IMH wins Asia awards to snag Hospital of the Year title

SINGAPORE'S Institute of Mental Health (IMH) beat over 80 hospitals in Asia to snag the top accolade at the Asia Hospital Management Awards (AHMA) last night.

The hospital won the inaugural Grand Award for the Hospital of the Year, because of its good showing in six out of nine other award categories.

The awards were held as part of the Hospital Management Asia 2011 conference.

Dr Ashok Nath, chairman of Hospital Management Asia, said that the Grand Award was created to "encourage hospitals to excel in not just one award category, but to also strive for more wins".

The AHMA, held yesterday at the Resorts World Convention Centre, is in its 10th year. The judges include representatives from Johns Hopkins Medicine International and the International Hospital Federation.

Dr Chua Hong Choon, IMH's chief executive, said the hospital was honoured to win the Grand Award and that the win "gives us the affirmation that our programmes are evaluated by international consultants to be of best-practices standards".

The hospital also won the Most Outstanding Project in the Service Improvement for Internal Customers Project category for its Case Management Service, a follow-up service for discharged patients.

It was started in 2003 but was tweaked last year to include an information-technology system that supports the follow-up care process.

Under the service, patients of IMH are assigned a case manager who makes sure that they continue to receive care after they are discharged. Case managers also often double as confidants for their patients.

Said Joe (not his real name), 34, an IMH patient who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003: "When I have a lot of problems on hand and no one to talk to, that tends to increase my stress levels. As my condition is easily aggravated by stress, that triggers a relapse, causing me to check in and out of the hospital."

However, Joe's condition improved after he was assigned a case manager in December 2009. He spends time talking to her every time he goes for a medical checkup, and she counsels him on some of the problems that he faces.

Other patients were also found to have fewer relapses and re-admissions, after having a case manager assigned to them.

Between January last year and May this year, IMH saw an improvement in patients' compliance with follow-up treatment, from 78 to 88 per cent, partly due to the improved Case Management Service.

There was also a fall in re-admission rates and the number of patients not completing their treatment.

IMH also received two excellence awards in the Operational Customer Service Project, and Marketing, PR or Promotional Project categories for its Mental Health - General Practitioner Partnership Programme.

The programme aims to improve access to mental- health care, especially in the heartland, by providing general practitioners with psychiatric knowledge.

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