LONDON: The National Heart Institute (IJN) is branching out of Kuala Lumpur to bring its world-class medical treatment and healthcare services to the people as well as enhance its role in medical tourism.
IJN chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub said the hospital intended to set up branches in the northern, central and southern regions of the peninsula.
Construction on its first branch in Johor Baru would begin next year and is expected to be completed in three years, he told reporters after a meeting with collaborators from private hospitals here.
The government-owned private hospital is presently in discussion with an interested party to set up a second branch in the Klang Valley.
In the meantime, IJN is looking for a location for its third branch up north, and Dr Mohd Azhari mentioned places like a spot on the mainland closer to the second Penang bridge or Kulim.
Dr Mohd Azhari said the expansion plan was due to encouraging response to IJN’s services from local and foreign patients as well as from the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) and the Joint Commission International (JCI).
“MHTC has identified us as the flagship hospital for cardiology treatment and cardiac surgery. MHTC promotes us around the world, for patients to seek treatment at IJN,” he said, adding that IJN has been labelled the “Cleveland Clinic of Asia” by foreign experts.
IJN’s processes, patient safety procedures, customer service and clinical care have been certified to be of international standard by JCI, he added.
Dr Mohd Azhari said factors that attracted private overseas patients to IJN were its advanced medical treatment, 70 specialists and good customer service.
At IJN, cardiology procedures could be conducted within a week while heart surgery could be done within a month or six weeks, as opposed to certain countries where patients have to wait longer for similiar treatment, he said.
The hospital is involved in many trials with international counterparts, as “international companies want to collaborate with us and have research done, which reflects on the high standard of our doctors and facilities,” he added.
IJN allocates between RM5mil and RM6mil a year for staff training across all levels – from new employees undergoing its customers service programme to doctors sent for one-year training at renowned medical establishments.
“There is also collaboration with a neighbouring country for their doctors to be trained at IJN. We became the training centre for cardiology and cardiac surgery in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said, adding that IJN has trained 150 foreign doctors, among them from Indonesia, Japan, the Middle East and Britain.
Dr Mohd Azhari said IJN would continue to capture the private market in order to be financially sustainable so that it could carry out its social mission for the benefit of poor people.
“Our model is unique as we provide a high level of care, we are affordable and accessible to the rakyat and we also make profits so as to be less dependent on the Government to pursue this social mission of ours,” he said.
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