Manila Doctors Hospital champions partnerships for top healthcare talent

MDH’s Dr. Rodolfo Borromeo stresses the pivotal role of alliances with schools like Chiang Kai Shek College in elevating healthcare quality.

Aiming for continuing improvement of healthcare services, the Manila Doctors Hospital in the Philippines has found collaborative partnerships with schools as a key strategy to cornering the best potential staff to elevate the quality of care provided to patients.

In an exclusive interview with Healthcare Asia Magazine, Dr. Rodolfo Borromeo, Nursing Services director at the MDH, shed light on the pivotal role of hospital-school alliances in maintaining a steady supply of competent professionals, aligned expectations, and seamless transitions from school to work.

“Hospital-school partnerships are crucial for improving healthcare, striking a balance between profitability and accessibility as well as fostering innovation,” Borromeo said.

He emphasised the roles of partnerships in ensuring compliance with safety standards, improving patient experience, and achieving precise healthcare outcomes. “Yes, you have to ensure compliance on whatever acceptable standards: [it] can be local standards set by the Department of Health or internationally accepted standards.”

Asked about the future role of these partnerships in healthcare, Borromeo said: “The role of partnerships is also to ensure safety because in a healthcare facility, it’s not only the patient safety that matters. It’s also about occupational safety and ethics.”

He underscored the importance of good governance, efficient healthcare workers, and engagement strategies to enhance customer satisfaction, ultimately leading to a multiplier effect on the number of patients availing hospital services.

Stressing on the need for precision and accuracy in healthcare delivery, he said: “You have to have… well, I should say, almost a perfect system where your customers do not only feel safe, but feel that they are given the best customer care that they should be getting and deserve from a health facility.”

On striking a balance between profitability and affordability, Borromeo noted the cause-and-effect strategy to improve customer satisfaction and highlighted the significance of a strong employer-employee relationship and good governance to drive efficiency in healthcare services.

Whilst mandatory discounts, such as those persons with disability (PWDs) and senior citizens, are essential, managing costs and improving financial reforms are critical.

“In order to strike a balance, we have to ensure that our financials are sound, meaning we need to look at how we can improve financial reforms and see how we can have equity in terms of our charges and how to also manage costs,” Borromeo said.

At the same time, scholarships as a form of discount, with return-of-service strategies can also help maintain a balance.

But Borromeo explained that the factors influencing a hospital’s decision to partner with a school are stringent, considering heavily the school’s accreditation, regulatory recognition, and employability of its graduates.

“You have to look at the school standards. These educational standards -- are they recognised? …mandatory recognition should be coming from the regulatory body,” he said, citing MDH’s continuing engagement with Chiang Kai Shek College (CSKC), a Chinese-Filipino institution of higher learning.

Critical to this partnership is the commitment of both organisations’ thrust in providing quality and comprehensive healthcare services to CKSC’s internal and external community.

Towards the end of the interview, Borromeo’s outlook on healthcare in the Philippines acknowledged the increasing number of hospitals and concerns about the high attrition rate among nurses due to low remuneration.

“In terms of our sustainability, specifically on the nurses’ employment, attrition is around 33%. And that’s really a huge number,” said Borromeo, who also warned against the impact of retaining talent by increasing salaries.

“The moment we increase the salary, there’s another effect and impact to that. For us, it increases the healthcare costs of the patients and it increases when you increase the cost for the healthcare workers in terms of remuneration,” he said.

That is why partnerships between hospitals and schools in improving healthcare services are crucial. With a focus on compliance, patient safety, and customer experience, healthcare institutions can strive for excellence whilst ensuring a sustainable and effective healthcare system in the Philippines.

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