KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 – One upside of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country was that it resulted in an increase in moderate physical activity among Malaysians.
With heightened awareness about the importance of maintaining their wellbeing, more Malaysians began to participate in physical and sporting activities, said Dr Savitha Dharan, chief executive officer of ALTY Orthopaedic Hospital.
However, to ensure a consistently active lifestyle, people need to know not just how to maintain their bones and joints, but also how to prevent and address injuries.
“These factors increase the demands of orthopaedics as a specialty to be able to address the growing social issues that are affecting the community at large. And with more hospitals facing a surge in cases, we are looking at more patients being put on longer waiting lists,” she said.
“This would eventually create larger gaps in the orthopaedic care system, which is where single-specialty hospitals such as ALTY will be able to assist in bridging this gap.”
As a comprehensive single-specialty orthopaedic hospital, ALTY focuses its efforts on raising bone health awareness among Malaysians, which has in the past proven to be lacking, according to its CEO.
“Throughout 2022, we carried out awareness campaigns on scoliosis, inclusivity of bone health among disabled sports athletes, osteoporosis and arthritis among others.”
To raise awareness on scoliosis, ALTY started a Posture Screening campaign, in partnership with Caring Pharmacy and pharmaceutical company, Viatris, which began in the Klang Valley and soon expanded to Pahang, Johor, Perak, and Penang.
“We provided complimentary posture screenings and on-ground consultations for parents with young children and individuals who were concerned about the possibilities of having mild scoliosis which often can be managed if diagnosed and addressed at an early stage.”
ALTY’s scoliosis awareness campaign is making a return this year and will potentially include training school nurses with the necessary skills to screen for scoliosis among adolescents, said Dr Savitha.
“We are also actively raising awareness on back pain and women’s bone health through a series of initiatives including health talks and on-ground screening activities through our continuing partnership with Viatris.”
ALTY has eight renowned orthopaedic surgeons on its staff, with a collective experience of more than 50 years in practice, according to its CEO.“As resident consultants, they are committed to providing patients with unparalleled clinical expertise by combining their years of experience, and sub-specialty interests.”
The surgeons are supported by a team comprising anaesthetists, cardiologist, hand and microsurgery, and doctors from other disciplines. Additionally, the hospital workforce also consists of qualified and trained nurses, physiotherapists and non-clinical teams.
ALTY is also working towards becoming a Center of Excellence (COE) for orthopaedic care both locally and regionally, Dr Savitha said.
“In order to achieve that status and in addition to the resources and technologies in-house, we are working towards ensuring we are data driven with priorities given to research and development, and partnerships with other players in the ecosystem.”
ALTY aims to manage the patient experience in totality through a “comprehensive and connected orthopaedic ecosystem,” said Dr Savitha.
“Patients who are looking for treatment receive more than just a health care solution to resolve their pain. Within a single-specialty hospital such as ALTY, we provide step by step care inclusive of pre-treatment care, one stop centre for hospital-based visits and post-treatment options.”
The specialty hospital has established roles such as spine and joint navigators in-house to help patients navigate their journey, especially prior to and after a procedure, she explained. “This includes preparing the patient for their hospital visits, addressing fears and queries on what to expect, right up to ensuring post discharge needs.
To ensure patients receive holistic care both pre and post procedure, ALTY works with the Tonik Asia Group Sdn Bhd (TAGS) to offer non-surgical intervention, and post-surgical rehabilitation such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy).
TAGS operates a chain of centres specialising in the provision of chiropractic and physiotherapy care, as well as healthcare products for neuromusculoskeletal conditions across Malaysia.
The benefits of single-specialty hospitals are mainly achieving increased patient satisfaction, better patient outcomes, and more cost-effective treatments, Dr Savitha said.
“Being able to focus on orthopaedics, for example, allows us to ensure we are providing the best possible options and care for our patients.”
She maintained that as medical costs continue to rise in Asia, it is vital to be a cost-effective medical and health care provider.
“At single specialty hospitals, we are able to offer our services at competitive prices as we are able to focus on partnerships with specific vendors with consensus between the management team and our doctors.
“This enables us to negotiate better pricing with consumables and high-quality implants for example, which then allows for value pricing for our patients,” she added.