After four years of hard work, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) has won this year’s Singapore Service Excellence Medallion.   Their success did not come easy, with numerous discussions, training courses and staff re-orientation to embed service quality into its organisational culture.

While their efforts were instrumental in their success, NCCS was able to reach greater heights with some help from Disney.

It was in 2010 when two doctors came across a booked titled “If Disney Ran Your Hospital” during a Disney Keys to Excellence course conducted at the Singapore Institute of Management.

Convinced by the applicability of the insights gained, they communicated their knowledge to the leaders of NCCS.

The centre soon engaged Disney Inc to improve its service quality, by getting Disney to train their frontline supervisors, managers and department heads.  Changes were subsequently implemented to improve the patient experience. 

"We initially tapped on Disney’s formula and as we moved on we began developing our own programmes to tailor to our setting.”

For instance, a Real Time Ambulatory Patient Information Deployment Enabler (RAPIDE) system was introduced to provide the chemotherapy unit staff with quick real-time views of the patients’ locations, drug status and available treatment recliners.
With this system, the average waiting time was reduced by about eight per cent.   To further enhance the experience, a team of officers was additionally recruited to assist and explain administrative and clinic processes to the patients.

"We know that even if we have the best doctors, we must make sure that we do not overlook service quality to our patients,” said Professor Soo Khee Chee, Director of NCCS.

“We want to let our patients feel as comfortable as possible, and for them to know that we have them at the heart of all we do.   So, we initially tapped on Disney’s formula and as we moved on we began developing our own programmes to tailor to our setting,” he added.

A Quality Action Team, a committee comprising representatives from across the institution, was also established to address quality issues.   To convey the gravity of providing quality service to the medical staffs, posters of different themes are put up every month.

Examples of such monthly themes include “We will strive to do things right the first time” and “We will work towards minimising errors”. 

"We have to articulate our messages in a manner that is easy for the staff to remember so that they can implement them in their work.   We also conduct service audits so as to ensure we are on track,” said Dr Terrence Tan, the Chief Quality Officer.

With such extensive implementations, there is no doubt that upholding service quality is of paramount importance to NCCS.

"We take service quality seriously.   We embedded it in our institutional culture and mobilized all our staff to strive for service excellence on a daily basis,” explained Professor Soo.

“So, for NCCS to win this 2015 Singapore Service Excellence Medallion for demonstrating all rounded achievements for service excellence is the best recognition of all our collective effort."