Transforming a Thai Hospital through Pay for Performance

Paul MarsdenAboard a tour bus covered in enormous fuchsia flowers, we traveled through the Bangkok morning rush hour. This we knew: we were in for an eye-opening field trip as part of the Second Global Forum on Human Resources for Health.

Our destination that day was Chachoengsao Province—130 km (or 81 miles) from Bangkok— where we had the opportunity to see firsthand the transformation of the Phanom Sarakham Community Hospital and how it’s working toward establishing a pay for performance scheme.

Charismatic leadership
The hospital was previously considered one of the most run-down in Thailand, beset by persistently poor service quality and low staff morale. However, led by its inspirational and talented director, Dr. Namphol Danpipat, it is now among the best hospitals in Thailand in terms of quality of care and effective services, and has achieved both International Organization for Standardization certification and hospital accreditation status along the way.

Dr. Danpipat’s leadership, which focuses on vision, teamwork, and recognition and reinforcement of positive performance, has greatly impacted on the hospital’s performance. And we were inspired by his philosophy that “sport makes the ‘man’…the ‘man’ makes the hospital.”

Healthy work environment
Wilma GormleyRecognizing the positive effects of encouraging all staff to work together, the facility actively promotes a collaborative spirit. Hospital staff are encouraged to participate in various sports, such as cycling, basketball, and aerobics, as part of their working schedule.

Relationships and teamwork are vastly improved, and this emphasis on health and well-being is further translated through added improvements in the workplace, staff performance, and ultimately the quality of care.

Traditional medicine
Among its services, the hospital also provides Thai traditional medicine. Thai massage is offered, both to patients and those who come for relaxation. Amazingly, the hospital is fully geared up to offer massage to each and every eager and willing field trip participant. One could choose the full massage or the foot massage—both performed by trained staff—in an outside pavilion, a gentle breeze in the air.

Never shy to pass up on such an opportunity, we both opted for the full massage—not quite believing our good luck in having selected this field trip. Returning to the theme of quality of care, as willing "patients" we received superb services, setting a high benchmark for future field visits!

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Photos by Wilma Gormley and Paul Marsden (Phanom Sarakham Community Hospital, Chachoengsao Province, Thailand)