SPCastro: At the forefront of PH medical tourism

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Company stresses project management in providing world-class healthcare

PROJECT and construction management company SP Castro Inc. (SPCI) sees good prospects for the medical tourism industry in the Philippines, but said the private sector must contribute to development of the world-class infrastructure needed to meet the country’s ambitious targets.

“As the world’s economy starts to gravitate towards Asia, more and more global companies are exploring opportunities in the region. This will bring about an influx of expatriates who will actively seek investment prospects in the country. Among the various industries poised for growth in the country, medical and wellness tourism gains focus as one of the most sustainable growth areas,” SPCI said in a statement.

However, according to National Competitiveness Council, to become one of the top 3 most desired Asian destinations for global health and wellness seekers, the Philippines has to attract one million clients for medical tourism, two million for the wellness sector, and 200,000 retirees for long-term healthcare. While there are several challenges to achieve this goal, experts identified that the presence of a progressive health system, developed physical infrastructure and stable political environment as the key requirements in making medical tourism a viable gr owth strategy for the nation.

While much is dependent on the systems that the government will put into place to improve the delivery of healthcare services whether to locals or tourists, the private sector, in the meantime, can focus on helping develop the physical infrastructure to globally-ready levels, a role that SPCI said it is ready to take on.

PH institutions among world’s best

In 2015, the Philippines was ranked eighth among the top medical tourism destinations in the world, according to a list compiled by the International Healthcare Research Center and the Medical Tourism Association. And as of the Department of Health (DOH)’s latest count, 62 hospitals around the country are now internationally-accredited.

To date, five Philippine medical institutions, including Asian Hospital and Medical Center (Muntinlupa City), Makati Medical Center (Makati City), St. Luke’s Medical Center (Global City and Quezon City), and The Medical City (Pasig City) have been certified as institutions for excellent medical care by the Joint Commission International (JCI)—one of the patient safety and quality healthcare accreditation and certification bodies in the world.

Aside from boasting of excellent medical care, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City also demonstrates aesthetic superiority as it placed 11th among 25 in US-based magazine Healthcare Management News and Insights’ list of the most beautiful hospitals in the world.

SPCastro Inc. and Asian Hospital

Three of the five top hospitals in the country have been completed or renovated under the project management of SPCI. SPCI’s entry into the healthcare facilities industry began in 2000 with the training and orientation given by Stanford University Medical Center’s Louis C. Saksen, then Vice President for General Services and Radiology, on Healthcare Planning, Design, Construction and Facilities Management. SPCI took over the project and construction management of the Asian Hospital and Medical Center (AHMC) which opened in 2002 as the first hospital in the Philippines to be designed and constructed in compliance with the JCIA’s Facility Management and Safety Standards.

Since its founding in 1986, SPCI has been producing world-class healthcare facilities and has thus been carving its name in the industry. At present, SPCI takes pride in being accepted as member of the American Hospital Association and being the only company from the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam listed in the AHA Directory of Planning and Design Professionals for Health Facilities.

Showcasing PH best practices

During the 3rd Asia Healthcare Summit in Singapore held in May, SPCI brought the limelight to the Philippines as its Chairman and President Salvador P. Castro, Jr. was appointed as the moderator and acting chairman of the three-day summit. More than 200 attendees from 22 countries and 70 expert speakers convened to discuss current issues being faced in global healthcare, government healthcare policies related to infrastructure, partnership and investment opportunities, and new designs and builds of world-class facilities, among others.

A case study presented on the second day of the summit was on the Excellent Healthcare Innovations in a World Class Hospital. St. Luke’s Medical Center Vice President and Head of Industry Relations and Special Projects Josephine Aguilar, who made the presentation during the summit, emphasized that healthcare services need not be only centered on state-of-the-art facilities but also on understanding the needs of patients, making such services affordable and accessible, and how patients are treated with utmost considerations of their needs as well.

Castro observed, “Our country has so much potential both in terms of knowledge base and in the talent pool. Given the appropriate resource allocations and right opportunities, I am certain that we can make mark not only in healthcare facility development but in the project management for other industries as well.”

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