By Dr. Achelle Ronquillo
Medical Director and Board Member Clinica Manila
I am a pioneering eye doctor at Clinica Manila. I was invited to join as I was about to establish my nascent practice in one of the large hospitals in Quezon City. In the end, I decided to bet on Clinica Manila because it was hugely more affordable. It was also promising and captivating for its novelty. Much later, I discovered some more reasons that were not so evident in the beginning. I found out that Clinica Manila sits right at the center of Metro Manila, making it especially accessible to all. It also has extensive parking, something sorely lacking in most every medical facility.
I come from a family with no doctors. Starting off my practice with several other doctors at Clinica Manila helped jump start my practice by leveraging my practice with the network of the rest of the medical staff. From get-go, the management of Clinica Manila made it a policy to eliminate overlap as a practical way of enhancing the growth of our medical practice. Happily, this idea is still very much part of our culture.
One compelling reason about the practice of Ophthalmology in a shopping mall is its eminently out-patient nature. My years of practice here have validated what was a mere presumption as a novice practitioner. What was completely out of the box was the idea of ambulatory cataract surgery inside a shopping mall. It was an absolute non-entity back then. It was something of a “do-or-die” sort. Successful eye surgery in a mall means establishing a practice breakthrough.
On the other hand, complicated if not failed surgery would likely put a nail on the coffin for that practice. Fortunately, the years have vindicated eye surgery in the mall as not only safe but incredibly successful as well. Now, this model has been replicated by many other providers all over the country.
Glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration are the three most common chronic conditions that afflict the eye. All these conditions require lifelong monitoring and management. Currently, we have our patients fully covered for the management of these conditions using YAG laser for glaucoma and green laser for diabetic retinopathy. We also have the ability to do close and lifetime monitoring of the status of neovascular age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma using optical coherence tomography (OCT). The ambulatory setting helps bring chronic treatment of age-related macular degeneration using regular injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) agents to more patients.
What makes the experience of Clinica Manila different though goes beyond mere science, economics or efficiency. What we have always tried is to make sure that each patient who comes to us feels not only professionally treated but also especially humanly accompanied intheir sickness and anxiety. Nothing gives us so much consolation than seeing our patients set their mind at rest at the end of each visit.