The Development of the Philippine General Hospital as a Referral Center in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Study

  • Jean Anne B. Toral
  • Michelle V. Alba
  • Zaldy R. Reyes
  • Al Joseph R. Molina
Keywords: COVID referral center, pandemic, qualitative study


Background. The University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) was designated as a COVID Referral Center for one cluster in Metro Manila during the pandemic. We reviewed and described how UP-PGH prepared for this endeavor. This can serve as reference for similar events in the future.

Methods. We conducted a qualitative cross-sectional study with 20 key informant interviews and 5 focus group discussions involving 32 hospital front liners. All proceedings were transcribed and analyzed manually following the conceptual framework. Minutes of meetings, memoranda, and other official materials and communications were also reviewed.

Results. The salient points of both internal (operations, structure, staff, supplies, and continuation of regular services) and external aspects (relation with other hospitals, the local government, the national health authority, and the general public) were enumerated and elaborated. Both best practices and areas needing improvement were identified.

Conclusion and Recommendations. The UP-PGH tried its best to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting its hospital personnel and delivering evidence-based and quality care to patients. The response was not a perfect one and there were certain aspects for improvement.