In Internal Medicine, almost all of our providers are valued around the region for their expertise. But some members are even valued around the world. Last month, Dr. Mo Milhem was invited to join an international delegation of twelve experts tasked with surveying and counseling five hospitals across India. Each hospital is looking to add oncology services, and Dr. Milhem, Deputy Director for Clinical Research and Clinical Services at UI’s Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, has years of experience at expanding an institution’s capacity for cancer care.
Spending only one day in each hospital and then providing feedback on what changes they should make was a challenge, Dr. Milhem says. Many of the hospitals were located in rural areas with indigent populations and few resources. What they had, Dr. Milhem was quick to point out, was a shared guiding principle that no patient should be turned away. “That one simple commitment,” he said, was a solid foundation upon which any hospital could build.
From there, Dr. Milhem and his fellow delegation members offered advice on which basic minimum standards each hospital should move toward next. Some hospitals could be best served by establishing hand-hygiene protocols, others in defining and safeguarding contaminant-free areas. “In many cases, it will take a cultural change,” Dr. Milhem pointed out. The health care system in India is so diffuse that there is still a need for a common language for how to discuss the needed modernizations. But once they see results from small adjustments, Dr. Milhem believes that it will spur further action.
The speed with which he and the other delegates moved through each hospital forced them to focus on only the most important aspects needed for change. Dr. Milhem hopes that this is only the first of many visits he will get to make.