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Leadership at a Glance: An Amazing Field Trip to Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur

12 Aug 2020

When we, students of IMU Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Management, were informed by our Programme Director, To’ Puan A/Prof Dr Safurah Bt Ja’afar that we were going for an industry visit to Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur on 27 July 2020, most of us in the cohort were enthralled. We had previously had a talk by the dynamic Hoo Ling Lee, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gleneagles during one of our classes at the ICE Training Room in IMU’s Bukit Jalil campus – it was one of the most thought provoking and engaging lectures that I’ve been blessed to be a part of. So, with great excitement, on 27 July 2020, 11 students and 4 faculty members of the MBA in Healthcare Management programme, went for a field visit to Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur. The objectives of this trip was to get to know more about the different aspects of the administration of a hospital itself, the details of the hospital’s operations, to get exposure on how hospitals stay competitive in their quality of patient care, and last but not least to know how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the hospital itself and economically, and how they manage to stay afloat despite the difficult times. We were cordially greeted by Syarifah and was also received by one of our seniors whom we are very proud of, Linda Leong, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur. She introduced herself to each of us personally and with her bubbly personality and cheerfulness, she made us feel at home right away! The seamless intermingling between our cohort and Gleneagles staff members was truly intriguing. Before the session began, we were given a briefing and precise instructions on the safety measures in case of emergencies followed by the protocol that we had to adhere to due to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic by Thevaraj of Environmental Health and Safety. As we took our places, Ms Hoo gave a talk on “Strategic Positioning and Capturing Market Share” of the hospital and even shared her experiences when dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic in a hospital management perspective. She gave us great insights on different strategies, current market trends and her experience in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic from a management perspective. Similar to the first lecture she has given to us in IMU, our cohort hung onto every word as she described her points in great detail and with patience in answering every question we had. That was a very revealing lecture to all of us, on real-life sharing of opportunities, challenges, strengths, and weaknesses in positioning a business and capturing market share. After the lecture, we were divided into 4 groups and assigned to staff members, namely Gwen, Kelly, Allan and Katherine, for a guided tour around the Gleneagles Hospital, with a quick reminder on the adherence to the new-norm protocol we were off!

Tour of Gleneagles Hospital KL

During the tour, we were patiently guided to the various areas and departments within the hospital, and we even interviewed some of the staff that we had the opportunity to meet during the tour. The questions asked ranges from how they run that specific department to the recent changes that were made in view of the current ongoing pandemic. For instance, the Emergency Department had to go through some modifications in order to accommodate potential Covid-19 patients who were also screened at an area outside the Emergency Department where the ambulances arrive. Beds were also rearranged along with its equipment, also to accommodate potential Covid-19 patients while protecting other patients from contracting the virus. SOPs were being complied to and everyone was adequately distanced and wearing masks. The hospital also had an entire isolation ward for suspected Covid-19 patients only so that these patients will not potentially pass on the disease to other patients who do not have the virus. From the trip, we also observed that Cancer Centre did not undergo much changes despite the pandemic as cancer patients will always require their necessary treatment. Therefore, cancer patients still needed to go to the hospital for treatment. Besides the medical side of things, Gleneagles Hospital KL has a very hospitable ambience with a welcoming and pleasant fragrance, lively set-up, and large walkways for free movements. The many in-house cafes and bakery whose aroma fills the lobby area will instantly makes anyone less caught with their ailments. The hospital even houses a small bookstore, salon and other retail stores which adds to feeling of comfort that can help lighten the spirits of both patients and families who are accompanying the patients. The tour was short yet fulfilling. Everyone had lunch together courtesy of Gleneagles Hospital. This was an opportune moment for many of us, a much-awaited get-together after the long spell of three months only meeting over screens. More importantly we were able to create new network with Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur staff. Hoo Ling Lee continued connecting with each of us at more personal level and students took opportunity to further explore on issues of career and prospects in the hospital industry. We learnt a lot from her and her team on hospital management. Overall, it was a very educational industrial visit and we truly hope the programme will provide us similar opportunities in the coming future.

My Tour  and Learning Experience by Jasdeep
My group was under the escort of Gwen, a very lovely person, with perfect communication skills, and very accommodating to all our questions which she answered with detail and patience. The first stop was to the Emergency Department, where she explained how preventive measures were taken to setup a triage for the on-going Covid-19 pandemic. We then moved onto the Oncology Department which was kept separated from most of the other structures of the building to ensure treatment for cancer patients would continue while mitigating the spread of infection. We then proceeded, to the International Patient Lounge and the suite rooms where we were greeted with ear to ear smiles by both, Fatihah and Firdaus, respectively. Both of them answered our group’s bombardment of questions, yes if you don’t know Benjamin (my colleague), now you do! Our multitude of questions were answered, we were amazed with their knowledge to the smallest of details seemingly from the tip of their fingers and never losing their grin! Keeping in mind they did this thrice before us and still were so accommodating and lovely towards us. They represented their department with a sense of job pride I have failed to notice elsewhere in a long time! As our tour concluded, we headed back to the hall and gathered together for the lunch provided to us by Gleneagles, where to my pleasant surprise, I noticed Hoo Ling Lee still around going from table to table ensuring everyone was taken care of and taking the time out to get to know us a little better. It was at this moment that it struck me as to what leadership is and how important a CEO’s role is, generally forgotten by most people in a similar position as hers, which was applying the company culture by actions rather than just words. Most people speak about company culture and integrating it into their staff, duly emphasised during their orientation but after that it transcends into an afterthought and their teachings are rarely practiced, this was not the case in Gleneagles where every staff member was cordial and knew their work scope thoroughly. The credit for this goes towards its leadership, which strives to instill this form of culture into their staff, as it has a trickle-down effect – from CEO to its management team and then towards its staff members. As Ms Hoo had once imparted this quote to us in her previous lecture, I saw it in full effect and would like to quote it here “An army of sheep led by a lion, is better than an army of lions led by a sheep.” The effect of her dynamic persona and actions makes this very clear. All the care, hospitality and work pride which radiated from the staff stemmed from their leader. As all good things came to an end and we said our goodbyes, I felt truly blessed that To’Puan Safurah and Hoo Ling Lee who facilitated this educational industry visit, a heartfelt thank you from all of us of MBAHM120. As I drove away from Gleneagles KL, I realised they are an organisation that has truly held onto their tagline, In the Arms of One Who Cares, I vouch for it.
 What Other Students Say about this Visit
 Benjamin Loo Tat Meng  An interesting visit to Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur where students were exposed to strategic planning by the upper management of the Hospital. We also got to see how a private healthcare organisation has adapted to the pandemic as they look into the future of healthcare. The take home message …. Focus!
 Ebenezer Abel Paul The Gleneagles site visit was a great learning experience and opportunity to see first-hand the business mechanism of a private hospital industry. We were given the chance to see first-hand different areas of its business operation and how market share is captured. It was an eye-opening experience with their warm and welcoming Senior Management Team. A day well spent!
John Ratnaraj A/L John Thomas The word ‘FOCUS’, such a thunderous word that ignited me to be steadfast in achieving my goals. I had the privilege of visiting the esteemed Gleneagles Hospital in Kuala Lumpur. The visit was hosted by their ever-pleasant Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Hoo Ling Lee. Ms Hoo and her lovely team made us feel right at home. We had an informative session on the topic of Strategic Positioning and capturing the market share. The talk was given by Ms Hoo and she gave us all the insights on her role as the CEO. The statement which remains loud in my ear is the word FOCUS, which she used to describe how she makes decisions in providing the finest of care to the patients whilst increasing revenue to the organisation even in the midst of the current pandemic. We were given an exclusive tour of the hospital. Amongst the sites visited were the Accident and Emergency Unit, the International Patient Lounge, the Oncology Unit and one of the wards as well. A detail explanation on each of these sites was given by a member of the management team. As a whole, I honestly feel this was an informative and insightful visit in attaining knowledge pertaining to our MBAHM programme and I am truly grateful for the faculty for organising this visit.
Maya Chandra Sekaran I really enjoyed the field trip! The team at Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur were warm and welcoming with a CEO, Ms Hoo who was as always generous with her wisdom. It was interesting to see how a private hospital ran its services amidst the current pandemic. I learnt a lot from this visit!
Teo Woey Yen First of all, I would like to thank Ms Hoo for having us at Gleneagles Hospital despite her busy schedule. The visit to Gleneagles Hospital is very exciting and the talk that given by Ms Hoo was full of insight. I am so impressed with the hospital environment. I immensely enjoyed the trip and it is a worthy experience.

About Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur

Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur is currently the leading private hospital in Malaysia’s metropolitan capital. One of the first private hospitals in Malaysia to receive a Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation, Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur also received the ‘International Hospital of the Year’ award as well as a ‘Highly Commended for Excellence in Customer Service’ award from the prestigious International Medical Travel Journal in 2018, best Urology Service Provider and Health Screening Provider in Asia Pacific by the Global Health and Travel Awards 2019.

Written by IMU MBAJasdeep Singh A/L Inderjit Singh and Brenda Lim Thean I, MBA in Healthcare Management Students 1/20

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