Health Management International Ltd, through its two hospitals in Malaysia, has positioned itself as the preferred provider to local and international patients for high-quality, affordable healthcare services.
Malaysia as the preferred destination for world-class healthcare services
Rising affluence and the growth of ageing populations in Southeast Asia underscore the region’s pertinent need for accessible and reliable healthcare. In response to this, Malaysia has sought to develop itself as a destination of choice for high-quality healthcare services for both local and international patients.
The Malaysian private healthcare sector boasts strong infrastructure, well-equipped facilities and clinical expertise. In addition, the existing regulatory framework, with stringent standards and control of doctor’s fees, ensures the quality and affordability of healthcare services, enhancing Malaysia’s attractiveness as a medical tourism hub.
As a result of outreach efforts by both private hospital groups as well as government-led initiatives, the number of healthcare travellers to Malaysia has risen by more than 40 per cent since 2011 to approximately 921,000 in 2016 (see fig. 1).
The growth in medical tourism in Malaysia has also led to international recognition, with the country garnering accolades such as being named the Health and Medical Travel Destination of the Year at the 2017 International Medical Travel Journal Medical Travel Awards. Additionally, Malaysia’s healthcare system ranked first out of 24 countries in terms of cost and quality in the U.S. publication International Living’s 2017 Annual Global Retirement Index.
Providing healthcare excellence to the region
Having set up its first overseas patient representative office in 1999, Health Management International Ltd (HMI) is no stranger to medical tourism in the region. Today, the Singapore-headquartered group owns and operates the 266-bed Mahkota Medical Centre (Mahkota) in Malacca and the 218-bed Regency Specialist Hospital (Regency) in Johor. Both facilities are supported by a network of 16 patient representative offices spanning Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Both Mahkota and Regency are purpose-built tertiary hospitals with over 110 and 60 practicing consultants respectively, offering a comprehensive range of medical and surgical disciplines. Collectively, the two hospitals treat approximately 400,000 patients a year, of which 80,000 are medical tourists.
With a rich history and over 21 years of operations, Mahkota, located in the city centre of Malacca and in close proximity to shopping malls and hotels, is one of the leading hospitals in Malaysia. The hospital is accredited by the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health and has also received numerous awards for its healthcare excellence, including the Frost and Sullivan Malaysia Medical Tourism Hospital of the Year in 2015 and 2016.
Foreseeing the economic and population expansion in Iskandar Malaysia, Regency was launched in late 2009 and the hospital has grown quickly to become one of the largest private hospitals in Johor. Located just 15 minutes away from the Singapore-Johor causeway checkpoint and serviced by the Senai International Airport and the passenger ferry terminal in Johor, the hospital is highly accessible to international patients and is poised to capture its share of the growing medical tourism market in Malaysia.
With medical costs at a fraction of those in Singaporean and Thai hospitals, both Mahkota and Regency offer quality healthcare services at relatively affordable prices. Moreover, the two hospitals are also licensed for use by Medisave, Singapore’s national medical savings scheme, providing an attractive alternative to Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents.
Looking toward the future
Recognising the growth potential at both hospitals, HMI has initiated plans to expand capacity through renovations at existing premises as well as through the construction of a new medical block at Regency. Due for completion in 2018, the new block will add capacity to Regency, in particular additional patient beds, inpatient and outpatient services facilities, and clinic suites.
Mahkota expanded its Mahkota Cancer Centre through the addition of a PET CT Scanner, becoming the only hospital in the state of Malacca to offer this service. The hospital is also planning to renovate a floor in the existing building to add new wards with approximately 80 more inpatient beds.
Buoyed by the positive long-term prospects for the healthcare sector in the region, a healthy balance sheet position, a growing cash pool and low debt levels, HMI has also started to pursue new healthcare opportunities in the region so as to replicate the successful hospital model achieved in Mahkota and Regency.
HMI’s commitment to patient experience, in conjunction with infrastructure developments, will ensure its hospitals remain the preferred choice of healthcare provider for local and international patients.