High-quality care for patients in Southeast Asia

HMI Group together with Siemens Healthineers have entered a first-of-its-kind collaboration focusing on cancer, neuroscience, and cardiovascular disease.

Glenn van Zutphen
Published on February 11, 2022

The ability to take healthcare to a higher level in Southeast Asia while offering solutions for healthcare professionals and patients were important factors prompting HMI Group to create a long-term partnership with a healthcare technology provider.

“The care of our patients is at the center of everything that we do,” says Chin Wei Jia, Group CEO of Health Management International (HMI) Group. They recently announced a S$32 million Value Partnership with Siemens Healthineers that will help HMI to better engage and support patients virtually and in person. “A big area for improvement in Southeast Asia (and that is valid for most of the countries around the globe) is ‘the glue’ that brings people and resources together to better manage information flow, streamline processes, and facilitate the interaction between healthcare professionals and patients,” says Fabrice Leguet, Managing Director, Siemens Healthineers, Southeast Asia.

HMI Group, a growing regional private healthcare provider, attends to close to one million patients each year. It operates and owns two hospitals in Malaysia as well as a healthcare training center, primary care chain with 25 clinics, and the first private one-stop ambulatory care center in Singapore. The partnership will offer quality healthcare to patients and is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. “Our partnership will accelerate the adoption of connected health to provide faster access to care while building telehealth and predictive analytics capabilities at scale — all of which will go a long way in enhancing our patients’ journey towards a healthier outcome,” says HMI Group CEO Chin.

Value Partnerships are enduring, performance-oriented relationships. An innovative business model helps to increase enterprise-wide value in order to meet immediate and future goals.

Chin Wei Jia, Group CEO of Health Management International (HMI) Group

The five-year collaboration will focus on upgrading HMI Group’s healthcare facilities with state-of-the-art equipment, anchoring digitalization, and enhancing the local talent pool. Excitingly, the latest technological devices will be supplied to HMI Group’s fleet of medical equipment, and Siemens Healthineers consultants will support HMI in further developing its centers of excellence (CoEs) for cancer, neuroscience, and cardiovascular diseases to improve patient diagnosis, treatment, and care in these areas.
The Value Partnership supports HMI in delivering high-quality care and constantly improving diagnosis and treatment.
For Siemens Healthineers this collaboration is a game-changer. As Leguet points out, it's much more than the traditional relationship “between a supplier and a customer buying technology and some after-sales service”. He mentions that this relationship enables both partners, HMI Group and Siemens Healthineers, to define common goals for the next five years in terms of building clinical capabilities and services. The focus lies on access to healthcare, achieving desired outcomes, as well as driving operational performance. All that followed by defining and executing a roadmap, which includes providing diagnostics and therapy equipment, digital solutions, knowledge transfer from a network of global experts as well as performance optimization programs.
The need for early detection and tailored treatment using innovative medical technology is palpable. More than 60 percent of all deaths in Southeast Asia are due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, cardiovascular disorders, chronic lung illnesses and diabetes.1 In Malaysia, it is over 70 percent.2 Add to that the aging population trend in Malaysia and Singapore and the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of NCD patients becoming severely ill with the virus. The pandemic has also disrupted NCD care and services due to overcrowded hospitals and clinics and exhausted healthcare workers. This could lead to less screening and case identification, and fewer referrals for cancer patients.

One element of the collaboration focusses on oncology. Chin Wei Jia of HMI Group says that her teams are already working with Siemens Healthineers to incorporate the latest diagnostic and treatment technology to enhance cancer care clinical performance and improve the patient experience.
Siemens Healthineers and Varian offer solutions from diagnosis through therapy to follow-up.
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The dynamic economies of Southeast Asia have an ever-increasing need for local patients to be able to access high-quality medical services. Healthcare investors see this as an opportunity to raise healthcare standards with sustainable investments. Malaysia and Singapore are also attracting foreign medical tourists who, according to one report, can generate up to one-third of private hospital revenue. A pre-COVID-19 report by Zion Market Research forecast that global medical tourism will generate around 28 billion US dollars in revenue by the end of 2024.3  In that context, national and multi-national hospital groups and commercial laboratories are looking for innovative models to accelerate their expansion, and increase their patient outreach while enhancing their clinical capabilities and competitiveness.

The Siemens Healthineers and HMI Group Value Partnership is a good example of such a business model as it enables HMI to meet both its short and long-term goals while benefiting patients greatly.
An experienced medical team and the right medical equipment are essential for patient care.
High quality care for patients in Southeast Asia - doctors in surgery suite
The pace of development across this region is an opportunity that HMI and Siemens Healthineers are looking to tap into. “Healthcare transformation is already happening at a very fast pace in Southeast Asian countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines as well as Vietnam and Indonesia. And this will only accelerate in the future,” says Leguet. “The context is very favorable: demand is growing and attracting a very dynamic eco-system of healthcare investors and industry players.

Forward-looking changes are happening in this region, where countries are taking learnings from mature economies and adapting their best practices. With less infrastructure legacy, it’s often easier for these countries to implement the use of the latest, globally available technologies. The growing power of local innovation helps complement these technologies to fully address specific local challenges. Subsequently, there exists a true opportunity for Southeast Asia to leapfrog in healthcare and even overtake many mature economies. “If this opportunity is fully leveraged and multiplied, I do believe that it could enable healthcare systems in the region to reach significantly better ‘quality over costs’ levels than those in mature economies while reaching out to all citizens,” says Leguet.
It may not be a simple process though. With every profound transformation exercise comes the risk of over-reach and going off track, in view of the massive change process required. Leguet comments, “A systematic change management approach is needed to guide healthcare providers through the challenges of fast-paced and significant transformation. Such an approach is an integral part of the Value Partnership.”
HMI Group Malaysia and Siemens Healthineers
  • Five-year Value Partnership across two hospitals in Malaysia in the areas of radiology and radiation therapy including technology replacement, program & operations managers, and consulting services;
  • $32million investment;
  • Game-changing, first Value Partnership of its kind in Asia;
  • Joint development of Centers of Excellence for oncology, cardiovascular, and neuroscience;
  • Technology capacity optimization supported by data-insights from teamplay performance management system, marketing support, and staff education program;
  • Innovative technology for StarMed Specialist Centre in Singapore;
  • Agile approach to expand cooperation across the region to improve patient care beyond the hospital leveraging digitalization.

By Glenn van Zutphen
Glenn van Zutphen has worked as a journalist covering Asia for nearly 30 years for the likes of CNN International, CNBC Asia, ABC News Radio, and NHK Japan while living in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He is also an executive coach and global keynote speaker on Communication in the 21st Century.