A large medical center may have the hardware and the state-of-the-art technology. It’s the software, however—the doctor-patient communication, the seamless and caring service of the staff—that makes medicine a healing art.
Dr. Therese Pangilinan-Ikeda and her Indonesian husband Dr. Ken Ikeda, both cardiologists, believe that convenience and smooth interpersonal relationships are important in delivering high-standard health care. This is the vision of MD+ Clinic and Diagnostic Center, a chain of outpatient hospital-grade facilities that offers a human touch.
Dr. Therese, the medical director, maintains that the doctor’s interpersonal skills not only include the ability to draw information for determining the precise diagnosis and dispensing a prescription. The doctor should also show a caring attitude. This basic, albeit undervalued, clinical skill helps in attaining the best results.
“I want to impart to doctors the importance of establishing a relationship with the patient,” she says. “They can help patients understand what is going on with their body and what can they can do to make it healthy. Patients are not aware that they should be partners in taking care of their health. They shouldn’t be dependent merely on doctor’s orders.”
The emphasis on human relationships in health care was born out of her experience with patients who couldn’t control their hypertension and diabetes. Much patient dissatisfaction is due to the lack of this doctor-patient connection.
“They said their doctor didn’t explain why they gave that protocol. If the patient doesn’t understand why they should take this medication, they won’t exactly follow you. You’ve failed to help them. If you want to improve their health, then develop a relationship with the patient. Make the time to explain. Entertain the questions so they understand. In the end, they will follow instructions,” she adds.
Patient’s comfort is also addressed, says Dr. Ken, a full-time businessman who oversees the clinic operations. “Why are people afraid of seeing the doctor? In a hospital emergency room, you wait in line and the nurses can be cold or cranky. You can also get exposed to outpatient infections. We want to make the change here by offering personalized service.”
The neutral colors and cushy furniture of the new clinic at Park West Tower in Bonifacio Global City provide a warm and soothing atmosphere. Consultations and tests are scheduled to avoid waiting time. Patients can relax in the lounge and sip a cup of coffee while waiting to be called.
On how MD+ sets its niche, Dr. Therese explains, “In my practice at the hospital, I see patients intimidated by big institutions. Yet, they also don’t want to go to small laboratories because they feel their services are incomplete. Health care comes with a cost, but our rates are competitive compared with big hospitals.”
The clinic provides a wide-ranging menu—a fully automated lab for the basic tests, including tumor markers; corporate medicine services; imaging studies; home service; and general and aesthetic dentistry.
For annual checkup, one of the optional services is a food intolerance test which determines the body’s adverse response to foods.
“Apart from medications, doctors don’t emphasize enough that 50 percent of taking care of the health comes from food and exercise,” says Dr. Therese. She explains that the food intolerance test is a blood test that measures the immunoglobulin E, an antibody that shows the immune system’s reaction to foods.
While other diagnostic facilities will give the patient the results and booklets of the eating program, MD+ service includes a consultation with a nutritionist to guide the patient in creating a balanced diet without the prohibited foods.
The health-care center specializes in diagnostics for heart-related conditions. Aside from the standard electrocardiogram, the 2D echocardiogram and treadmill stress test, it offers the vascular ultrasound which determines the narrowing or enlargement of a blood vessel.
In special cases, the cardiac rhythms of the heart can be monitored for 24 hours with a portable device called the holter.
The 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitor is recommended for people with hypertension.
People who complain of being out of breath, afflicted with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, smoke heavily or are exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes may undergo the pulmonary function tests. These series show how the lungs are functioning.
In the end, patients not only leave with their test results, but also with a friendly explanation and advice from the doctor. “Our aim is to build a long-term relationship and help the patients protect their health. Complications from diseases can be avoided with good communication,” says Dr. Therese. —CONTRIBUTED INQ
MD+ Clinic and Diagnostic Center Park West Tower is at 36th St., 7th Ave., Taguig, Metro Manila; tel. 0917-6254807, 88681111. MD+ Clinic and Diagnostic Center Westgate Hub is at Westgate Center, Filinvest, Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa; tel. 88231111, 0917-1438231.