Farrer Park Hospital – Holistic Approach to Medical Treatment

Farrer Park Hospital (FPH) in Singapore is a private tertiary healthcare institute that not only brings together some of the best medical practices and quality patient care within one facility but also considers patients’  wellness and comfort.

FPH is not a typical medical care institution. The facility opened to the public in 2016 as Singapore’s first integrated healthcare and hospitality complex, integrating current developments in medical technology and treatments into the hospital’s design and architecture.

It is owned by Singapore-based The Farrer Park Company, founded in 2011 by a group of medical and hospitality specialists. It is headquartered in the integrated building that houses FPH, Farrer Park Medical Centre, and One Farrer Hotel.

One of a Kind

FPH and Farrer Park Medical Centre are home to suites of specialist clinics, with over 200 medical specialists and medical technology such as nuclear medicine and radiology services to support a wide range of surgical specialities in cardiology, gastroenterology, oncology, and orthopaedics.

Dr Timothy Low, FPH’s CEO, says: “We are modelled to include a five-star hotel, specialist medical centre, and a hospital, all seamlessly integrated within a single facility. Built above an underground train station for the convenience of patients and visitors, the hospital’s carefully created environment is here to enable modern yet holistic care for all its patients.”

Dr Low reveals an interesting fact: the facility was built with a future pandemic in mind. “The hotel, which is built adjacent to the hospital and medical centre, can be quickly repurposed into a quarantine area for patients that need to be kept in isolation.

The hotel staff has been trained in basic care in these circumstances, including swab-bing and testing.

This was also how FPH was used during the pandemic. It was the first facility in Singapore to function as a drive-through swabbing station operated and managed by staff in full PPE and accommodated people that needed quarantine.

“The way we contributed to handling the pandemic has been one of our major achievements. Having served many patients around the world, with Singapore’s borders now opened and relaxed travel measures,  we look forward to welcoming back our patients to travel here to continue the care.”

Advanced Medical Care

Dr Low, appointed FPH’s CEO last year, admits that one of his immediate priorities was to shift towards a culture of innovation. “It means rethinking innovative possibilities for treatment with new modalities of care.”

He notes that recently an artificial-intelligence-assisted colorectal screening service was introduced as an essential tool given that colorectal cancer is one of the top cancers among people in Asia-Pacific, and one that improves polyp detection by 20-30%. Artificial intelligence was also introduced last year to support an MRI screening tool for dementia, another pressing issue in the Asia Pacific region, one of the fastest-ageing populous areas.

Dr Low points out that the scope of innovative treatment ranges from advanced cancer to fertility treatment. For example, those who have metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer now have Actinium-225 Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) nuclear therapy available, suitable especially for patients who have been heavily pre-treated with existing forms of cancer therapy.

FPH collaborates with the Sincere Healthcare Group and Icon Cancer Centre Singapore to introduce fertility preservation services for reproductive-age females in need of chemotherapy or any other cancer treatment. This service includes ovarian tissue preservation, offering hope to female cancer patients who wish to have children once their treatment is completed.

Green Building

The hospital is also part of a lifestyle concept that promotes patients’ well-being and hospitality services, available to those wishing to be close to their loved ones or waiting for treatments.

“There are 15 gardens within the building itself, reflecting its biophilic design, i.e. bringing nature to the patients to help in the healing process. In addition, the facility interiors display more than 700 pieces of artwork curated for the building by regional artists.

We feel that art also helps in healing in terms of decreasing anxiety for patients and their caregivers.”

Dr Low points out that sustainability was embedded in the very design of FPH. The complex has been certified Green Mark Platinum by the Building and Construction Authority since 2011.

“Since FPH went operational in 2014, the hospital has attained optimal energy savings of 30% annually and we continue our commitment to sustainability with a range of initiatives including a rainwater harvesting system to irrigate landscape gardens around the property.”

Within the hospital, light fittings with motion sensors designed to switch off when not in use have been implemented to minimise energy wastage. Energy recovery wheels are also in place to convert heat and humidity from the airstream into cool air for the building. Furthermore, the air distribution system is fitted with UV emitters to prevent pathogens from entering the hospital.

Moon-Shot Thinking

Asked whether the hospital will expand its model and potentially set up similar branches in different locations, Dr Low explains that physical expansion is not being considered for the coming years. However, this does not mean that FPH’s services and expertise are limited to Singapore.

“In order to reach out to the region, we have launched borderless healthcare. This includes a connection to clinics in countries within our region, such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and others. The clinics can link to a cloud platform to seek consultations and exchange knowledge, findings, and expertise.”

“We are also collaborating with device companies in terms of innovative devices or diagnostics for clinical trials, and device evaluation. In this way, we are always on the lookout for innovative devices and future trends.”

One of the key drivers of any development is the human factor, and Dr Low is well aware of the importance of his people. “Our staff are certainly our greatest assets. Staff needs to be engaged, they need to know that they are appreciated and valued by the organisation. So I apply a policy of ‘over-communication’ – people need to be well informed, they need to know where we’re going, what we’re thinking, and how we’re going to do it.”

“I want to cultivate moon-shot thinking in my staff and managers, to make the seemingly impossible start to become possible. They need to have that thinking to continuously lead the healthcare industry, in innovation and new treatment care modalities.”

And what is his very own personal motto? He says: “I always remember what my mother told me – don’t change yourself to get people to like you. Just be yourself, so that the right people will value you. I always try to keep this in mind.”

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