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PETALING JAYA: Private healthcare investment and operations platform TE Asia Healthcare Partners is focused on building its regional networks of single-specialty centres/hospitals in various disciplines such as oncology, cardiology and orthopaedics and will explore other specialties in Malaysia.

TE Healthcare group CEO Eng Aik Meng said the specialty hospital segment is an area which it believes has tremendous growth potential. Some of the specialties that could be successfully developed independently are oncology, cardiology, orthopaedics, dental, aesthetics and dermatology.

“Our strategy is to establish single-specialty hospitals that bring clinician expertise and healthcare operators together to deliver efficient and high-quality care. Having successfully developed specialty hospitals in cardiology, oncology and orthopaedics in the last three years, we will continue to explore other specialties in Malaysia – as the country has an aging population, rising affluence and increasing life expectancy – driving stronger demand for specialty services,” he told SunBiz.

Singapore-based TE Asia is funded by TPG Capital, a global investment firm headquartered in the US with US$85 billion (RM340 billion) in assets under management.

In Malaysia, TE Asia already has Beacon Hospital for oncology, Cardiac Vascular Sentral Kuala Lumpur for cardiology, and it is transforming HSC Medical Centre in Ampang into a specialty orthopaedic centre.

“We are already working with a few of Malaysia’s leading spine and joint surgeons to launch HSC Medical Centre’s orthopaedic services in the middle of 2021. This is a further expansion to our portfolio of specialty hospitals and this represents an investment of US$160 million in total by TE Asia and its partners in Malaysia to date.

“The establishment of single-specialty hospitals brings not only focus, but also help drive down costs and improve patient accessibility to treatments,” said Eng.

In 2021, TE Asia is continuing to identify new healthcare delivery pathways that appeal to top doctors and their patients. Asia Pacific (Apac) data trends show that non-infectious diseases drive healthcare claims, supporting the next wave of growth in the specialty hospital segment.

“Specialty hospitals provide high-quality specialist services more efficiently than traditional hospitals because we tailor facilities and resources to best fit the needs of specific types of patients.

“Our specialty hospitals are owned, in part, by the clinicians who work in them, sharing the TE Asia vision of creating specialised hospitals where patients get the most appropriate treatments for their condition. Our clinicians who are directly in contact with patients are also our partners.

They are empowered and involved in all major decisions, making it easier to institute positive changes that will benefit patients,” said Eng.

Its Integrated Oncology Centre (IOC) portfolio comprises seven oncology centres, including Beacon Hospital in Petaling Jaya, and more than 40 oncologists across Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.

“We are looking to opening another centre each in Singapore and Indonesia respectively. We continue to look for synergies across the network while increasing the internal capabilities and service offerings at each IOC.

“Beyond oncology, we have Cardiac Vascular Sentral Kuala Lumpur specialising in cardiology and we have just opened a cardiac centre in Jakarta,” said Eng.

According to the AON 2021 Global Medical Trend Rates Report, Malaysia’s healthcare cost increase is one of the highest in the region at 14% due to soaring medical inflation. This is exacerbated by the aging population and swelling patient figures for non-communicable and chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions.

“TE Asia has seen the changes looming in the landscape. Along with patients who are more discerning and better informed about their options, healthcare providers must be prepared to cater to more specific and specialised demands,” stressed Eng.

During the movement control order (MCO), Eng said the outpatient clinics were drastically reduced, and doctors were seeing only the immediate post-operative patients as well as those who needed urgent intervention. All non-urgent conditions and elective surgeries were rescheduled to later dates.

“We saw the occupancy rate for Cardiac Vascular Sentral KL dropped during MCO averaging 30-40%. However, since the recovery MCO, the occupancy rate has returned to the normal pre-MCO rate. We have a positive outlook for 2021 especially with the encouraging news of the development of a vaccine. Once borders are reopened, we expect to receive more international patients.”

Eng said living in the post-Covid-19 world requires all healthcare providers to be innovative and flexible as it reviews its processes and protocols for the new normal.

“We have made several changes such as extended practice hours, staggering patient appointments and delivery of medicine to patients’ homes with the aim to reduce potential crowding. Our hospitals also conduct teleconsultation for patients who want the option to seek care online without leaving their homes. All these are conducted without compromising the quality of patient care,” he added.