When I was accepted into Harvard Business School’s executive education course, Managing Health Care Delivery (MHCD), I didn’t anticipate the significance of the connections I was about to make with my classmates. The MHCD program is held on the HBS campus for three one-week intervals over the course of a year: fall, spring, and summer.  I believe spending that time immersed in the Case Method educational model and engaged in meaningful team work helped create profound professional and personal bonds for all of us.  Before the end of the second module many of us knew we wanted to continue our learning experience; we decided to begin organizing our own MHCD reunion. Our first reunion was organized in South East Asia so that we could catch up with fellow participants and tour some innovative care delivery models.

MHCD reunion members arrived in Hong Kong from all over the globe. James Kong, MD welcomed the participants and reviewed our itinerary. The first day we met and had breakfast at the hotel followed by a tour of Hong Kong where groups explored – mostly from the top of the tram and overseeing the city.  We gathered that evening at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club for dinner and libations. It was a great way to kick off the reunion!

On Monday we toured the extensive Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital with lectures and presentations from administration and physician leadership on the Public Health system of Hong Kong and the hospital. We toured the hospital and Emergency Room as well as the Helipad. We then also toured the simulation facility for education of physicians and staff. Dr. Kong also spoke about the SARS epidemic and the use of computerization techniques to drill down to the level of the individual patients that were infected with the use of police input.  That evening we were entertained at The China Club.  Tuesday we toured Cathay Pacific headquarters and learned about their culture of safety, and how they manage safety and educate their pilots and staff in safety and quality service.  We toured their mock planes for staff as well as the state-of-the-artflight simulators for their pilots arein near continuous use.  The tour also looked at the Black Box (which is Orange by the way) and how they extracted data from these devices – there are two different ones on every plane.  We learned how they derive their data both in a quantitative and a qualitative manner. They lectured on safety governance and their Fatigue Risk Management System. After this tour we were free to wander, and most went to get their clothes, shirts or suits at Sam’s Tailor! 

We flew out that evening to Singapore and arrived at 12 midnight.  We stayed at the Farrer Park Hospital – a5-star fully-integrated facility that combines a hotel and hospital into a “hospital” concept!  The next morning we all arrived early at the National University Health System to learn about Singapore’s unique approach to population health management with Professor Tai sharing his perspective with an emphasis on Diabetes and patient empowerment.  We then had a delicious lunch at the Red House – crabs Singapore style.  The afternoon we visited the newest medical school –Lee Kong Chiang School of Medicine at Nanyang Technical University and toured their facilities with emphasis on group/team learning.

Thursday we toured the Phillips Asia Pacific headquarters with Fernando Erazo eading us, this regional center hosts a unique facility: their Philips Continuous Care service, which has nurses monitoring patients at home after hospital discharge. Fernando presented his work with Phillips in patient care management to enable self-care, from the bedside to home. We also listened to Jeremy Lim, MD, author of “Singapore’s healthcare system: Myth or Magic”.  We then toured Jurong Health System, Singapore newest health campus,with a lecture by their chief strategist, Joanne Yap (HBS executive alum). We learned the exciting journey of how Singapore built this world-class healthcare service from the ground-up, including tertiary and rehab hospitals with careful thought for seamless integration with their local Community. We toured their innovative ward design, gardens and rehabilitation spaces, which include real-life models of train and bus to evaluate the safety of home-transitions for their patients.  Tours of Singapore commenced afterwards with many going to renowned sites along the Bayfront, River Quays and Michelin-star restaurants and nightlife.  The following morning on Friday we toured the private hospital and clinics integrated with our hotel – Farrer Park Hospital.  We learned how they accomplished the Best Patient Experience in Asia as recognized by Frost in 2017, impressive Zen gardens – both on the roof as well as inside.  We toured their private luxury rooms as well as their standard hospital suites and procedure rooms.  We then left for Bangkok.

On arrival in Bangkok, we were met by Dr. Tanpul (Amp) who hosted us at a wonderful authentic Thai restaurant.  Saturday we woke to a deluge – flooding of the city – which only enhanced our trip to Amp’s hospital – Bangkok Dusit Medical Service (3 hospitals at one site) and part of Asia’s largest private health system network with 46 hospitals in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.  Dr.’s Prasarttong-s Ooth (CEO and HBS executive alum) and Dr. Chokchai Suwanakijborihan presented their hospital system with Thai health system understanding and ECMO – cardiac transitions respectively.  We toured their hospitals and held a wrap-up presentation about what we learned and planned on taking back to our own institutions. That evening we had our farewell dinner and enjoyed reflecting on the trip and planning for the future!  A number of the participants went on to tour other parts of Thailand afterwards.

There were 18 MHCD participants and 4 spouses that attended this adventure and eye-opening experience.  We came from North America, Europe, the Middle East and SE Asia.  We all appreciate the tremendous work done by our hosts – Dr. James Kong (Hong Kong), Fernando Erazo (Singapore) and Dr. Tanpul (Bangkok).

Next trip will be planned for Dubai and Mumbai with help from our colleagues in Dubai and India!  We are excited to see what we can learn there.  Following that trip we are looking at a trip to our Scandinavian and European team!

Dirk Steinert, MD
Ascension Medical Group, Wisconsin