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From the beginning, Hong Kong private medical clinic operator OT&P Healthcare has endeavoured to be 100 per cent focused on its patients. It was an easier ask back in 1994, when OT&P got its start and the digital revolution was still years away. But technology has come a long way, particularly in health, and the onus is firmly on the healthcare provider to make things as smooth as possible for patients.
“As a progressive practice, we’re always looking at ways to improve the quality and access to our services,” says OT&P Healthcare Executive Director and Partner Linda Wills. “We have been thought leaders in the sector. Over the years, we’ve created a bespoke patient management system that’s constantly evolving and developing. The digital transformation journey we’re on right now not only ensures we are entirely technology enabled, but also that we remain completely patient focused.”
For much of the world, but especially health care, the COVID-19 pandemic presented an opportunity for leaders and businesses to step up and become agents of change. Yes, it was a crisis to be navigated, but it was – and remains – a chance to do things better than before. OT&P seized this opportunity with both hands, turning what was already one of Hong Kong’s leading medical clinics into the city’s top public health resource.
“Obviously as a medical provider, one of our key roles is public health education,” Linda says. “So we’ve built a platform to advise our patients, their friends and family and our corporate clients of evidence-based responses to the pandemic as it continues to develop.”
The platform, which includes articles, podcasts, newsletters and the clinic’s bilingual website, has been made possible by OT&P’s technological advancements in the years leading up to the pandemic. “We’ve doubled down on efforts through our thought leadership and communication to reach the community,” Linda says. “We get so much feedback from patients saying they’ve read all the articles, and that we’ve helped them.”
“We’re passionate about protecting patient data and ensuring our practitioners have access to the latest information on each patient before they see them. That’s what leads to the best possible care.”
The only clinic group in Hong Kong to have international accreditation, courtesy of the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, OT&P is well placed to issue such advice. Originally a single GP clinic, OT&P has grown to encompass eight clinics, made up of GPs, obstetricians, paediatricians, midwives and other specialists. In this way, OT&P provides a complete circle of care.
“At this point, we’re digitally and data enabled to the point where we can provide timely and effective treatment, which is paramount in health care,” Linda says. “We’re passionate about protecting patient data and ensuring our practitioners have access to the latest information on each patient before they see them. That’s what leads to the best possible care.”
The flow of data is managed by OT&P’s bespoke patient management system, nCAS. Fully scalable to support future organic and inorganic growth initiatives, the system was created in-house to best suit the needs of its patients. “We’ve used advanced interactive information technology systems to optimise our operational performance and increase productivity,” Linda says. “And because it’s built by our programmers, we can react rapidly to changes.”
An app, released in early 2022, will further enhance the patient journey by allowing safe and secure access to their data anywhere, anytime. “Previously, records have only been accessible by our staff,” Linda explains. “Patients could ask for their records and we’d print them, but we want real-time access going forward.”
The advent of the system and OT&P’s take-charge approach to COVID-19 information has not only advanced public education in the midst of the worst global health crisis in recent memory, but it’s boosted the clinic’s brand awareness and generated potential new patient leads.
“When you’re proactive in looking for new opportunities and making changes for the greater good, you’re a changemaker,” Linda says. “And a changemaker needs to be adept at guiding teams to make sure they reach objectives and goals in relation to change.”
“We take pride in the diverse backgrounds of our staff and our patients because it allows us to look at issues from different perspectives. It’s how we can learn and improve.”
That’s why Linda and OT&P’s management team has set a high standard when it comes to company culture. “In an international hub like Hong Kong, culture is incredibly important,” she says. “We take pride in the diverse backgrounds of our staff and our patients because it allows us to look at issues from different perspectives. It’s how we can learn and improve.”
What began as simply listening to other voices has developed into an ongoing education program where staff voices are elevated to an equal platform. “We’re trying to learn from the mix of skill sets we have,” she says. “Medicine is a discipline that’s traditionally led by doctors, but we’ve got so many professionals that are perhaps better suited to certain tasks and can achieve better outcomes, so we need to blend the cultures and disciplines to create the best team possible.”
It’s not simply a matter of listening, either. Staff empowerment has made a big difference to the quality and ability of the OT&P team. “You have to empower, encourage and support staff so they feel that they can come forward to suggest improvements, then react quickly, especially in an ever-changing landscape like health,” Linda says. “One of the focuses of accreditation is continuous improvement and working towards objectives as a team. And our staff are very important to us so we’re always looking at ways we can improve working conditions for them.”
One major change was a gradual shift to the majority of OT&P clinics being managed by nurses rather than doctors. “We recognise that nurses have great organisation and project management skills, so they’re perfectly placed to manage multi-discipline teams. It allows us to provide more efficient and optimal services, and gives the doctors time to concentrate on patient care.”
This inclusive culture stretches beyond the clinic walls. OT&P’s suppliers and partners all benefit from the company’s strong communication and feedback. “Maintaining firm relationships with our suppliers is key to creating a smooth service for our patients,” Linda says. “Because of our well-established patient management system, we’re always aware of stock numbers and can accurately predict demand in advance.”
Suppliers appreciate the clear communication and a timely heads-up: “It’s paramount to maintaining stable relationships with them, whether it’s stock control or services. For instance, we outsource radiology, so we work with our providers on anticipating service demand and appropriate timings for patients. That way, they can work at peak efficiency and our patients get timely results,” she says.
“We also work closely with laboratory partners to ensure the timely turnaround of results, enabling the doctors to decide on appropriate treatment plans for patients.”
As always for OT&P, it’s the end result for the patient that matters most. Even the COVID-19 pandemic became a chance to improve the patient experience, and Linda says that will continue. “Through our thought leadership in pandemic communication, we’ve been able to better help our patients. We know from feedback that this has happened. We saw what was possible and we want to keep making our services more and more accessible in the digital landscape,” she says.
Increased dual-language resources and an evolving interactive healthcare website are already driving traffic to new heights, but Linda says OT&P won’t rest on its laurels. “We’ve come through this crisis more patient focused and technology enabled than ever, and we’ll use that as a foundation to continue to drive change.”