Serving the laboratory requirements of up to 300 different institutions nationwide, from the hospitals to the largest clinic chains, to free-standing physician clinics is Singapore Diagnostics, one of the largest laboratories in the Philippines and the current project of Ritche Evidente, President and CEO of Singapore Diagnostics.
Under the able leadership of Ritche, Singapore Diagnostics has made rapid strides and is the only CAP Accredited tertiary laboratory in the Philippines. It all started in 2015 for the healthcare executive, seeking to bridge the ascending disparity of healthcare access in the Philippines, Singapore Diagnostics was founded.
Aside from owning a decade of experience in the healthcare industry, the Healthcare Chief Executive has a background in Political Economy and spent most of his early professional life in financial services. He joined healthcare a little over a decade ago. While in the healthcare industry, he has worked in 4 start-ups: 2 became market leaders, 2 led to successful exits for early investors. He was previously connected with a Financial Services conglomerate, built a strong foundation in new business ventures and start-up environments. “It has been a continuing journey filled with challenges, the greatest of which is the ongoing pandemic”, said Ritche.
Marrying a physician allowed Ritche to become familiar with the various struggles in Philippine healthcare. He saw that high quality often equated to high-priced healthcare. This made it difficult for most Filipinos to experience world-class diagnostics. he also saw an industry where the basic principles of economic theory were often misunderstood and misapplied. From there, one opportunity led to another until he found himself building what is arguably among the biggest laboratories in the Philippines.
Singapore Diagnostics, The highest standards of quality, competence, and safety
A noteworthy name in the healthcare segment is that Singapore Diagnostics is operating out of the Philippine capital and has grown to be one of the largest and most respected laboratories in the Philippines. It started out as a laboratory for other laboratories, a laboratory outsources provider if you will, serving the requirements of over 300 hospitals and healthcare institutions in the Philippines. Now they are pivoting to a more direct-to-patient approach, reaching as many Filipinos directly and providing them with the high-quality laboratory testing that they deserve. “This pandemic has taught us that every Filipino deserves high-quality, world-class diagnostics at affordable rates. No longer should high quality be equated and be exclusive to expensive healthcare institutions. It should be available to as many as possible.”
Clients & Unbreakable Faith of Clients
Today, Singapore Diagnostics serves 50,000-70,000 patients monthly. Half of these patients are served directly, while the other half are through the many hospitals and clinics with whom the firm is partnered. In both cases, Singapore Diagnostics’ commitment is to deliver world-class services at affordable rates.
Unlike other players in the industry, Singapore Diagnostics’ laboratory services are CAP Accredited. This means that their team’s competence, processes, and testing results are measured and are at par with some of the world’s best hospitals and reference laboratories.
Passing through the Pandemic
As the company was pivoting to a direct-to-patient model, the world was hit by the Covid-19 Pandemic. Asia was hit harder than most. While people will generally think that healthcare would be the first to benefit from such a pandemic, the truth is that more than half of Ritche’s customers shut down their businesses – the out-patient clinics, the industrial medicine providers, even a few of the health insurance companies – they all closed down. The industry and the entire economy were in total disarray.
They saw the real healthcare heroes shine amidst the disarray. They had team members who walked 3 hours just to come to work. They had team members sharing every last piece of surgical masks with each other, ordering and preparing food for each other, delivering groceries to colleagues who were in quarantine. In a town hall meeting, they all accepted that this will be the biggest challenge the Philippines will face since the war, and probably the most difficult time the generation will ever experience.
“One long forgotten virtue of the Filipino is the spirit of volunteerism. It is called “bayanihan.” Regardless of the challenges ahead, with the right ingredients, that spirit of volunteerism shines bright,” according to Ritche Evidente. While competitors and customers shut down, Singapore Diagnostics brought out the virtue of “bayanihan” in the team.
As their way of expressing their gratitude, they have given away thousands of Covid-19 tests to healthcare workers. They have provided health and life insurance coverage for all their employees. Ritche Evidente Evidente has doubled, and in some cases, tripled the income of healthcare workers who go the extra mile to serve their fellow Filipinos.
The Driving Force behind the Successful Journey
Two things stand out. First, we all contributed to the organizational culture. Second, I have been blessed with coaches and mentors in my professional life”, stated Ritche.
Most new employees hear this on their first day here- Second place is the first loser. It is something Ritche Evidente and his team in the organization embrace and apply. It is their culture. They do not aim to be mere survivors, but rather, they want to be winners. This mindset, along with teamwork and competence, has led the whole team to where they are now – the laboratory market leader in the Philippines.
Besides, Ritche Evidente has also been blessed with brilliant mentors. It is something that he hopes he can emulate as they build a new generation of leaders for Singapore Diagnostics.
A Day in Ritche’s Life
Sharing his daily routine, the leader said, “I am normally up at 6 am and I review various metrics while having my morning coffee. From feedback reports, census and sales metrics, KPIs of each of our facilities, I have the opportunity to review these before I get to the office. At work, we rarely have meetings. We have huddles and stand-up discussions, but rarely do we have long meetings involving multiple participants. As we all collaborate and communicate with each other regularly, we all know what is happening and there is hardly a need for meetings.”
He continued, “Because of the pandemic, we rarely sit down as a team to share a meal. In the past, lunchtime would be spent with a few teammates to discuss concerns in a more informal setting. As we operate in 23 sites, I would often spend part of the afternoon visiting these sites, speaking with members of the team. If not, I would spend this time face-to-face with key customers. Then, I would spend the early evening running around the city or working out in the gym.”
Awards & Milestones
Singapore Diagnostics was cited as among the Philippines’ Growth Drivers in 2020 by market research firm, Statista, and news publication, Philippine Daily Inquirer. It is a testament to the company’s growth and achievements in its short history. It was also the first tertiary laboratory in the Philippines to receive accreditation from the College of American Pathologists in 2019.
Second place is the first loser.