Citizen innovation in the public sector is crucial for enhancing productivity and efficiency while promoting trust and transparency in the public sector.

In his online presentation for the Asian Productivity Organization’s Productivity Talk: Public-Sector Productivity through Citizen Innovations on 13 February 2024, Dr. Emre Cinar, Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth in the UK, emphasized the significance of citizen engagement in driving innovative solutions to social challenges. By harnessing citizens’ collective participation, governments can tap into a wealth of ideas and resources to improve public services.

Case studies from various countries, including the United States, Australia, South Korea, and Singapore, demonstrate the tangible benefits of citizen innovation. Platforms like crowd-granting websites, participative budgeting initiatives, and online forums enable citizens to contribute ideas and feedback, leading to more responsive and inclusive governance.

Citizen innovation enhances public trust in institutions, empowers marginalized groups like women, and promotes transparency in decision-making processes. However, despite its potential, there’s a need to accelerate the adoption of citizen innovation practices across different sectors and regions.

Dr. Cinar presented a framework for innovation transfer and adoption to facilitate the implementation of citizen-driven solutions. This involves understanding the local context, identifying relevant innovations, evaluating their transferability, engaging local stakeholders, and ensuring cultural adaptation and ethical considerations. Collaboration between public sector organizations and policy transfer mechanisms is crucial for scaling up successful initiatives.

With its strong community values and high technology adoption rates, the Asia-Pacific region presents unique opportunities for accelerating citizen innovation in the public sector. Grassroots-level innovations driven by community spirit and supported by advanced technologies can address resource constraints and improve citizen engagement and productivity.

Sharing successful innovations enhances the reputation and credibility of governments and opens opportunities for collaborations, funding, and scaling. By disseminating best practices and promoting a culture of innovation, governments can meet the evolving needs of citizens and drive sustainable development in the digital age.

In conclusion, Dr Cinar said that governments need more innovations, and citizen innovation, which has been gaining popularity in several economies, can help solve resource problems and improve citizens’ trust and satisfaction in the public sector.

Watch the Productivity Talk here.

Participants from 11 national agencies completed the Upskilling stage of the Designing Citizen-Centered Public Services (DCCPS) training offered by the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) through the Center of Excellence on Public-Sector Productivity (COE-PSP).

Held last 24-28 April 2023 held in DAP Conference Center in Tagaytay City, the Upskilling stage offered various lectures and workshops designed to enable participants to identify the service they want to improve and develop ideas to better services to the citizens.

DCCPS is an intervention offered by DAP’s COE-PSP that uses a different approach to streamlining and process improvement by prioritizing the client’s perspective. It is composed of four stages: Upskilling, Pitching, Project Incubation, and Knowledge and Experience Sharing.

The first batch of the 2023 DCCPS program is composed of 51 participants from the following agencies and state universities: Aurora State College of Technology (ASCOT), National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), Pangasinan State University – Lingayen Campus, Professional Regulation Commission – Regional Office XI (PRC-Region XI), Philippine Statistics Authority, Philippine Ports Authority – Port Management Office Bicol (PPA), Department of Transportation – Automatic Fare Collection System Program Office (DOTr), Philippine Air Force, Department of Health – Rizal Medical Center (RMC), National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), and Southern Luzon State University (SLSU).

The Upskilling stage of the training program covered the following sessions: Discover, Define, Design, and Deliver. These sessions were handled by Peter Dan Baon, Program Director of COE-PSP; Ms. Gianne Karla Gaoiran, Project Officer from the Office of the Managing Director of the Center for Governance; and Mr. Adrian Ramirez from the Productivity and Development Center. Through these stages, the participants were able to develop a plan and a low fidelity prototype, which will be continuously developed through the next stages and implemented in the participants’ respective offices.

In the next coming months, the participants will be focusing on pitching and project incubation to be able to iterate and later on implement their own projects in their respective agencies and universities.

Batch 1 of COE-PSP’s Designing Citizen-Centered Public Services 2023
Participants from 11 national agencies completed the Upskilling stage of the Designing Citizen-Centered Public Services (DCCPS) training offered by the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) through the Center of Excellence on Public-Sector Productivity (COE-PSP).

The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), in cooperation with the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), through the Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity (COE-PSP) Program Management Office, implemented this year’s first run of the APO Development of Public Sector Productivity Specialists (APO DPSPS).

The course was conducted online and ran from 16 to 20 May 2022. It was attended by 50 participants from APO member countries such as Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Republic of China, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and the Philippines. It trained the participants in the relevant concepts, approaches, tools, and techniques to develop their competencies as productivity specialists in the public sector. 

The course predominantly featured Dr. Shin Kim, Senior Research Fellow with the Division of Regulatory Innovation Research, Korea Institute of Public Administration, Republic of Korea, and Dr. D. Brian Marson, President of the Public Service Excellence Institute, Canada, as its two main speakers. They were supported by presentations from DAP officers Mr. Arnel D. Abanto, Vice President and Managing Director of the Productivity and Development Center, and Ms. Maria Rosario A. Ablan, Program Director of the AO 25 Secretariat, as well as case presentations from key Philippine government officials.

Productivity Trends and Concepts

NEDA Undersecretary Jose Miguel de la Rosa, the APO Director for the Philippines, during his opening remarks

The opening day began with a message from National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary Jose Miguel de la Rosa, the APO Director for the Philippines, who emphasized the need for more individuals capable of transforming the public sector to become more innovative, agile, and impactful. This was followed by the first session of the course, The Role of the Public Sector and Global Trends in Improving Productivity, in which Dr. Kim discussed the importance of productivity in governance. This was further enriched by the day’s final session on Public Sector Leadership. Dr. Marson used this session to clarify the differences between leadership and management, especially in the context of the public sector, and how each can contribute to productivity.

Dr. Shin Kim discussing key concepts in public sector productivity

Dr. Marson opened the following day’s sessions, beginning with the topic Citizen-Centered Service and Opportunities for Improving Public Service Delivery in the New Normal.  Much of the discussion revolved around the experiences of the Philippines, Singapore, New Zealand, and Canada in measuring client satisfaction with government services and addressing the gaps and problems that were highlighted by the public.

Dr. Kim followed with a session on Performance Management, particularly on its relation to productivity, accountability, and, ultimately, results. One of his insights was that, in the past, organizations approached this by first thinking about how to manage their resources. But now, the thinking has shifted to first identifying goals and objectives before determining the required actions and resources.

To close the day’s sessions, Dr. Marson facilitated a group exercise on citizen-centered services. Participants were divided into four groups to brainstorm service improvement plans based on their group’s assigned case study. Afterwards, each group’s representative presented their findings and discussed with the larger group.

Participants presenting their outputs from the exercise on citizen-centered services

Assessing, Measuring, and Improving Productivity

The third day of the course opened with the session on Development of Productivity Improvement Plans, where Dr. Marson discussed the key steps needed to devise an initiative that would increase an organization’s productivity in a systematic way. These include conducting baseline performance assessments, establishing clear objectives, and selecting the appropriate components that would ensure the effectiveness and quality of the resulting action. He highlighted the use of the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) as a basis for developing a thorough and well-executed improvement plan.

Dr. Marson discussing how to improve productivity using the Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

The next session, Measuring Public Sector Productivity, was covered by Mr. Abanto, who began by discussing the key considerations in estimating public sector productivity, such as the effective communication of productivity information for policy, decision-making, and improvement action. He then proceeded to demonstrate index-based productivity measurement, highlighting the use of cost-weighing and deflating to ensure the accuracy of the resulting productivity estimates.

Mr. Abanto conducting an exercise on index-based measurement of public sector productivity

Dr. Marson led the fourth day of sessions with his discussion of Change Management in the Public Sector. This particular session included mini-case studies and group discussions on theories of and best practices in change management specific to the public sector. The participants’ questions centered on the change management process, its challenges, and the solutions needed to overcome the said challenges.

The following topic, Approaches for Improving Organizational Productivity, was covered by Ms. Ablan. She discussed a range of practical tools and techniques to improve productivity such as the 5S Methodology or Practical Industrial Engineering (IE). She also highlighted the importance of understanding the underlying principles in choosing the right tools and techniques and employing the appropriate solutions for the problems at hand.

Ms. Ablan sharing her insights on continuous improvement in the public sector

The Application of Technology in Public Sector Productivity

The last day of the course began with two presentations of local projects showcasing how their initiatives and leadership strategies concretized the concepts and tools of productivity, particularly in the use of digital technology.

First to present was Ms. Maria Luisa Khristina C. Oliveros, Supervising Labor and Employment Officer for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) CAMANAVA Field Office. She demonstrated how her project on virtual site inspections proved to be a safe means of conducting labor inspections, especially given the difficulties brought by COVID-19. 

Ms. Oliveros sharing her presentation on adapting on-site inspections to the risks associated with COVID-19

Second was Dr. Edward E. Baña, Education Program Supervisor for the Department of Education Schools Division Office of Antique. He presented how his project on using RFID technology for student monitoring helped prevent children from dropping out and also provided more efficient workflows for the school’s employees.

Dr. Baña presenting on the use of RFID technology to better monitor the attendance and performance of schoolchildren

These presentations flowed directly into the final session of the course, which was on the topic of E-Government. Dr. Kim discussed how best to understand the concept of e-government, and showcased some best practices in the use of ICT across different public sector cases from various countries.

DAP President and CEO Atty. Caronan giving his closing remarks.

To formally close the five-day training, APO Alternate Director for the Philippines and DAP President and CEO Atty. Engelbert C. Caronan, Jr., delivered a message that thanked the APO and DAP teams for their efforts in hosting the course and commended the resource persons for sharing their knowledge and guiding the participants. He added that he is looking forward to the innovations that the participants will implement to help public sector organizations improve their productivity.

The DAP, through the Center of Excellence – Public Sector Productivity, held this year’s first batch of the Development of Public Sector Productivity Specialists Foundation Course (DPSPS FC) from 16 to 20 May 2022. The five-day course was designed to equip staff and officers of public sector organizations’ management divisions with competencies in measurement, analysis, planning, and troubleshooting to increase their respective organizations’ productivity. 

Twenty participants from the Department of the Interior and Local Government – National Capital Region (DILG-NCR), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) – Regional Offices 1 and 5, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) Regional Office – CAR, and  Department of Education (DepEd) – Ignacio Villamor Senior High School completed this training program. 

During the course, the participants listened to lectures and applied their learnings by measuring their organization’s productivity and diagnosing existing problems, and developing productivity improvement projects. A week after the training,  the participants are expected to submit their respective Productivity Improvement Plan.

Improving public sector productivity

In her welcome remarks, Imelda Caluen, Managing Director of the DAP-Center for Governance, acknowledged how the present interlocking challenges put pressure on the Philippine public sector to continuously perform internal and external tasks more efficiently and effectively. To meet the changing demands of stakeholders and the public with limited resources, governments and organizations around the world are pushed to shift to more productive means of doing their job.

Ms. Imelda Caluen delivered the welcome remarks.

Mr. Peter Dan B. Baon, Program Manager of the COE-PSP, served as the speaker for the first session, entitled Understanding Public Sector Productivity Concepts and Principles. He talked about productivity as a technical, social, and management concept and its importance in the context of the public sector.

Mr. Peter Dan Baon talked about the role of the public sector in improving productivity.

The session entitled, “Measuring Productivity in the Public Sector,” tackled the Productivity Measurement Framework and the key considerations and challenges in measuring Public Sector Productivity. The resource persons, Ms. Rose Ann Camille Caliso, Mr. Philip Ryan Junginger, and Ms. Jenifer Camilon expounded on how PSP measurement allows leaders and policymakers to assess productivity trends within the public sector, improve accountability over the use of resources, determine where to allocate resources where they are used most effectively, and provide feedback on policy initiatives. For their session activity, the participating agencies were tasked to compute their productivity using the productivity measurement tool provided to them.

Session 3 resource persons, Philip Junginger, Camille Caliso, and Jenifer Camilon discussed PSP measurement.

The third session, entitled Diagnosing and Analyzing Productivity, was facilitated by Ms. Elena Cruz, Former Vice-President of the Development Academy of the Philippines and Managing Director of the DAP Center for Knowledge Management. Ms. Cruz discussed how to diagnose productivity problems in the public sector using the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) Cycle and the Lean Management principles and concepts based on the Toyota Production System (TPS).

Ms. Cruz shared about diagnosing and analyzing productivity problems.

The session, entitled Identifying Productivity Improvement, discussed how to identify and plan productivity improvements that will address productivity problems identified in the previous session. Ms. Niña Estudillo, international resource person in productivity and quality courses of Tokyo-based Asian Productivity Organization (APO) introduced tools and techniques for productivity improvement, zeroing in on Quality Circle and Business Process Re-Engineering (BPR).

Ms. Estudillo facilitated problem-solving activities during breakout sessions.

For the final session, presenters from different public sector organizations shared their PSP best practices and experiences. Kenjave Mark Parlero, Designated Head of HR Academy Human Resource Management and Development Office at the City Government of General Santos, together with his colleagues, Jose Amagan Jr. and Teodoro Barcelona Jr., shared their experience in planning and implementing the project entitled “High-Personal Effectiveness Through Resources Allocation (HI-PERA). Dr. Juliet J. Balderas, Management Service Department Head of Office of Strategy Management at the Philippine Heart Center presented about Sustaining Business Excellence through Unit Scoreboards as Execution Mechanism for Increased Individual Performance and Breakthrough Results. Lastly, Dr. Teresita A. Tabaog, Assistant Regional Director at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Region 2 shared about DOST’s Performance Excellence Team and Initiatives during the Pandemic.

To formally close the program, DAP President and CEO Atty. Engelbert C. Caronan, Jr. left a timely reminder to all the participants. He noted, “in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, you being considered the future public sector productivity specialists are expected to strengthen your organization, while also contributing to the sectoral and the national productivity improvement. This is a reminder for all of us to do much good; bear in mind that policy decisions that are data-driven alongside citizen needs make a government future-ready.”

Government offices present citizen-centered improvement initiatives during DAP-hosted forum

On 7 December 2021, the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), as the Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity (COE-PSP), conducted a Sharing Session for participants from its Designing Citizen-Centered Public Service Improvements (DCCPSI) program from 2020 and 2021. The agencies who presented their projects during the event were the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The DCCPSI program assists government agencies in developing means for their services to address their clients’ needs and expectations and result in greater organizational productivity. It uses innovation methods and techniques to identify issues affecting service delivery and prepare proposed concepts for implementation. Despite the diversity in scope and mission among the participating agencies, the presented initiatives had similar strategies in working towards citizen-centered public service improvements. They mostly relied on technology-based improvements such as digitalizing processes and introducing online functionality in order to provide citizens with faster and more convenient transactions.

Technology as a driver for improving services

Many of the participating agencies found that technology has become the key driver for improving public services. Eloida Flores of DOH shared that this could be seen in the new process for accrediting health facilities implemented by the Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau. This project uses communications technology to facilitate pre- and post-inspection coordination as well as conference calling tools as an alternative to walking through a facility.  Their test runs using this new approach resulted in the inspection of 500 facilities and monitoring of 104 facilities. These results meant that the project led to improved compliance with the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018. The Bureau was also able to significantly reduce their backlog, reach their quota for the number of facilities to be monitored, and create venues for fast communication via a variety of mobile apps.

Charmane Dalisay of DOT shared a similar story, as their team created a system for accreditation of tourism enterprises where clients could submit their requirements online while also enabling employees to process these requirements online, along with other features for both clients and employees. The DOT launched this project last September 2021 and have since been able to register 14,287 accounts registered, receive 6,908 applications, and process 4,720 of applications received. Of these applications, 2,188 were still being processed and only 229 were disapproved. Public reception for the project has been excellent, with a reported average satisfaction rating of 100% based on a client satisfaction survey they conducted from January through September of 2021.

Citizens’ Convenience at Heart

Although technology has been the driver for many of the projects, citizens’ convenience has remained the goal above all else. Ivan Limjap of DSWD shared their plan to make the issuance of clearance for minors traveling abroad fully available online, which would reduce the need for face-to-face interaction and eliminate waiting time for applicants.

Their project is being developed in coordination with the Department of Science and Technology Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI), and Bizooku, a private computer software developer. And even if it has not been fully implemented yet and is still in testing, it shows great promise for improving citizens’ convenience, having already received positive feedback from clients. Another example was shared by Ida Miape of TESDA, who discussed the Program Registration Certification Office’s planned online tracking of applications for registration of TVET programs. While this has not yet been implemented, the project will lessen the need for face-to-face customer interaction while making them easier and faster.

Janette Cruz of BIR presented another similar project, an online system that facilitates the end-to-end process of registering new corporations. With this new system, applicants will only have to take three steps to register as a corporate taxpayer, with the whole process only taking about half an hour to complete. Once the project is implemented, it will elevate taxpayers’ registration experience which should hopefully lead to an improvement in the country’s tax compliance. It would also completely remove the need for time-consuming face-to-face interaction with taxpayers, transforming a problematic process that has been problematic yet necessary into one that is convenient for both citizens and BIR staff.

Change Management Speed Bumps

Despite the great potential these improvements can bring, there are still some hurdles to implementing them. Lucita Dela Peña of DILG encountered several challenges with one of their projects aimed at reducing the processing time for authorizing local government units’ purchases of motor vehicles. They changed their plan from focusing on policy changes to automating the process after initially consulting their stakeholders. But as of the sharing session, their team was still setting up meetings with regional focal persons to present their project and gather recommendations. In this case, they are demonstrating that there are still many people that must be involved before a change is made, and the reliance on technology for this change also presents as a major factor in this process. 

Another example is evident from the sharing of Chona Suner-Narvadez of the PhilRice Business Development Division. Their e-Punla Rice Seed Information Systems project digitalizes and automates operations related to selling seeds such as fulfilling forms, conducting surveys, providing information to buyers, monitoring inventory, and many more.  They started beta testing their project with their current buyers’ last planting season. Through this project, they eliminated the need for seed growers and rice farmers to manually input their details through the use of QR codes, creating a database which facilitated the verification of their seed growers and ultimately removed the need for physical masterlists. However, some clients needed assistance using the kiosks because they were not as familiar with touch screen technology. In this case, the challenge came from people’s adoption of new technology rather than problems with the organization or its internal processes. 

Niña Deniña from the PDEA Compliance Service Division also encountered challenges in implementing their  Regulatory Compliance System, which is designed to allow medical practitioners to electronically submit their applications for various PDEA services and enable employees to process these applications. Currently, the project still needs a final system check before testing it with their internal and external stakeholders and eventually launching it. The system’s launch may also be delayed because of unstable internet connection. In this case, the challenge is with limitations to the available technology and technological infrastructure, particularly internet connection speed and reliability.

The progress displayed by the participating agencies show emerging patterns in the delivery of citizen-centered services in the country. Technological enhancements are at the forefront of most service improvements, and these are focused primarily on the convenience and user experience of citizens. Many of the projects aim to reduce processing times and the necessity of face-to-face interactions. However, it seems that there are many challenges to implementing changes in the way agencies operate, specifically with implementing technology-based improvements: limitations of pre-existing technology, reliability of partnerships, and administrative delays. Despite these speed bumps, the reports of the sharing session’s attendees showed that there is great promise in the drive to introduce more and better citizen-centered improvements in the government as well as in the significant steps that their agencies have already taken since their participation in the DCCPSI program.

As the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity, the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) held a Webinar Series on Productivity and Quality Frameworks in the Public Sector last 13-15 October 2021.

The webisode was attended by over three thousand participants from various public and private sector agencies. Speakers included Engr. Charlie A. Marquez, DAP resource speaker; Dr. Ralph Sherwin A. Corpuz, director of Quality Assurance at the  Technological University of the Philippines; and Dr. Juliet J. Balderas, head of Management Services Department at the Philippine Heart Center (PHC).

Webinar speakers answer questions from the participants during the program forum. 

Lean Management

Engr. Marquez, who is a certified QMS Lead Auditor and a Lean Six Sigma practitioner, gave a general overview of Lean Management. It is a philosophy based on the Toyota Production System (TPS) that is focused on improving process performance. He explained, “when we say Lean, the objective is simply eliminating everything that does not add value to the customer’s eyes… Meaning, who defines quality is the customer, not us as service providers.”

He briefly touched on the history of the TPS and Toyota’s 4P’s, namely Problem Solving, People and Patterns, Process, and Philosophy. Engr. Marquez also expounded on the Lean Management Framework. 

Stability and standardization serve as the foundation of the Lean Framework. He added, “If there is no standardization, bawat office kanya-kanya [each office will vary in their ways of doing things]… We do not want that. We want standardization.”

Engr. Marquez expounds on the Lean Management Framework.

Engr. Marquez underlined some principles of Lean and mainly discussed the eight (8) wastes in Lean Management, namely defects, overproduction, waiting, transport, inventory, motion, extra processing, and skills. He also highlighted a few benefits of Lean, which include an increase in sales and profits, improvement of quality and lowering of costs, optimal utilization of resources, and most importantly, improvement of customer satisfaction. As he pointed out, “in everything that we are doing—Total Quality Management, ISO 9000, Lean—at the top is ultimately customer satisfaction. That’s what we are here for.”

In his conclusion, Engr. Marquez recommended that participants perform an 8-Waste Analysis, using the Check Sheet that he shared in the talk. He also gave other practical suggestions such as the creation of Value Stream Maps (VSM), Root-Cause-Analysis (RCA), and formulation of solutions and prioritization of projects or activities.

TQM and Business Excellence

On the second day of the webinar series, Dr. Corpuz presented an overview of Total Quality Management (TQM) and Business Excellence. His topic zeroed in on the application of the approaches in the public sector.

To start his talk, Dr. Corpuz outlined some of the needs and challenges faced by the public sector such as inconvenient and tedious government transaction processes and unsystematic queuing. He added that in order to meet the needs of the public, the Government must exert greater efforts to provide more citizen-focused services, invest in innovation and emerging technologies to improve services, push for a smart government through the integration of ICT with management systems to address red tape, provide seamless connection among processes and governments toward one-stop-shop services, and partnership with the private sector in the country and abroad.

Quality service is what public servants have sworn to deliver and hence should be the prime focus in all government endeavors, Dr. Corpuz pointed out. To realize this, the biggest hindrances to public sector productivity must be dealt with through a solid management solution such as TQM. These barriers include security of tenure which may result in the complacency of government employees, a culture of resistance to reforms in the organization, and a complex political environment.

The speaker discussed principles and tools of TQM such as cause-and-effect diagram, check sheet, control chart, histogram, Pareto chart, scatter diagram, and flow chart. He also explained business excellence approaches that evolved from TQM and its models, including the Malcolm Baldrige National for Performance Excellence and the European Foundation for Quality Management Excellence Model. Additionally, Dr. Corpuz described business excellence as more than a mere award but, more so, a journey of building a competitive nation.

Dr. Corpuz also shared his insights into other TQM tools, including Deming’s Seven Deadly Diseases that infect an organization’s culture, Ishikawa’s Diagram and Total Quality Control, and the Philippine Quality Award Framework.

Dr. Corpuz outlines Demings’s Seven Deadly Diseases of Management

Philippine Heart Center Best Practices

On the last day of the webinar series, Dr. Balderas presented the best practices of PHC to help flatten the curve amid the past COVID-19 surges. She also shared about the center’s quality journey in the new normal, which dates back to 2010 when the center was awarded the PhilHealth Center of Excellence. To improve its hospital processes, the PHC has also been undergoing multiple internal accreditations since 2011. In 2015, it received national recognition for good governance at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. Dr. Balderas noted, “our history of quality is stronger than COVID. If we look back at the history in 10 years, we have improved ourselves so much that probably, what we evolved over the years could be something that we can use productively against COVID.”

Dr. Balderas looks back at PHC’s excellence journey over the years.

Dr. Balderas discussed one of PHC best practices when the pandemic started—the creation of an Incident Command System, which is a standardized emergency response management structure comprising an incident commander, liaison officer, public information officer, safety/security officer, and operations, planning, logistics, and finance divisions. According to Dr. Balderas, the chain of command members meet every month to discuss all the operations in the hospital. They also hold multidisciplinary daily COVID-19 meetings to ensure that COVID-related problems are addressed as they happen. Additionally, new COVID-19 policies by ISO standards on patient admission and on the cohorting of COVID and non-COVID patients among other policies were implemented. These policies were also made accessible to the staff and the patients through its Intranet. The speaker also put forward other best practices of PHC such as stricter compliance to safety protocols, observance of ICP policies for healthcare workers in terms of daily symptoms monitoring and electronic health declaration every fourteen days, and expansion of GeneXpert PCR Testing.

Dr. Balderas also presented PHC’s Beyond Better Strategy Map for the year 2017 to 2022. The map outlines the center’s support and core processes, strategic position, and impact areas that are geared towards its change agenda, which are to become a leader in cardiovascular care that is at par with global benchmarks and to be a leading advocate in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in the country.

Maintaining a high standard of quality is doubly difficult due to the ongoing health crisis, but PHC’s performance governance system, which includes unit scoreboards that help monitor the staff’s individual performance and breakthrough results, has made it possible. Dr. Balderas explained, “when there was little budget for the Heart Center, [our question was] how do we go towards development? We only know that we have to remain the best heart hospital and we are the heart hospital referral center. Our strategy was to improve the performance, so performance monitoring despite COVID was a PHC Culture.”

Despite changes in leadership every five to six years, the center has achieved outstanding breakthrough accomplishments yearly until 2016. And even amid the ongoing COVID surge in 2021, the scoreboards guided the center in decreasing patient safety incidents and the number of healthcare workers diagnosed with COVID 19 by 50 percent.

Dr. Balderas shares the major institutional breakthroughs of PHC in 2020.

The use of scoreboards has been recognized as a best practice in all of PHC’s external audits. In 2019, the center was awarded by the Philippine Quality Award as the leader in upholding standards of cardiovascular care. PHC’s quality and performance excellence have also led the center to be recognized as a “Leader in Upholding Highest Standards of Cardiovascular Care” in 2018 at the 21st Cycle Philippine Quality Awards. Dr. Balderas noted that despite the hurdles brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, good governance and pursuit of excellence in quality improvements must continue.