“The last few years have been exciting, to say the least,” says Dr Beng. Since acquiring Singapore Medical Group four years back, Dr Beng has become a driving force within Singapore and Southeast Asia’s healthcare sector. Since then, SMG has expanded fast, streamlined services and acquired new businesses. Not only has the company bounced back into black, it has also become one of the strongest performing healthcare stocks on the SGX (Singapore Exchange).
It is clear that Dr Beng has managed to produce such a positive outlook through two key factors – acquisition and innovation. Moving smart and steady through the fast-changing healthcare landscape, SMG has produced a portfolio that is diverse, and as a result, is now able to cater to ever-changing growing needs and demands. “The patient of today is knowledgeable and has high expectations”, adds Dr Beng. He explains that nearly 40 percent of SMG’s patients come from overseas, with a high number of affluent patients from regional cities nearby, such as Jakarta (Indonesia) and Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam). SMG has managed to tap into the region’s growth potential that is unparalleled to any other region in the world. With a population of 617 million and a healthcare spend of US$94 billion, ASEAN is expected to be the 4th largest economy by 2050.
As patients are growing in number and spending power, and with innovation pushing forward rapidly, carefully orchestrated business models such as those of SMG, that focus on digitisation and connected healthcare, will benefit from a region that is transforming. “It is not about jumping on the bandwagon anymore, it is about striving to be at the forefront of digital and connected healthcare developments, and that is exactly what we do at SMG” states Dr Beng. Along with the rise of digitisation worldwide, Dr Beng shifted his medical focus to the dot.com boom in the 90s. This developed his passion for medicine and how technology can provide key solutions and create enhanced, high-quality, patient-centred care.
He explains, “I am a firm believer in meaningful and innovative technology. Leveraging off my tech background with HP and GE, I’ve always been an advocate that there is an opportunity to implement more IT and automation within everything we do in healthcare”. This innovative approach is what resounds with current market needs. SMG is reflecting the rise of the new healthcare system, which is one that is digitised and connected.
Within his dual role, Dr Beng drives technological investment with an aim to expand the company’s operations into the Vietnamese and Korean private health sector. SMG has grown both organically and inorganically within all divisions, from Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oncology and Ophthalmology, besides the Group’s smaller niche specialist subgroups, such as its Dental services. These developments have enabled SMG to produce good financial results and resulted in a number of acquisitions in 2016 alone, creating a significant financial turnover for the Group.
The organisation’s acquisition of a diagnostic imaging service provider, alongside a radiology business, has helped the organisation grow and cultivate its existing services and contribute to the organisation's bottom line. “We’ve made ourselves a specialist in buying and fixing broken businesses and turning them around,” he adds. Through these smart acquisitions, the organisation has gained the ability to develop its own Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system, which embeds cloud-based technologies. These improvements have enabled referring physicians to gain instant access to diagnostic imaging, from various devices, including mobiles.
With such a strong momentum and positive results, SMG has expanded services in an area which Dr Beng believes is prevalent within Singapore - women’s health. The organisation’s recent acquisition of Astra Women’s Specialist Group has supported the Group’s move into Vietnam’s private health sector and has made SMG the largest obstetrics and Gynecology Group, with the highest number of doctors practicing in clinics, in Singapore, something Dr Beng highlights with immense pride.
Whilst there are many successes to be proud of at SMG, Dr Beng remains humble, noting that “a company is as strong as its employees that help deliver the businesses core services, and this has never been truer than for Singapore Medical Group. To me, it’s always down to the staff and I have a great group of people”.
SMG has shown that it is set to become one of the leading private healthcare providers in Asia. 2016 has been a record year and there are no signs of the organisation slowing down, as it continues to ride its wave of expansion and growth.