News Highlights

Forging New Hospital Pathways Through Regional Cooperation

 

GREETINGS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

•    International Hospital Federation President Dr. Kwang Tae Kim
•    Asian Hospital Federation President Dr. Jacob Thomas
•    Philippine Hospital Association President Dr. Bu Castro
•    Korean Hospital Federation President Yoon Soo Kim
•    Officers and Directors, Phil. Hospital Association
•    Colleagues in the hospital industry
•    Friends, ladies and gentlemen

Good morning!

Today, I am humbled and grateful to serve a brotherhood of nations united in the common goal of providing health services to the population we all serve in each of our home countries in the Asia Pacific Region. This responsibility of leading national associations representing their countries hospital leadership is indeed an honor we bring to the Philippines in a time when we all need silver lining in the dark clouds of tragedy.

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I share this honor with each one of our member hospitals but most especially dedicate this to our brothers and sisters from Eastern Visayas who suffered devastation in the wake of the Yolanda disaster. Please join me in offering a silent prayer to those whose lives were taken and for those who survived but will now face the task of picking up the pieces.

I know that you all join me in expressing our sincere gratitude to our fellow member-countries in the Asian Hospital Federation and the other countries who extended their helping hands in our hour of need. From the bottom of our hearts, we say MARAMING SALAMAT PO. Thank you very much.

If anything, the disaster we faced is a proof that we are living in a world that has changed almost beyond recognition. When the internet was introduced decades ago, it was a strange alternative to telecommunications. Then cellular phones happened and the world began to shrink. Then came CNN, and suddenly, we have events taking place in the other side of the world where we live beamed right into our living rooms. We have a global village – and even then, that concept was quite difficult to imagine.

Today, our world shrunk some more – and all because we have learned to click LIKE in another communication platform we call social network. And let us not forget iPhones, iPads, tablets, androids  - the list is getting longer. Our children or grandchildren will no longer know what a slide rule looks like – because everything else comes with only a touch.

If technology has shaped our planet into a borderless world, then we cannot live in a vacuum. Borders are being dismantled and barriers are being broken as inexorably, we are all moving towards being global citizens.

It is interesting to note that of all industries, health care was actually one of the first movers and early adaptors. We are not strangers to collaboration and cooperation because human lives are too precious to allow ego to get in the way. I make this observation because we are standing at the edge of the ASEAN integration that seeks to connect its 10-member states. This will change the landscape where businesses operate, but this also presents untold opportunities in a wider market.

Health care will be right in the middle of these changes. The biggest single issue in the world today is health care – how to access it, how to fund it and how to make it better in quality and technology. There are many challenges in the horizon – global aging, pandemic threats, rising/unabated cost – and it is becoming apparent that not one single health care system will have all the answers. We have to learn from each other, partner with one another if we are to re-define our role in the health system and create a new future for our hospitals.

These changes will not be easy to bring about. We as hospital leaders should be concerned about the relevance of our traditional planning processes in meeting the challenges of disruptive innovations. As regional trade becomes borderless, we will expect that key components of health delivery – public and private sector alike – will be affected. In addition to funding and delivery issues, we have to add environmental concerns and climate change as part of the equation because our disaster preparedness will constantly be threatened by events whose magnitude and impact will be life-changing.

We cannot travel this road alone. We have to work with one another within our respective countries. We have to seek partnerships and linkages because the problem and the concerns are too big for one to handle.

In recognition of these new paradigms, the direction of the AHF in the next two years will be clustered around “FORGING NEW HOSPITAL PATHWAYS THROUGH REGIONAL COOPERATION” to underscore the importance of strategic alliances in addressing health concerns. I hope that through the unity and cooperation we can forge, we will be able to enhance the leadership role of hospitals in re-defining a new health care system.

We are standing at the threshold of opportunities cloaked in a mantle of challenges. I know that we can all achieve the vision of health for all – but only if we do so by complementing each others’ strengths and weaknesses so that collectively, we can rise to be a meaningful force in promoting transformative change in the unfolding health care environment.

Let us walk together to make the journey lighter.

Again, thank you. My strength will be in your support and cooperation. Have a pleasant day.


RUBEN C. FLORES, M.D., M.H.A.
President, Asian Hospital Federation
(2014-2015)
President, Philippine Hospital Association
(2013-2014)