Quality healthcare service may be defined as the ability to understand patients’ needs and to meet them in the best conceivable way.
Above all, it boils down to the way patients are treated with dedication, efficiency and excellence. It instils a sense of confidence, care and compassion that the service provided to patients is the best possible.
Service excellence in healthcare reflects the ability of the provider to consistently meet and manage patients’ needs and expectations. It is an onerous, uphill task for any hospital, medical centre or health institute to rise to this challenge.
Malaysia’s National Heart Institute (Institut Jantung Negara or IJN) embodies the virtues of the three Es in healthcare – efficiency, expertise and excellence in treating cardiovascular issues.
First established in 1984 by a group of cardiologists and general physicians, IJN was located at the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital’s old blood bank office. The IJN logo was created the same year and the institute later moved to its present location in 1992.
IJN specialises in cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery services for adult and paediatric cases. As the national referral centre for cardiovascular disease, it handles cases referred to it from all over the country and abroad, as well as follow-up cases in outpatient clinics.
I am no expert on cardiovascular issues. But from my experiences at IJN and from a layperson’s view, this health institute is definitely at an international standard and possibly on par with similar well-known heart centres around the world.
Again, from my layperson’s view and from my observations, the medical equipment and facilities available here are comparable to similar renowned hospitals all over the world.
IJN underwent an expansion exercise, which was completed in late 2009. Today, it is recognised as one of the largest heart centres in the region. Undoubtedly, this is a feather in the cap for Malaysia.
During all my visits to IJN, I observed the competence and etiquette of the staff, who worked with fervour and diligence, serving patients from all walks of life and talking to them with respect. At times, they even went beyond the call of duty to assist patients.
They were truly humanitarian in discharging their duties, unlike in some places where some staff have a tendency to adopt a lackadaisical, apathetic attitude.
Not only the cardiologists but also all the IJN staff at all levels epitomise commitment and conscientiousness when carrying out their duties.
Recently, I was admitted to IJN for two days to undergo a procedure. From the time of my admission until I was discharged, all the staff were simply awesome! Upon admission, a staff accompanied me to my room and briefed me about the facilities available in the room.
No fewer than five times a day, a nurse would come in to monitor my blood pressure and do a blood test. They took my blood pressure even in the wee hours of the morning – at 5am! Nurses attended to me, enquiring about my needs and ensured that my stay at IJN was comfortable.
On the eve of my procedure, a nurse briefed me about what was involved. The consultant cardiologist with his staff came in on the day of the procedure and the following day. Without such concern, which boosted my morale to face the procedure with courage and dignity, I would have been quite apprehensive.
On the day of my discharge, a dietician came to my room and briefed me on the food intake I had to observe at home.
If I was asked to describe my stay in IJN in one word, it would be “excellent!”
IJN is the benchmark for efficiency, service, courtesy, compassion, care and public relations in the healthcare sector – its quality service an example for the public and private sectors to emulate. Our politicians can surely learn from IJN staff what service to the people is all about.
Seldom have I seen staff anywhere so devoted to their work and discharging their duties with zest and zeal. IJN staff are the pride of the people of Malaysia, who are so accustomed to hearing about the negativity in our country.
It was heart-warming to see how these IJN men and women serve patients so passionately.
I was surprised when, shortly before my discharge, a nurse popped by my room and apologised for any shortcomings during my stay.
I told her that there was no need for any apology as the service at IJN was par excellence!
In particular, I would like to commend all the medical and non-medical personnel on the second floor of IJN, who made my stay so comfortable and memorable. Thank you to all of you.
May almighty God continue to bless all of you for your service to humanity.