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HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Philippine Heart Center bags the Healthcare Asia Awards 2018 for Patient Care Initiative of the Year

PHC TeleCARE enables the delivery of quality care beyond the hospital walls.

The Philippine Heart Center (PHC) is the country's leader in upholding the highest standards of cardiovascular care. The hospital is a self-reliant institution providing comprehensive and responsive cardiovascular care enhanced by educational and research. One of its novel services is the Telephone Call-Assisted Reinforcement of Client Education, or otherwise known as PHC TeleCARE. It aims to create an immediate link between the newly discharged patients and the institution and is designed to support the patient's transition from the time of discharge to his scheduled doctor’s appointment. The PHC TeleCARE, which is one of the few telehealth initiatives in the Philippines, attempts to spearhead the national restructuring of the healthcare delivery system wherein telecommunication devices are not only accessories but primary tools in the delivery of care. For this, the PHC won the Healthcare Asia Awards 2018 for Patient Care Initiative of the Year.

Usually, a patient's next contact with a healthcare provider after being discharged is on his doctor’s appointment which could be in a few days or in a few weeks. In this period, his level of compliance to the home care instructions is solely dependent on himself and his primary caregiver. It could be contingent on how well they understood directions, how important they perceive the instructions to be and their overall diligence in fulfilling these. During the discharge process, it is also important to note that several things are happening at the same time. Packing up, coordinating their commute home and/or completing medical files could all cause significant interference when receiving home care instructions. This has the potential to cause confusion pertaining to certain parts of their care, and therefore, cause errors in the performance and administration of such.

Through PHC TeleCARE's hospital-initiated follow-up calls, patients now receive reiteration of health education at home. The use of mobile and landline phones enable the delivery of quality care beyond the hospital walls. These calls are focused on health promotion and rehabilitation. The first call is made by the TeleCARE nurse 24 to 72 hours upon the client’s discharge. The following are discussed with the client or the primary caregiver: medication and treatment compliance, exercise, hygiene, outpatient follow-up, dietary recommendations, return to work, and cessation of any harmful practices. The second call is made a day after the client’s doctor’s appointment and checks for compliance to the said arrangement.

After a total of 3 months of implementation, the program was evaluated for the following lead measures: adherence with the discharge instructions, re-admission rate, attendance to follow-up, and patient satisfaction. Only 75% of PHC clients were expected to adhere to their discharge instructions, attend their follow-up schedule, avoid re-admissions, and verbalise satisfaction, but, the results showed that more than 90% of those who received the TeleCARE service successfully complied to their discharge instructions, 93.98% dutifully went to their doctor’s appointment. On the other hand, only 7.64% of the clients reported being readmitted. These results indicate that TeleCARE service may improve health-related behaviours at home and potentially improve clinical outcomes. Compliance to medications are checked and encouraged, misunderstood instructions corrected, adherence to scheduled check-ups are fortified, hospital readmission potentially minimised and client safety and satisfaction improved — all through a couple of telephone calls after discharge.

The Healthcare Asia Awards 2018 was held on 23 May 2018 at the Conrad Centennial Singapore.

This year's nominations were judged by a panel consisting of Abhay Bangi, Partner, Life Sciences & Healthcare Lead, Ernst & Young; Mohit Grover, Life Sciences & Healthcare Leader,
Deloitte, and; Sabrina Tay, Partner and Deputy Industry Lead, Healthcare RSM Singapore.

Check out the event photos during the awards night here.

If you would like to join the 2019 awards and be awarded as one of the most outstanding healthcare companies in the region, please email Marianne at or click here for more information.

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