For Dr. Harish Pillai, Chief Executive Officer of Metro Pacific Health (MPH) collaboration is key when it comes to improving and expanding access to cancer care and expertise.
MPH manages the largest private hospital network in the Philippines with 20 hospitals and a growing primary care network and cancer centers.
“What we are trying to do with our group right now is to convert it into a collaborative network and build a hub and spoke model of health care,” he said.
Dr. Pillai bared plans of creating a national network with one of MPH’s hospitals in Metro Manila as its apex where most of the expertise or the best clinicians can come from.
“We are fortunate to have an institution like Asian Hospital with an infrastructure that is truly world class, not just the infrastructure but also the medical equipment and the faculty and personnel there, they are really top notch. It is also JCI [Joint Commission International] accredited. It is the apex of the network in a way,” said Dr. Pillai.
Asian Hospital is one of the largest hospitals and most advanced healthcare institutions in the Philippines. In 2015, it established the Asian Cancer Institute (ACI) a state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary, and integrative cancer care facility.
“What we are trying to do is to ensure that the clinical focus there [at Asian Hospital] can be targeted towards the benefit of the entire network. Hospitals of the network can collaborate. Experts of one hospital can go to the other and they can refer patients too. Asian Hospital can be the apex of the southern network too as it is close to Laguna,” he added.
Asian Hospital is strategically located in Filinvest City in Alabang, Muntinlupa City—only 10 kilometers from the country’s central business district Makati City; 20-minute drive from the International and Domestic airports, and less than a kilometer from the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).
It is also the goal of the hospital network to help decrease the amount of patients from the provinces of Visayas and Mindanao who are traveling to Metro Manila for cancer care and other health concerns.
Dr. Pillai mentioned Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod which can be their referral hospital in Visayas and Davao Doctors Hospital in Mindanao.
He talked about collaborative cancer care as part of the hospital network’s vision in improving cancer care in the country during the recent Philippine National Cancer Summit. This year’s theme is “Bridging Gaps in Cancer Care through 3Cs – Communication, Complementation, and Collaboration.”
In commemoration of World Cancer Awareness Day, the Philippine College of Surgeons Cancer Commission or PCS Can Com spearheaded the cancer summit together with the Philippine Cancer Society and Cancer Coalition of the Philippines.
The goal of MPH for cancer care runs parallel to that of the recently concluded national cancer summit.
“The goals of the cancer summit are to inspire all stakeholders to collaborate and work together more synergistically and to serve as an opportunity to share knowledge, expertise, experiences, research, good practice models, best practices and social innovations, for promoting and advancing integrated, multidisciplinary, patient-focused, quality cancer care and management,” said Dr. Corazon Ngelangel, president of the Philippine Cancer Society.
Dr. Ngelangel is one of the country’s top medical oncologists and the director of the Asian Cancer Institute of Asian Hospital.
Global expertise in cancer care
According to Dr. Ngelangel, basic to advanced treatment options for cancer in the Philippines are at par with the rest of the world: “There might be highly specialized advances in precision oncology covering diagnostics [such as use of Artificial Intelligence or AI] and treatment [surgery with intraoperative molecular imaging, robotic radiotherapy, and high-end precision medicine] that are yet to be fully in place in the Philippines, but we are getting there.”
The ACI, which is among the most advanced cancer facilities in the country, also stands out as it offers a true one-stop-shop experience to patients. It utilizes an innovative team approach in cancer prevention and management with access to modern diagnostics and cancer treatment. These include genomics and molecular oncology for precise and personalized cancer therapy, targeted and immuno-oncology drugs, intra-arterial micro-brachytherapy or SIRT, high dose-rate or HDR brachytherapy, stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic body radiotherapy via the state-of-the-art, image-guided TomoDirect Tomotherapy HDA-H Series machine system.
The institute also recognizes that holistic care or looking past the physical needs of patients is essential in cancer management. Services for the whole spectrum of cancer management are available and accessible at the ACI—from cancer awareness and genetic counseling, early detection, diagnosis, definitive cancer treatment, to supportive, palliative, hospice care, with cancer support groups. It is manned by a competent group of dedicated oncologists and allied oncology professionals who are recognized experts in their fields.
Launched in 2015, ACI has been embracing patients with healing, comfort, and hope. It remains committed to deliver its promise of providing Global Expertise in cancer care and to serve with a Filipino Heart that comforts and heals. ACI maintains that “a more coordinated approach to cancer is required which enables integrated services to be provided within a patient-centered and multidisciplinary-interdisciplinary framework.”
Dr. Ngelangel said the four integrated centers of excellence under ACI are constantly improving to boost outcomes and quality of life of cancer patients, with patient-centered goals. The Emmanuel Centers (God is with us…)—which include Emmanuel Main, Breast, and Simply Woman Centers—conduct screening, diagnosis, and surgical care. The Conquer C Center (Yes, we can…) offers services in radiation oncology, nuclear oncology, and interventional radio-oncology. Chrysanthemum I Center (Health and long life…) provides medical-hematology, adult-pediatric oncology services, and precision oncology medicine, while Chrysanthemum II Center (Health and comfort…) gives quality integrative, supportive and palliative-hospice care services.
The ACI treats adults and children with all types of cancer. The medical staff encompasses nearly 205 attending multidiscipline physicians and more than 70 oncology-trained nurses and allied staff. The institute has an average of 1,316 new cases annually for the past eight years and this can be attributed to several factors such as increased public awareness of cancer symptoms, improved referral system in MPHHI and among different health facilities, and increased diagnostic capability of the hospital.
For more information, contact Asian Hospital and Medical Center Hotline 632 8-771-9000 or visit https://www.asianhospital.com and on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/AsianHospitalPH/