Dr. Michael Mainka: The patient as a guest – The modern hospital of tomorrow

“The future was better in the past as well.” Representatives of the health care in­­dus­­try often quote this popular bon mot by the Bavarian comedian Karl Valentin when they talk about the development of hos­­pitals and medical care facilities in the next few years.
No doubt, the German health care system is still among the best and most ad­­van­ced in international comparison. How­­ever, un­­fortunately recent developments have shown that reforms need to be implement­­ed very carefully to make sure that stan­­dards do not decline due to excessive restructuring and changes – because this would lead to problems on a hard-to-deal-with scale for the future of the en­­tire health care system.
Health care reforms, aspects of health insurance companies, requirements re­­garding technology and infrastructure, the need to get good doctors and, last but not least, the requirements of pa­­tients, who do not wish to be treated merely as numbers in the hospital routine, but as guests – the health care sys­­tem is facing a multitude of challen­­g­­es. And they are one of the reasons why some people have a rather pessimistic view of the future. Is it true, then, that hospitals face challenges that are hard to cope with? Blanket statements are certainly inappropriate in this context – there are too many different requirements that each hospital has to meet or has establish­ed to maintain its individual identity.

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Since it opened in March 2008, the Isar Me­­di­­cal Centre has been committed to offer the best in every respect – with the express aim to satisfy these future requirements. The successes achieved so far clearly sug­­gest that this path leads to a future suc­­cess: For example, the previous (loss-making) clinics’ turnover of 7.5 million euros in 2005 increased to 30 million euros in 2009, while the num­­ber of em­­ployees likewise rose from 120 to currently more than 400. The structural basis of this successful strategy lies in concentrating on selected priority areas: Since its inauguration, the Isar Me­­d­­ical Centre has developed into one of the major German centres for spinal surgery, ad­­ditional disciplines include surgery, otorhi­­nolaryngology, orthopaedics, urol­ogy and internal medicine. These prior­i­­ties are com­­bined with a broad ran­ge of options for patients and medical staff:
In addition to an out-patient clinic, the Cen­tre in the heart of the city of Munich ac­­commodates a radiology and cardiology department, a gastroenterology clinic and an intensive care unit with cutting-edge technological equipment.

Beyond providing medical services, the Isar Medical Centre thinks of itself as a modern centre of service provision and a reliable partner for cooperating doctors – a total of about 120 internationally re­­nowned specialists.

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The close proximity of Isar Klinik, the pri­­vate Pettenkofer Klinik and a number of specialist surgeries represents an ideal infrastructure for realizing this aim. These are key prerequisites for providing me­­d­­ical care at short distance combined with the highest medical standards: The knowledge and know-how of medical spe­­cialists is complemented by cutting-edge medical technology to enable safe and effective preventive, out-patient and in-patient treatment and therapy.
To make sure that the medical specialists can fully concentrate on patient treat­­ment, the Isar Medical Centre offers to undertake a number of administrative and organizational tasks, for instance in the areas of patient acquisition, medical billing, negotiations with cost bearers or de­­­­­­velopment of new, promising treatments.

Both doctors and the Isar Medical Centre benefit from this form of cooperation and from contributing their respective core competencies. The pooling of competen­cies – which in “German” is sometimes re­­ferred to as “in-sourcing” rather than “out-sourcing” – enables an outstanding level of quality and is a model approach to coping with existing and future chal­­len­ges in the health care sector. It aims to take advantage of synergies, which, in ad­­dition to saving costs, will help to open new perspectives for world-class medical care – a typical “win-win” situation, which will be even more important with a view to the future.

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The Isar Medical Centre will actually turn this into a “triple win” situation, since, as a matter of course, all our efforts are fo­­cused on one priority: the benefit of our patients. They also profit from the above-mentioned synergies and coopera­­tion: Leading medical specialists carry out treatments under optimal conditions – as underpinned by the fact that in more than 14,000 (university-hospital-level) in­­terventions performed in 14 months, no serious complications occurred.
And pa­­tients profit even more: Most of them, not only privately insured patients, are ac­­commodated in hotel-standard rooms.
For all staff members at the Isar Me­­di­cal Centre, the first priority regarding pa­­tient care is treating patients as guests.

This manifests itself in the large variety of services on offer and in the staff of only highly skilled personnel, who conti­n­­ually undertake further training.

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Service is one of the aspects that will be of increasing importance in the health care system of the future. Because in­­formed patients will choose where to un­­dergo treatment. And since holistic well-being is more than just advantageous to recovery, a high level of service will tip the balance in favour of one or the other hospital, once the question of medical ex­­pertise has been settled.
In addition, the catchment area of the Isar Medical Centre is expanding, with patients coming from Munich and Ba­­varia, but also from all over Germany and abroad. This makes it necessary to start marketing the medical facilities and give more attention to public interests – only a hospital that provides accurate and trans­­parent information about its range of services, using modern means of communication to contact interested persons, allows patients and doctors to choose that specific hospital.
Health reforms, eco­­nomic demands, in­­terests of doctors and patients as well as an increasing globa­lization – today’s health care system poses a multitude of challenges to the clinics of the fu­­ture. Nevertheless, “The future was better in the past as well” is a motto which the Isar Medical Centre prefers to leave to Karl Valentin, who, by the way, is said to have been born in the historic Bürk­­lein building of the Isar Medical Cen­­tre in 1918.
The Isar Medical Centre is looking forward to the future – it is fully prepared to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

isar-medizin_drmainka_034The author was born in 1969 and as chairman of the board of Isar Kliniken GmbH, is responsible for the management of the Isar Medical Centre. He studied business administration in Munich and after obtaining his PhD, established his own business consulting firm. In addition, Dr. Mainka is a lecturer of business ad­­ministration at the Jena University of Applied Sciences.