Thursday, April 16, 2020

5 Questions with John Chen

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Before joining Charis Manor Nursing Home (CMNH) as CEO, John worked in technology development and founded his own startup. The entrepreneur sees potential in using business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce solutions to improve the Home. Let’s hear from John as he shares his journey in the Community Care sector!


1. What was your previous work experience before you joined Charis Manor Nursing Home (CMNH)?

I spent two years in my own startup, called ezCare. Similar to Homage, it is a home care service platform and was funded by a prestige local medical VC. I then moved on to work in a supply chain management company, CIC Supply Chain, which is a joint venture between Singapore Exchange, Global eTrade Services (GeTS), and Chinese e-commerce giant Zall Group. I was the Chief Information Officer for a year, leading platform operations and product development.

2. How has your experience in your previous roles prepared you for your current role?

In CIC, I was involved in technology development such as Internet of Things (IoT) monitoring, blockchain information integration, and e-commerce system development. ZALL Group has a network of seven e-trading platforms in China and their gross merchandise volume was more than RMB90 billion (approximately S$18 billion) in 2019. CIC serves as its first overseas node to connect with suppliers and buyers outside China. We dealt with thousands of different business partners, streamlining the trading processes through digitisation. More importantly, we also connected trading assets to potential investors.

In CMNH, I am also exploring how to do B2B e-commerce. To put it simply, nursing homes are like small- and medium-sized enterprises who are buying raw materials, and hence, connecting with a digital supply chain management platform could potentially improve their profit. During the two years I spent in ezCare, I gained knowledge in the Community Care sector and met Lynn Chow, who was the Executive Chairman at CMNH back then. With what I learnt, I plan to launch home care services in CMNH, and redevelop the home care service module in the e-platform I mentioned earlier.

Although nursing homes seem to adapt to new technology at a slower pace, I am confident there is huge potential for e-commerce in the silver industry, at both the individual and corporate level. I told myself that I must dive deep into this business and patiently wait for the market to mature. When my parents' generation age, they will need different services than those that nursing homes offer today.

3. What are some of the new plans you have for Charis Manor Nursing Home?

There are three core elements that we wish to implement in CMNH:

a. Centre-based nursing care and community rehabilitation

We aim to make CMNH a beautiful boutique home for our residents with centre-based nursing care and community rehabilitation.

b. Healthcare training

We plan to introduce training courses developed by our sister company, CSM Academy International which has been a healthcare education institute since 2005 with CMNH’s managing model, to other homes. These courses will benefit local community care providers and nurses, e.g., the post-registration Nursing Degree awarded by University of Dundee which community hospitals and nursing home nurses can get CCMDA funding of 90%, the WSQ Certificate in Therapy Services trains HCAs & TAs with up to 95% funding.

c. E-commerce platforms

We’d also like to focus on e-commerce, as it is a scalable business and is not bound by the number of beds in the building. We will concentrate on corporate needs such as medical supplies on demand, shared healthcare workers, and some electronic patient record (EPR) online tools development.

4. What can you tell us about your journey in Community Care?

Working in a nursing home requires passion, care, and patience. Even though the pay is much less than what I used to earn, I decided to do this because I enjoy the time spent here. At times, it feels like a break for me to leave the corporate and financial world.

5. Can you tell us what is your favourite dish?

I do cook often. My favourite dish would be Cantonese desserts. My parents are Cantonese and they enjoy spending hours cooking dessert.

They often say, “You can’t cook a dessert in a rush; your heart and patience are the secret ingredients to great-tasting food.”

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