Making health care service more customer-oriented

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 November, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 November, 1997, 12:00am

An integrated approach to hospital staff can make public health care services more customer-oriented, according to a medical co-ordinator.

Tarcisius Law Chi-keung, the general manager (Allied Health) of Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, said: 'I'm not devaluing the professionals. But nowadays the professionals have to think twice about whether they are professional enough [not] to neglect customers' needs.' He said professions such as architecture, medicine and engineering had traditionally adopted a segmented and individualised approach to their work and tended not to consider the end-user as their customer.

The concept of 'Departments without Walls' was adopted at the hospital last year with the setting up of a comprehensive paediatric rehabilitation centre.

'A man who has knowledge of facility management can remove walls between different departments and make unco-ordinated departments become co-ordinated,' Mr Law said.

He was one of the first 16 graduates in the region to qualify for a Master of Science in Facility Management and now co-ordinates 17 departments at the hospital.

The centre involves staff from various specialisations such as clinical psychology, physiotherapy, orthopaedics and dietitians and provides an integrated team assessment and comprehensive rehabilitation to out-patients.

Children aged between one and 15 months suffering from Down's Syndrome, cerebral palsy, neuromuscular disease and developmental delay are referred by clinical specialists to the centre.

'Traditionally, mothers of severely ill children carry their toddlers and run between wards for treatment. But, now, different medical specialists are put under one roof. It saves both time and money,' Mr Law said.

Questionnaires are being distributed to patients' parents to evaluate the effectiveness of the comprehensive services and the evaluation will be finished next year.

Hospital figures show that more than 100 children received services from the centre last year.

Mr Law said more communication between medical staff might help prevent blunders.

Another integrated health care service, Psychosocial Spiritual Services, was started in July. A group of psychologists, chaplains and social workers offers counselling, rehousing, job retraining and religious support to patients. Since last September, medical staff have written assessments on patients' health progress to improve communication.

Mr Law is also studying the feasibility of 'alternative officing' among community nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. He recently received the 1997 award for best student in facility management, presented by Logic Office Supplies and the International Facility Management.