Dr. Urs Karli: Top medical performance in a personal atmosphere

Despite our outstanding position as the largest hospital in the canton, we must move forward. For, who pauses today will be overtaken tomorrow. I stress this point at every opportunity. The cantonal hospital is the heart of the Aargau healthcare network. A staff of 3,300, all highly trained specialists in the various medical disciplines, nursing, technology and administration, are there round the clock to take care of half a million people.


In view of the impending changes on the Swiss healthcare market, the hospital has developed a new strategy. Positioning plays the key role in it. On the market, the large university hospitals typically appear as providers of highly specialized medicine. However, the subjective well-being of the patients tends to get lost in such big and rather anonymous healthcare facilities. In contrast, the small regional hospitals can boast better patient satisfaction thanks to the familiar atmosphere imparted by their manageability. However, they cannot be expected to deliver complex medical treatments of high quality in a variety of medical specialities. Precisely therein lies the opportunity of the cantonal hospital of Aarau (KSA). It can claim both benefits: superior medical performance combined with personalized care. In association with partners, the KSA is to become a leading provider of system medicine in Switzerland. The vision is “Top medical care – personalized.” In addition, the quality of the medical services must always remain affordable.


Specialization and interdisciplinarity
For 125 years, the KSA has been one of the leading healthcare centres in Switzerland.
Over the course of medical progress and the continuous introduction of new treatment methods, over 30 specialized treatment units have emerged. From advanced ophthalmology and surgical disciplines to internal medicine, a large spectrum of services supported by trendsetting medical technology is being offered. Many of the patients’ symptoms are multi-layered and complex. Likewise, they are increasingly no longer closely following the growing boundaries of medical specializations derived from scientific research. This requires an increased level of interdisciplinarity.

Innovative projects
Clear ethical, medical and social standards in the treatment of patients are also a given. In this field, the hospital distinguishes itself through groundbreaking initiatives. With the “Optima” project, the care division of the KSA is cooperating with the canton in setting up admission criteria for the urgent care hospital. Thanks to clearly defined criteria, risk-adapted decisions are to be made about the duration of hospitalization and the required treatment intensity. In order to shorten the waiting periods for elective surgery, operations on qualified patients will already be carried out on the day of admission as of 2010. With the new healthcare centre near the station, which will open in 2011, we will be in even faster and easier reach of our patients.


State-of-the-art technology
In order to offer top medicine, one must also keep pace with medical technology. For state-of-the-art treatments, the KSA has managed to acquire important new equipment or to upgrade older devices with additional options.

In the field of nuclear medicine, for example, the positron emission tomograph (PET) has been replaced with a PET/CT system.

That combines the high spatial resolution and detailed anatomical imaging of a computer tomograph (CT scanner) with the highly sensitive metabolic information of the PET. Moreover, since the CT scan is much faster, the processing time is significantly reduced – by up to 40 per cent. On the one hand, this raises the quality of the diagnostics, and on the other hand, it improves the performance. With its new hybrid operating theatre, the KSA is able to further raise the quality of cerebrovascular surgery in the case of brain haemorrhage or stroke. With the help of imaging procedures, the new operating theatre makes it possible to view and evaluate the nervous system during surgical treatment of blood vessels


University-level patient-oriented research
The clinical research at the KSA is treatment- and patient-oriented. The internal medicine clinic has recently become a university clinic of the medical faculty of Basel. The research results lead to evidence-based actions following clear guidelines, a high service quality, and innovative treatment possibilities. One of the results of the pursuit of quality, innovation and patient safety, for example, is the application of PCT blood tests. By using the biomarker Procalcitonin (PCT) as an indicator, bacterial infections can be recognized early on and differentiated from the more frequent viral infections. In the case of respiratory infections, this allows for targeted antibiotic therapies and the reduction of antibiotic prescrip­tions by 75 per cent in mild cases and by 50 per cent in severe cases. (Reminder: antibiotics are ineffective against viruses.) The KSA is assuming a worldwide leading position in this field. The procedure already has many copycats. At the root of this success lies a motivated and well-trained staff. Without their relentless devotion to patients, top medicine in a personal atmosphere would be impossible.

Karli_09After obtaining a doctorate at the biocentre of the university of Basel in 1990, Dr. Urs Karli (born in 1960) assumed executive positions in various pharmaceutical companies for 17 years, and, since 2002, has been a member of the executive board of the Business Unit Hospital of GlaxoSmithKline AG (GSK). Since 2007, he has been CEO of KSA AG. He is deemed to be an expert on Swiss healthcare.