Respecting patient rights
“Patients who come to ‘surrender themselves’ to a hospital have rights-one of which is access to the best medical service,” according to Dr. Andry, the chief operating officer of the Siloam Hospitals Group.
Respecting those rights is a constant focus of the management of the Siloam Hospitals Group as it keeps growing.
Going to a hospital for medical treatment means that a patient has engaged with the hospital in a legally protected therapeutic transaction, he said, adding that doctors and other healthcare providers always had to be aware of the things that patients did not know.
“On one hand, patients lack knowledge about the medical interventions that a doctor might conduct. On the other hand, the doctors have competency in their respective medical fields,” he says. “Legally speaking, doctors have an obligation to give patients enough medical knowledge so that they fully understand about the intended medical intervention.”
As an example, Andry cites the hypothetical case of a patient undergoing an appendectomy. “Prior to the operation, the patient should exercise their right to obtain information on the operation until they understand it and give informed consent.”
If there is a language barrier, the patient still has right to be adequately informed and would be allowed to have a relative to help facilitate understanding. At Siloam, there are multilingual nurses and doctors who are ready to fill this role for the patients, as well. “Informed consent is significant so as to avoid the possibility of filing suits by either the patient or the family, or by the doctor in case the operation does not run as planned,” he says. At Siloam, doctors are required to have good communication skills as well as well-developed senses of professionalism, honesty, discipline and teamwork.
A hospital cannot simply aim for profits, he adds: A hospital must prioritize its social functions: Offering excellence and maximizing the welfare of its patients.
SETTING THE BENCHMARK
Siloam International Hospitals offers internationally recognized quality service, according to Andry. “The word ‘international’ has been used to ensure that there is a healthcare benchmark with parameters to which we can refer to as far as quality medical service is concerned.”
That’s why the management of the Siloam Hospitals Group has adopted the six-point “International Patient Safety Goals”: Identifying patients correctly; good communications; improving safety for high-alert medications; making sure that the right patient is at the right location for the right procedure; ensuring staff wash their hands; and avoiding patient falls.
By adhering to these principles, mistakes related to medical care can be prevented, Andry says.
“In relation to identification, for example, a laboratory worker will first identify the patient’s name, date and place of birth. Otherwise, the worker may accidentally take that blood of someone else that has the same name,” he says. “If this happens, it might lead to taking the wrong blood sample, an incorrect diagnosis and a bad prescription. Identification is therefore very critical.”
Hand washing is also important, he says, adding that about 20,000 deaths a year across the globe can simply be attributed to healthcare workers or others on the team who do not frequently wash their hands.
“When you are allowed to enter an ICU, the first thing you should do is wash your hands, instead of taking off your shoes or wearing a special uniform,” he says.
To cultivate a culture that respects the International Patient Safety Goals, the management of the Siloam Hospitals Group requires new employees to attend a three-month orientation program, while nurses and doctors must formally develop their skills on a recurring basis.
“Would-be nurses who join an apprenticeship program are prohibited from attending [patients] or the unsupervised administration of any services to a patient until they complete the program, because ensuring a patient’s safety is of ultimate importance to us,” Andry says.
In addition, all hospital workers, including security officers, are required to complete basic cardiac life support (BCSL) training and awareness. In that way, they can give first aid in case, for example, someone has a heart problem or is in need of life support.
The management also runs several consciousness raising programs about patients’ rights, so its customers can receive the best possible service.
“Through our brochure ‘Speak Up’, patients are encouraged to communicate with or gain detailed information from their doctors,” he says. “They are also encouraged to ask healthcare workers who help them whether they have washed their hands before examining them.”
A PASSION FOR SYSTEMS
Andry, who has a background in medical law, joined the Siloam Hospitals Group in 1995, following a tour as a doctor in Papua, where he developed a passion for hospital business management.
“I found that building an efficient hospital system was very critical, as this would enable all relevant parties involved in healthcare, such as doctors, nurses, etc… to work effectively according to their respective roles.”
The Siloam Hospitals Group started to adopt such a systems approach at Siloam Hospitals Lippo Karawaci in 1996.
While not perfect, the system is under constant improvement. It is like tending a garden, which requires grooming, water and care. Otherwise, it will be wither. The important thing is we strive to make today better than yesterday,” he says.
As more people suffer from illnesses such as coronary heart disease, strokes or diabetes, the management of Siloam Hospitals Group is mulling over establishing an integrated clinic involving doctors from various specialties to approach these lifestyle-related diseases.
“As for business, I want to continue to contribute my part, in a team, in developing Siloam’s hospitals into role models for other hospitals in Indonesia, ”Andry says.
The father of two has a hobby of drinking coffee, which he mostly does in the company of his loving wife, who also enjoys drinking coffee. To keep in shape and remain healthy, Dr. Andry maintains a habit of walking his dog in the mornings before going to the office.
This article is part of a series sponsored by the Siloam Hospitals Group.
DR. ANDRY Chief Operating Officer of the Siloam Hospitals Group