ASIAN Eye Institute president Benjamin K. Liboro and vice president and general manager Bunny Peña-GerochiAsian Eye Institute
president Benjamin K. Liboro
and vice president and general manager Bunny Peña-Gerochi
face new challenges as the ambulatory surgical center celebrates its 10th foundation year.
First on the team’s priorities is to identify and select several young doctors who will serve as the institute’s second generation of service providers. In addition to doctors, they are also planning for a deeper bench of optometrists, operating room nurses, paramedical staff members and business managers.
“The competition for talent is worldwide. Specialists are being recruited very heavily in the Middle East, Singapore
, and sometimes they even specify (from) Asian Eye. There is competition in retaining people, so we need to train more people than we need, perhaps even establish a school or institute for this purpose,” Peña- Gerochi explains.
Liboro adds that the second-generation doctors eyed by Asian Eye need not be Harvard fellows like its current crop of doctors, who all trained in Harvard Medical School. “There are other leading eye care institutions in the world. Each center has its specialty.”
Benchmarking globally, Asian Eye has learned that the single biggest priority of healthcare facilities is patient safety. “When you say world-class, it means the facility consciously aims to reduce patient risk. Medicine is not a precise science. You can’t be perfect in diagnosis and in treatment all the time. But if you adopt processes that allow you to systematically and methodically bring down that risk, then your outcomes are better and you will be world-class. You can’t take short cuts,” Liboro says.
Peña-Gerochi says this singular emphasis on patient safety is contained in the Asian Eye value of patient focus, which pervades all activities and procedures. “Patient focus is why we do research to give hope to patients who think nothing can be done for them. This is where compassion comes in, that personalized care, as well as practicing full transparency with the patient. In fact, we have posted a Patient’s Bill of Rights at visible areas of the clinic so everyone who comes in will know that patient welfare is our priority.”
She is especially proud of Asian Eye’s track record in bringing in the latest technologies in eye care. “We recently acquired technology that allows us to treat the need for reading glasses permanently. Together with those already in our portfolio, this opens up the range of options available to our patients,” she says.
Asian Eye has also slowly but surely built a reputation for excellent research. With their doctors publishing research findings in international scientific journals, they have put Asian Eye and the Philippines on the international map. “This (capacity for research) was not accidental. We needed to organize for this. There are stringent reporting and recording requirements for international studies,” says Liboro.
Peña-Gerochi ensures that members of the Asian Eye ethics board are regularly convened and trained. The ethics board reviews all research studies proposed for Asian Eye to engage or participate in.
Going forward, she is looking at ways to provide a variety of options to make Asian Eye services accessible to more patients.
“With people concerned about the economic slowdown worldwide, they are postponing elective procedures. There is a need for patient education, to highlight quality and safety as criteria for choosing service providers,” says Peña-Gerochi. “Raising the bar for quality and safety is where we really differentiate ourselves,” she says. “Not many eye centers will take the effort to have themselves evaluated against standards, and track performance and outcomes.”
Liboro says, “Bring your families to Asian Eye. You, your parents and in-laws will benefit from the type of care we provide. But apart from that, I think that you will find in us a clinic that you can trust and be happy with because we live by the same values of service and excellence as the rest of the Lopez Group.”