Wrapping up Cambodia

Happy New Year to everybody!  It’s quickly approaching the end of my last full day in Cambodia and I must admit that I’m sad to be leaving so soon.  There’s so much left to see and do in this country, but most importantly, there’s so much that can still be done at Sihanouk Hospital.  Christian and I plan to keep working with the hospital in the future and we’re really optimistic for the future.

I spent New Year’s in Siem Reap on “Pub Street.”  I’ll say this, they know how to throw a street party.  It was awesome meeting people from all over the world and celebrating New Year’s in true international style.  Also, it’s weird to think that I was  celebrating New Year’s 12 or 15 hours ahead of my friends.  Siem Reap and the Angkor Temples were fantastic; I’m planning to return to explore the ruins more.

In front of Angkor Wat

Christian and I returned to Phnom Penh by Sunday evening and today we spent the morning at the hospital conducting our final wrap up meeting with the lab supervisors.   On the Thursday before we left for Siem Reap Christian and I had presented to the Executive Director and senior leadership team of the hospital on our report.  It was very well received and I feel very blessed to have been part of this project.  You can read Christian’s blog on that day here: http://uscglobalhealth.blogspot.com/2011/12/finishing-touches.html.

Final Briefing

We spent well over two hours discussing our activity-based costing model and template with the lab managers.  The model that we created better captured their direct costs (labor & material) associated with their lab tests and provided instruction on how they could continue to develop the template without our assistance.  Utilizing a combination of time/motion studies, analysis of procurement data, and information technology, we were able to verify and display their data in a more effective and useful manner.  Now, Sihanouk Hospital can better determine the effect that fluctuating materials costs will have on their test costs as well as determine whether or not certain tests are unprofitable for them to run.  This will go a long way toward shifting the laboratory from a cost-center to a revenue generating unit, allowing the hospital to better serve its patients.

I think both sides walked away from this experience with a lot of lessons learned.  Syna challenged me to speak Khmer the next time I came back to Cambodia; I’ll have to take him up on that challenge!  I mean, I’ve already eaten tarantulas… how hard can Khmer be?


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