Medical tourism expert shares valuable insights

Prof Chan presenting his knowledge.

UTAR’s Department of Consultancy and Commercialisation (DCC) and the Faculty of Business and Finance (FBF) successfully organised an entrepreneurial talk by Chairman of Penang Health Association Prof Dato’ Dr Chan Kok Ewe on his valuable experiences and extensive knowledge in the cross border healthcare sector of ASEAN to UTAR students and staff. The talk was held on 7 June 2016 at Kampar Campus.

Prof Chan.

Prof Chan.

His two-hour talk titled “Cross Border Healthcare: A Leader’s Insight to the Healthcare Sector in ASEAN Economic Community” was aimed to enhance students’ understanding of the cross border healthcare industry in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and its benefits. Also attending the talk were UTAR FBF Deputy Dean for Academic Development and Undergraduate Programmes Peter Tan Sin Howe and Head of DCC Ching Yen Choon.

Aided by enlightening PowerPoint and video presentations, the former medical specialist spoke about the importance of the cross border healthcare industry and its power in revolutionising ASEAN’s economic growth. He elaborated on the aspect of medical tourism which involves going to a different country to receive treatment for a disease, ailment, or condition due to the felt need for higher quality of care, better access to care, or care that is preferable to what is available.

Apart from that, the talk also covered on the vision and mission of the ASEAN Economic Community. Prof Chan explained, “Collectively, the AEC is the third largest economy in Asia and the seventh in the world, and it offers many prospects and opportunities to the business community and general public. Following its formal establishment in 2015, the AEC will have a great impact on the way we live, work, and do business in the ASEAN region.”

Besides that, he also elaborated on the AEC’s blueprint which has determined to achieve higher levels of economic dynamism, inclusive growth, and integrated development of ASEAN, as well as stressing the importance of narrowing the development gap.

Relating back to cross border healthcare, Prof Chan elucidated, “ASEAN will continue to promote the development of a strong healthcare industry to meet the growing demand for affordable and quality healthcare in the region and continue to open up the market to private healthcare providers and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) investments in the provisioning of universal healthcare.” He added, “By promoting sectors with high-growth potential such as health tourism and e-healthcare services, there will not be any negative impacts on the healthcare system of each ASEAN member state.”

Prof Chan is a graduate of the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programme from Universiti Malaya (UM) and has a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree from the University of St Andrews, UK. Prof Chan was a Professor of Pharmacology at UM and a consultant to Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) School of Pharmaceutical Sciences. He has served in the University Senate of UM, University Hospital Board of Management, University Senate of USM, Pharmacy Board of Malaysia, and Drug Control Authority of Malaysia.

Prof Chan has also held positions as CEO, Director, and Advisor in Island Hospital, Penang. He currently holds the position of the Treasurer of the National Cancer Society of Malaysia. As chairman of Penang Health Association, Prof Chan initiated collaborative efforts by the seven Penang Private Hospitals since 2009 to make Penang the foremost medical tourist destination in Malaysia.

In addition, Prof Chan is also a recipient of the Prestigious “Malaysia Business Leadership Award – Healthcare Sector”, an award recognised by many as a leading leadership award in Malaysia. The award highlights and recognises the achievements of leading business visionaries to honour their great contributions towards Malaysia’s economic development.

Tan (middle) presenting a token of appreciation to Prof Chan, while Ching (left) looks on.

Tan (middle) presenting a token of appreciation to Prof Chan, while Ching (left) looks on.

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