May 23, 2013 (Chengdu) We have taken some time off from blogging in respect for the disasterous events in Oklahoma - our
"moment of silence." We have heard the dramatic and tragic stories from friends and family and are all thinking of and praying for those affected.
Our time here has been busy - we've been in many planning and negotiation sessions to advance the plans for the Sichuan Provincial Eye facility here in Chengdu. These sessions can be marathons. First, especially early on in the meetings, we have a certain amount of formality that we need to get through. Next, we have to present some concepts of planning, management and accounting that aren't always familiar to our hosts. Likewise, we have to try and understand their perspective on the impact of the project to the hospital, the ophthalmology department and the people in these sections. Finally, we are starting to get a better understanding of some of the regulatory environment here: hospital, fee schedules, residency program requirements. Importantly, many of these are changing and dynamic which makes it even more complex.
The sessions have focused on various areas. First, the concept of a pilot project for a high end, world class eye care facility that provides a patient-centric quality experience. This type of medical experience isn't common in China and we believe we can establish a brand of leading edge, trustworthy and world-class care. Secondly, this will take a facility and our facility discussions went better than expected. Other than a hiccup in my math (I didn't square the conversion factor from feet to meters) meaning our first request was for nearly 38,000 square feet! Fortunately, we caught the error before it was formally submitted and our space was closer to 11,000 sq feet. We then had detailed discussions of our proposed paired-surgeons model of care, where we rotate international specialists that pair with a selected ophthalmologist from SPPH to see patients and operate together to insure knowledge and skills transfer. We defined requirements for licensing international physicians practicing temporarily in China, and the human resources required to staff a clinic and an ambulatory surgery center were also defined, requiring an estimated 30 personnel once we are fully operational. We discussed the governance structures and implementation teams that will be set up, but still have some work to do on the details for this. A detailed operational discussion outlined the steps of how patients would be referred, managed through the workflow of a clinic, scheduled for surgery, managed pre, intra and postoperatively, and then followed after their surgery. We outlined a marketing approach which again is highly regulated - but began crafting the message and brand for SPEI and a communication strategy using print, mass media, the web and social media.
After each of a marathon two days of presenting ideas, translating them, receiving feedback in Chinese, having it translated and processed, we are always graciously hosted by the residents and faculty and taken out to a traditional Sichuan restaurant for entertaining, boisterous and fun meals of endless dishes of interesting, different and spicy food.
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