“In 2020, TCI Medical System marked a milestone in leveraging a new brand identity and brand positioning.” – Ms. Mai Le – Marketing Director of Thu Cuc Medical System.
TCI and the million-dollar deal
In 2020, TCI Medical System marked a real milestone as it successfully closed a foreign direct investment deal with VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund (VOF). The indirect subsidiary of the fund management company, Singapore-based Aldrin One Pte. Ltd, bought the stake for nearly 27 million USD, turning TCI into a foreign-invested business. In addition to holding shares of Thu Cuc Medical System, representatives of VOF also participate in the board of directors.
Commenting on the deal, Mr. Andy Ho – Investment Director of VFO, stated that “TCI is one of the leading private hospitals in Hanoi and has achieved this status in a relatively short time.” In a complex economic context, VFO had previously divested from several projects to focus on potential ones only; and TCI is such one that is qualified.
Ms. Cuc Thu Nguyen – the founder of TCI, considered this investment a motivation for the business to implement its expansion plan faster and stronger. To meet the overall strategic objectives, Thu Cuc offers two primary areas as two independent units: healthcare treatment and cosmetology. The healthcare sector – Thu Cuc Medical Joint Stock Company includes general hospitals and polyclinics (TCI). The cosmetology sector -Thu Cuc Cosmetology Joint Stock Company includes plastic surgery hospitals and clinics (Thucuc mega beauty Center) and high-tech dermatology clinics (Thucuc Clinics). This division is a part of the brand positioning plan to encourage business growth.
“To all intents and purposes, TCI has set the goal to become an international general hospital since 2011. It was not until the division that the hospital ultimately clarified its identity and position in the healthcare field,” said Ms. Mai Le.
The division comes with two main purposes. It aspires to deepen and professionalize each area to deliver the best care to customers. Moreover, it is a self-refresh of the hospital after a decade of strong growth.
Challenges and Quality Assurance
Ms. Mai admitted that they met many challenges when implementing a new identity and logo for the hospital since it has already had a solid place in the mind of customers for the last 24 years. The previous logo contains a face of a girl, representing a cosmetic and plastic surgery clinic. Thu Cuc was the first cosmetic and plastic surgery system in Hanoi. Not until 10 years later was the very first medical unit of Thu Cuc was found. Compared to the history and achievement of the cosmetic segment, the second child of Thu Cuc might find it somewhat overwhelming in terms of image and identity.
“If we keep the name as it already is, we can still gain many advantages since we have attained customers’ trust and credibility in the industry. However, with the division implemented, it is a whole new process of repositioning the brand,” stated Ms. Mai Le. However, she also emphasized that they believed the second child would be thriving and become an international general hospital as the goal set on the very first days of the project. Therefore, brand repositioning is inevitable.
“Despite its new name in the market, it will quickly make a mark in the mind of customers.” – Ms. Mai Le – Marketing Director of Thu Cuc Medical System.
“Recalling a decade-long journey that TCI has gone through, there was never a time without difficulties, but we all overcame and succeeded. Ten years ago, it was challenging to recruit professional individuals. In Vietnam, good doctors are not prone to working for private hospitals regardless of how much salary they are offered. They always prefer public hospitals as they can help a better amount of patients there. At that time, Ms. Cuc Nguyen directly talked to those doctors and invited them to join TCI. Seeing the sincerity of the founder of TCI and the potential growth of the business, they finally accepted the invitation. A few years later, when the Department of Oncology was established, it was still Ms. Cuc who went to Singapore to persuade foreign doctors to come to Vietnam for collaboration, bringing world-class health service and the most up-to-date and effective treatment regimens for cancer to patients at TCI.
A whole new wokring culture
The next difficulty was how to operate a whole new concept of business when the definition of a private hospital was not familiar to Vietnamese people. Creating a working culture for the medical staff takes time and effort since the working environment in a private hospital is much different from a public one.
As a matter of customer care, TCI aims to deliver care before patients arrive at the hospital. “We always proactively provide health-related information about the services offered at TCI. Customers will be thoroughly consulted about the doctors, hospital fees, health insurance, etc., when using service in our hospital.” Ms. Mai excitedly guaranteed. The information provided on the hospital website or Customer Care Department is clear and easy to understand.
One of the operating principles of the institute, according to Ms. Mai, is to deliver a service that meets the needs of patients and to fulfill the commitments made to patients. “We always adhere to what we say and do to create trust and prestige with our customers,” said Ms. Mai. The service will not stop even when the patient has left the hospital. “The Customer Care Department will call the patient to ask whether the patient has any further inquiries and how satisfied he is with the service offered by the hospital. The doctor’s phone number is noted on the prescription in case the patient has any questions related to his medical issues. “The patient often does not come up with any question not until he leaves the doctor’s office and rereads the prescription at home.” Ms. Mai expressed.
Creating a patient-centered environment has helped the hospital gain greater trust and credibility in the healthcare market. Despite the change in the hospital’s name or logo, its core value will forever be maintained and developed.
“Therefore, we strongly believe that with 10 years of professional experience in maintaining good quality service and delivering attentive care to our customers, developing the brand under a new name is not quite a problem,” Ms. Mai confirmed. This is also the hospital’s mission that Ms. Cuc Nguyen set from the early days.
“Back then, when Ms. Cuc started the project, she said that medical care brings great value and meaning to society. At that time, public hospitals were overcrowded. Many people suffer there without access to treatment. Rich people often seek medical treatment abroad. However, they also confront many difficulties when staying overseas, especially with language barriers and culture shock. Therefore, Ms. Cuc wished to share some burdens from those hardships in the healthcare field,” Ms. Mai recalled.
An ambition to deliver a new form of healthcare for Vietnamese people
The investment from VFO helped TCI to become stronger financially and contributed to the expansion plan to qualify more medical needs of patients. Currently, TCI is one of the few private hospitals in Vietnam that attain the highest number of daily arrivals. “Soon, we will introduce a new facility on Linh Dam Street with an area of more than 7,000 m2,” Ms. Mai informed.
Previously, TCI Medical System implemented an expansion plan with a 1,500m2 hospital at 286 Thuy Khue Street and a 7,000m2 clinic at 216 Tran Duy Hung Street.
Another big investment is in up-to-date medical machinery and technologies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the medical examination processes. According to Ms. Mai, this aspect has been one of the major focuses of TCI’s board of directors in recent years. “We have been researching and updating what is new in the medical market and trying to bring the best and state-of-the-art machines and technologies from around the world to TCI to serve our patients. There are many times our machinery is the most up-to-date one in Vietnam.
Although she is not a medical expert, Mai still remembers details of any new equipment and methods brought to the institute. For example, the plasma knife has the function of sealing vessels during surgery to help limit bleeding and heal the incision, invest in equipment and learn about Japanese endoscopic methods for early cancer diagnosis, research and apply painless endoscopic procedures, including nasal endoscopy for gastrointestinal patients or non-surgical lithotripsy, etc.
At Thu Cuc TCI, there is an R&D team specialized in researching and updating information on new medical technology and equipment. Moreover, doctors can also recommend machinery and equipment to serve medical examinations and treatments that they find practical. TCI also listens to customers’ suggestions and feedback to better the services every day. Ms. Mai stated that the amount invested in medical equipment has increased relatively in years and does not tend to be limited.
Dedicated medical staff
“Our motto is that whatever is good for our customers, we will do it. If customers have needs, we will meet them, simple as that!”, Ms. Mai briefly stated.
Doctors at TCI are also required to learn and develop constantly. The system at TCI always maintains two generations of doctors: the experienced ones who are honored in their field of medicine and the new ones who are constantly updating and learning, creating smooth coordination in patient care. The caregiver is the image that the hospital is aiming for in the mind of its customers; therefore, all TCI doctors make sure their patients can receive not only a positive health outcome but also a sense of comfort when receiving the treatment at TCI.
Even though offering high-quality services, Ms. Mai affirms that TCI Medical System is not only for the rich but for everyone. The cost of a medical examination at TCI is only equivalent to one in public hospitals. On the other hand, TCI always makes sure patients can benefit the most from their health insurance.
“We have opened many satellite clinics, providing insurance coverage. That’s how we support low-income patients.” Ms. Mai continues, “TCI targets the majority instead of only a small group of customers.”
“We aim to be a model for modern people, who are directed toward up-to-date health care methods in the world, bringing a higher quality of living standard,” emphasized Ms. Mai.