Prevention is better than cure, it is said. For CEOs, devising strategies today to manage the unforeseen challenges of tomorrow is an essential skill in ensuring organizational growth and career longevity.
Razman Jarmin, CEO of Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz (HCTM) at The National University of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur since 2019, always has one eye on the present and another on the future.
HCTM provides world-class research, education and health care, and it has aggressive expansion plans in place to cater for the healthcare demands of future populations.
Previously a hepatobiliary surgeon, Jarmin is passionate about diagnostic medicine as a way to prevent problems from developing in the first place, while having the treatment plans in place should they eventually occur.
"Having good health saves a lot of costs in the long term," he tells The CEO Magazine. "We actively push for good health screening and a healthy lifestyle in order to avoid long-term complications from diseases."
I’m proud that we are a physician-led hospital. Clinicians always try to get the best for our patients in terms of healthcare services.
Jarmin believes his clinical experience is crucial to his leadership role, allowing him a solid understanding of hospital operations and ensuring he keeps the customer experience central to hospital decisions. It also sets HCTM apart from competing hospitals in the region, he says.
"I’m proud that we are a physician-led hospital. Clinicians always try to get the best for our patients in terms of healthcare services," he says.
When he took over in 2019, all the medical experience and foresight in the world could not have predicted the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which threw hospitals into chaos while demanding they become essential hubs of activity.
Jarmin saw the pandemic as an opportunity to overhaul procedures. He quickly devised ways to manage daily reports and regular strategy meetings online, and to monitor real-time data on hospital operations and patients. These new processes have helped transform the hospital into a sleek, data-driven operation.
"We automated and digitalized our reports to enable us to monitor real-time data on our patients, our occupancy rate, our financial reports, as well as admission and discharge times," Jarmin says.
The hospital also captures data on which days are busiest, which equipment is used most, the duration of treatment and staff availability.
"The data enables us to strategize our planning and manage our manpower, which helps with our budgeting and our day-to-day operations."
At the same time, Jarmin has developed online healthcare service TrueCare2U, which allows the hospital to bring its services to the comfort of people’s home rather than people having to come to the hospital.
His planning has paid off.
"Despite the pandemic , our financial performance has been excellent. We still provide a good return to our investors, with both our top line and bottom line showing double digit growth," he says.
The supply interruptions experienced during the pandemic underscored the importance of HCTM’s partnerships with industry heavyweights including Prudential, Zuellig Pharma, Pharmaniaga Logistic, Al Kencana, and financial auditor Khairuddin, Hasyudeen & Razi.
We were affected badly, but thanks to our strong relationships, we managed to maintain a regular supply to our patients.
"We were affected badly, but thanks to our strong relationships, we managed to maintain a regular supply to our patients," he says.
Those partnerships are being further strengthened thanks to future plans to deliver treatment to patients via drones.
The facility’s excellent reputation also led the Malaysian government to approach HCTM to advise on the rollout of its COVID-19 vaccination program.
Looking forward, Jarmin is already planning for increased demand in health care. HCTM works closely with a children’s hospital, and there are designs in place for two more state-of-the art facilities, one expected to open in August.
"The third hospital will add an additional 300 beds, 50 consultation suites, six new operation theaters and a rehab center where we want to embark on new clinical services, such as oncology," he says.
With growth comes additional challenges, of course. The toughest, Jarmin says, is sourcing high-quality doctors and nurses.
"We are competing with other healthcare players, both locally and overseas. Many doctors, nurses and specialists prefer to work in Singapore and the Middle East," he says.
At the same time, demand for quality health care is increasing.
"As we grow bigger, the expectations from our patients grow in tandem. They expect specialist care from our hospitals and these are the expectations that we need to work on," he says.
Customer satisfaction will always remain HCTM’s highest priority, he says.
"We score around 90 percent on our customer satisfaction survey. But moving forward, we need to achieve a higher score in order for us to fully satisfy our customers," he claims. "We always aim to provide personal healthcare. We try to do our best to fulfill all our patients’ needs and wants while they are in our hospitals."