solutions will change.
It’s fair to say that a medical device start-up where all employees have a corporate-sanctioned laptop and access data via a VPN will have radically different needs to a large hospital with hundreds of frontline workers connecting to the hospital’s Wi-Fi using their personal device.
These requirements will pale by comparison to a global pharmaceutical giant with offices in multiple locations, a large R&D department researching new treatments for complex diseases and a fully integrated supply chain. Considering the existing setup and what the organisations is looking to achieve with its digital transformation strategy will therefore have an immediate impact on the cybersecurity strategy.
Despite this, there are fundamentals that any organisation should implement:
Review and test your back-up policy to ensure it is thorough and sufficient – By checking that the organisation’s back-up is running smoothly, IT teams can limit any risks of disruption in the midst of an incident and of losing data permanently.
In our recent State of Email Security report, we found that six out of ten organisations have been victims of ransomware in 2020. As a result, afflicted organisations have lost an average of six days to downtime. One third of organisations even admitted that they failed to get their data back, despite paying the ransom. In the healthcare industry, this could mean losing valuable patient records or data related to new treatments – two areas the sector cannot afford to be cavalier about.
Conduct due diligence across the organisation’s supply chain – Healthcare organisations should review their ways of working with partners, providers and regulatory institutions they work with in order to prevent any weak link in their cybersecurity chain. Without this due diligence, organisations leave themselves exposed to the risks of third party-led incidents.
Roll out mandatory cybersecurity awareness training - Healthcare organisations shouldn’t neglect the training and awareness of their entire staff – including frontline workers who may not access the corporate network on a regular basis. According to our State of Email Security report, only one fifth of organisations carry out ongoing cyber awareness training.
This suggests it is not widely considered as a fundamental part of most organisations cyber-resilience strategy, despite the fact many employees rely on their organisation’s corporate network to work. By providing systematic training, healthcare organisations can help workers at all levels better understand the current cyberthreats they face, how they could impact their organisation, the role they play in defending the networks, and develop consistent, good cybersecurity hygiene habits to limit the risks of incidents.
Consider a degree of separation – Information and Operational Technology (IT and OT) networks should be separated.
Although mutually supported and reliance on each other, employees shouldn’t be accessing one via the other. This should be complemented by a considered tried and tested contingency and resiliency plan that allows crucial services to function unabated should there be a compromise. Similarly, admin terminals should not have internet access to afford a degree of hardening and protection for these critical accounts.
As the sector becomes a common target for fraudulent and malicious activity, putting cybersecurity at the core of the organisation’s operations is critical. It will help limit the risks of disruption due to cyberattacks, reduce time spent by the cybersecurity team to resolve easily avoidable errors, and ensure that institutions can deliver patient care, safe in the knowledge that their networks are safe.
Fighting future threats
With technology continuing to change the face of healthcare, the surface area and vectors available for attacks by malicious actors is constantly increasing. With the introduction of apps, networked monitoring devices, and a need for communication, the attack vector is ever expanding, a trend that needs to be monitored and secured against.
To prevent any damage to patients, staff, or the organisation they are responsible for, healthcare leaders must put security front and centre of their digital transformation strategy. Only then can the sector harness the full benefits of technology. Doing this should include implementing cybersecurity awareness training to challenge misconceptions around security, encourage conversation, and to ensure employee knowledge of the security basics and threats faced.
This ultimately allows healthcare organisations to do what they do best: provide the highest standard of patient care, safe in the knowledge that their operations, patients, and data are safe.