With the reopening of Malaysian borders, we are sure to see sectors such as tourism, hospitality, and aviation work toward a recovery phase.
One such sector that promises recovery and growth for the national economy on the reopening of borders is health care travel.
In 2019, Malaysia welcomed 1.2 million health care travellers, recording RM1.7 billion in health tourism revenue. According to the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), Malaysia has become a preferred destination for patients seeking treatments related to fertility, cardiology, oncology, neurology, orthopaedics, premium health screenings, and Hepatitis C.
Much of the success that the nation has seen in terms of growth in the health care travel market can be attributed to Malaysia’s experienced medical experts, the availability of state-of-the-art technology, high-quality treatment options, and seamless end-to-end patient care.
The reopening of borders for health care travellers signals further optimistic growth for the country’s illustrious health care market.
In the past years, Malaysia has gained a reputation for becoming the region’s hub for fertility, oncology, and cardiology treatments. As the country positions itself to become a global healthcare leader, it is time for the industry to showcase the country’s expertise in other niche medical specialties including orthopaedic treatments.
Chronic pain is one of the most critical problems that is seen within the Asia-Pacific region. In fact, 20 per cent of global chronic pain cases arise from orthopaedic conditions such as osteoarthritis (OA).
In Malaysia, one in three people over the age of 55 suffer from OA pain. This is followed by musculoskeletal discomfort, typically related to the shoulders, neck, and lower back regions.
The incidence of orthopaedic conditions, especially in young adults, has also increased during the pandemic as majority of us got comfortable working from home.
Poor posture, long hours in front of the screen and several other factors have contributed to this rise.
A study published by the International Journal of Health Sciences and Research reported that 70.5 per cent of participants between 18 and 65 who have been working from home reported discomfort and pain, especially in the lower back and neck regions.
With a growing ageing population and the prevalence of a sedentary lifestyle, the incidence of orthopaedic conditions within the Asia-Pacific region is only expected to rise.
Along with changing lifestyle habits, the global pandemic has also added to this burden.
For example, more than 90 per cent of orthopaedic cases in Malaysia were cancelled or postponed due to the anxiety surrounding the pandemic.
Delayed assessments, lack of testing, reluctance in obtaining the right consultation, and low levels of physical activity are likely to have consequences on patients’ health, both immediately and in the future.
As part of the health care industry, it therefore becomes important to equip ourselves to effectively manage this problem, and ensure that patients receive the right medical care and attention on their journey towards recovery and better health.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has led to disruptions in the health care industry, it has also opened several new discussions around better patient management and effective operation practices to ensure industry sustainability.
This has created a catalyst for health care practitioners to move into a single-speciality hospital set up that allows hospitals to be nimble and optimise their performance, while delivering top-quality patient care.
Moving beyond the narrative of the pandemic, single-speciality hospitals are in a unique position, offering accountability, affordability, and agility, thereby garnering greater interest from health care professionals and patients alike.
In Malaysia, we are seeing a rise in single-speciality hospitals focused on providing niche health care treatments across several fields, including fertility, cardiology, and even orthopaedics.
Not only can single-speciality hospitals create a total ecosystem of care, they also strengthen doctor-and-patient relationships, empowering the patient to oversee their wellness journey.
At ALTY Orthopaedic Hospital, we specialise in managing conditions of the joints, spine, and muscles.
Our focus on orthopaedics ensures that our health care professionals, from consultants to nurses, are trained to cater to patients with orthopaedic conditions, from patient registration to post-surgical care.
Being focused on a single speciality, we are also able to recruit top doctors and specialists and create an overall infrastructure that ensures that each patient we work with will experience the best in-class patient care.
Besides providing dedicated care for joint and spine health, we are also able to invest in world-class imaging and diagnostics technology.
With this regard, ALTY Orthopaedic Hospital recently acquired the first ever EOS imaging system in Malaysia, an advanced 2D/3D imaging system dedicated to adult and paediatric patients with orthopaedic and osteoarticular pathologies.
We have also invested in Malaysia’s first-ever weight-bearing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), also known as the tilting MRI.
This imaging technology not only gives more comfort for patients with joint and spine discomfort. but also provides a more precise outcome for diagnosis and further treatment.
A similar shift in operations and investments in advanced technology is seen across several orthopaedic establishments in Malaysia, making the country a choice destination for orthopaedic treatments for conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, scoliosis, and sports injuries.
Coupled with expert rehabilitation programmes that are already well-established, patients can experience a holistic model of care and recovery.
Dr G Ruslan Nazaruddin Simanjuntak is a consultant orthopaedic, arthritis and sports Surgeon at ALTY Orthopaedic Hospital.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.