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From the Archives: Philippine Heart Center

A Nation of Healthy, Happy Hearts

The Philippine Heart Center’s (PHC) mandate to expand access to specialized cardiovascular care has always been clear, and yet somewhere along the way the institution faced dwindling government support. It found itself dealing with increased competition due to the emergence of more private hospitals and stand-alone laboratories; and in 2011, the national subsidy for indigent heart patients was reduced.

PHC knew that it had to become more efficient, so it sought Balanced Scorecard guidance from an academic institution. It used the textbook approach of putting together a number of performance metrics, which turned out to be far more than its staff could handle. In addition, PHC had subscribed to a model mainstreamed for business corporations, which meant significant stress on financial performance. While this was what PHC needed given its predicaments, the institution became increasingly concerned about not losing sight of its mandate of creating greater social impact.

In the middle of this quandary, PHC received useful advice from the Department of Health (DOH) to try the local public sector adaptation of the Balanced Scorecard, the Institute for Solidarity in Asia’s (ISA) Performance Governance System (PGS). DOH itself had entered the program and found it helpful in setting a clear direction that emphasized social impact.

Thus, a partnership was forged between PHC and ISA, and the hospital began its journey toward the Islands of Good Governance (IGG) seal.

Governance charter

PHC’s assistant administrators have always ceaselessly pursued the broad purpose of improving the health of Filipinos, taking into account three fundamental elements: comprehensive cardiovascular care, education and research, and accessibility to all.

In 2012, PHC leadership assessed the realities surrounding its operations and put forward a vision for the institution to become “The leader in upholding the highest standard of cardiovascular care, a self-reliant institution that responds to the health needs of the Filipino people.” At first, it set an end date of 2017 or five years from undertaking the visioning exercise, but considering how much of a stretched goal it is, outside observers urged the institution to extend it to 2020.

As PHC seeks to achieve its vision, it also upholds and promotes core values of patient-focused care, compassion, integrity, respect, and excellence.

PHC formed its governance charter in 2012 to mark the start of its transformation journey. This charter, which includes the vision, mission, and core values, is the foundation for governance in the institution.

Strategic outcomes

PHC leadership was quick in identifying what kind of outcomes they wanted: delivery of better health outcomes; provision of equitable health financing allotted for indigent patients; and development of a more responsive PHC health system.

But at the end of the day, they made sure to ask themselves, “Would these outcomes be meaningful to Filipinos?”

There was no doubt that citizens would wish its PHC to be a hospital that cares for cardiac patients in a professional way. Moreover, patients should be kept safe from healthcare- associated infections and leave the hospital satisfied overall. Since PHC is a government- subsidized hospital, it should also be able to attend to indigent patients in need of free hospital admission and services.

This is an excerpt from ISA Founder Jesus Estanislao’s 2016 book, It Can Be Done.