To understand the scope and impact of the Jen-Ai Hospital - Dali's International Patient Center (JAH IPC) over the past decade, consider the fact that it recently served its 94th nationality--a foreign student from the tiny Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia (population of about 174,000). Over the years, the diversity of patient nationalities using the International Patient Center's services has ranged from Bangladesh, Belarus and Burkina Faso to Pakistan, Peru and Portugal.
Back when JAH IPC opened its services in September, 2003, it introduced an unprecedented new concept to not only Greater Taichung, but all of Taiwan--a medical-service center designed to personally cater to the needs of non-Taiwanese patients, in their own language if necessary. As anyone who has ever had a medical need or emergency in a foreign country knows, the experience can be confusing, disorienting and downright terrifying. Although Taiwan is recognized globally for its excellent health-care system and boasts world-class medical facilities and professionals, foreigners can find a visit to a hospital to be a difficult process, ranging from Chinese-only registration forms and direction signs to an inability to communicate or understand clearly with the medical staff.
The IPC circumvented all of these difficulties by literally taking a patient by the hand and leading them through the entire process, from registration to various examinations and doctor's consultations, including in-patient and out-patient care. In addition to Jen-Ai Hospital's own specialized personnel, the IPC also makes use of international community volunteers who are on call to offer interpretation services in various languages when necessary. The fact that such a service was needed in central Taiwan is borne out by the numbers alone, as the IPC has now handled approximately 25,000 patient visits by close to 5,000 international patients during the past decade.
Although many other hospitals in Taichung and around the island have now followed Jen-Ai Hospital's lead to open similar centers, the IPC has continued to be a pace-setter over the years with a variety of innovations, including Japanese and Indonesian medical services to cater to a recent growth of these communities in Taichung. Other "first in Taiwan" programs the hospital has pioneered include a Baby Web Nursery Website (http://baby.jah.org.tw), Inpatient E-card Service, and--in three world firsts--Baby Video (using YouTube), Baby MMS & SMS (using smartphone) and Baby e-Files. As a result, the IPC has won numerous presentations and awards of excellence from international and Taiwanese organizations.
"Ten years ago, the hospital's vision was to internationalize itself and provide free interpreting services for the international communities in Taichung, which was done for patient safety reasons," said JAH IPC Program Director Mark K. Chan. "And now that it has achieved that goal, it is the hope of Jen-Ai Hospital – Dali that IPC will continue to serve the various medical needs of the growing foreign communities, as the hospital believes that Taichung can one day become a global 'medical tourism' destination in the future."