“I believe that the potential for the healthcare system in Indonesia is immensely huge because of the fundamental (population and economy) itself.
More hospital beds across Indonesia need to be added,” explained Leona Karnali, the CEO of Primaya Hospital.
“There’s still room for growth both in terms of quality or quantity, especially if we get “continue” support from the government. Indonesia’s healthcare is really competitive if not comparable to healthcare services like Singapore and Malaysia.”
Who is Leona A. Karnali?
My name is Leona Karnali, I’m the CEO of Primaya Hospital Group which consists of 15 operating hospitals across Indonesia. Although I’m in the healthcare industry, I’m not a medical doctor nor do I have a medical background – I’m actually an engineer. I graduated from MIT, USA with a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering. You can find me cooking for my children and jogging around my house in my free time.
What prompted you to be involved in the healthcare system?
I never had an intention to dive into the healthcare system. After graduation, I returned to Indonesia with the ideology to improve education. From the education industry for four years to the financial industry for another four. Later on, I was working for Saratoga and was assigned to Primaya Hospital with the purpose of transforming and standardising operations across the hospital group. In 2021, I was appointed as the CEO of the group. I could’ve returned to Saratoga afterwards, but my passion towards the healthcare industry prompted me to stay. The immense sense of satisfaction to help others is gratifying, especially during the pandemic.
Briefly tell us about Primaya Hospital.
Primaya Hospital is spread out from the East to the West of Indonesia. Currently, 15 hospitals are available in Jakarta, Tangerang, Bekasi, Depok, Karawang, Semarang, Pangkal Pinang, Palangkaraya, Makassar and Sorowako. Our services range from outpatients, medical checkups, emergencies, and ambulance pick up. The treatments available include open heart surgeries in Tangerang and Bekasi, trauma treatments for mining companies, sports injuries, cancer, the centre of excellence for women and children, and so much more.
Not to mention, Westerindo Clinical Laboratory is also a part of Primaya Hospital Group. Westerindo prioritises convenience and exceptional services. Patients can do onsite medical checkups and even get their bloodwork at home or at the office.
Since 2014, Primaya Hospital has been accredited by The Joint Commission International (JCI) which is an accreditation body from the USA. Out of the 3,000 hospitals in Indonesia, only 23 are accredited and that includes two of our hospitals.
Perhaps our name isn’t familiarised yet. We’ve never properly introduced ourselves to the public plus we don’t have a hospital in South Jakarta, but I believe expats are found throughout every part of the country. We’ve been serving international patients nevertheless, and they usually discover us by accident much as fate has it.
Please complete this sentence: The facilities and services at Primaya Hospital stand out because…
The facilities are clean and bright and the services are excellent. Our patients often say this after their first visit as they’re in awe. Our hospitals were designed ourselves, referenced from US hospitals with the goal of providing unforgettable facilities to our patients and being in accordance with the JCI accreditation standards.
As an expat moving to Indonesia, convenience and accessibility in health care are vital. How can Primaya Hospital assure?
Each hospital is located on the main road so it’s really accessible for our patients to come. We also have International Patient Services specialists to help expats. We’re currently developing this service which’s personalised in assuring expats experience a smooth process at our hospitals. A specific person in our headquarter will aid them, regardless of their locations.
They will be directed to one of our hospitals nearby. You can get in touch with International Patient Specialist via 0812-2300-3308. Nonetheless, we’re available digitally for online registrations on the website, WhatsApp +6282288889702 and our very own mobile app. Not only that, teleconsultation (linksehat) is available in case someone needs clarity before reaching the hospital, such as identifying which specialist to meet.
Another concern is the quality of doctors, facilities and management. Oftentimes, getting treatments overseas is highly preferable instead. Why? Does Primaya Hospital have a solution?
Unfortunately, that’s the perspective many have when it comes to Indonesia’s healthcare system. Indonesia lacks specialists considering the number of citizens residing in this country requiring treatment. Sometimes doctors don’t have enough time for a thorough consultation – the Health Ministry is aware of this and they are having programmes for our doctors to have scholarships overseas as well as to increase the number of specialists. That’s a work in progress, but in the meantime, we continue to improve the communication of our doctors to listen and give patients enough information.
One of my friends who normally gets treatments in Singapore had a bicycle accident. He went to see an orthopaedic doctor at one of our hospitals. Some of his blood had to be taken out due to internal bleeding. When he told his doctor in Singapore, they applauded the steps taken. This story just proves how the quality of treatment by doctors in Indonesia is actually not less than overseas.
The government is planning to enhance Indonesia’s medical tourism. Is Primaya Hospital taking part?
We’ve been awarded by the Health Ministry regarding this, but we won’t be taking part in Bali as we don’t have a hospital there [yet]. Primaya Hospital continuously improves its services so that the international communities are well aware that we are ready to serve them.
Three more hospitals will be opening soon this year. Why is the expansion done yearly? How’s the progress going?
Indonesia’s healthcare infrastructure is lacking. Indonesia has a 1.4 hospital bed for 1,000 people. Meanwhile, neighbouring countries like Singapore and Malaysia have doubled and even tripled numbers. So far in the past six years, 11 new Primaya hospitals have been built. Each year we aim to open two to three hospitals. Our hospitals developing in Makassar and Jakarta are respectively going well and ready to serve patients in those regions sometime this year.
What do you do to keep your health intact?
I eat healthy, thus not too much nor too little, and get enough sleep. You need to rest to really keep your organs inside functioning well. Also, I keep my mental health balanced. Be happy! Have a good time with your friends.
Being part of a hospital also encourages me to have regular medical checkups, which I often remind everyone to do. Don’t procrastinate in seeing a healthcare professional and self-diagnose by becoming your own doctor; Googling the symptoms you have. Sure, it’s convenient to do that yet understandably hard to avoid in this day and age. It’s better to get a consultation sooner rather than later when the disease builds up.