Private Hospitals in Austria
More and more patients are being treated in one of the oldest private hospitals in Austria - Wiener Privatklinik is looking for medical staff and partners from the region
Treatment abroad is a necessity and a need for citizens of many countries in Europe and beyond. Waiting lists, the unavailability of medicines, and even modern medical treatments themselves, are just some of the reasons why patients from Serbia are increasingly choosing to seek medical care "over there". When it comes to choosing a medical institution, ours, as well as the citizens of the entire region, increasingly place their trust in one of the most influential private clinics in Austria - Wiener Privatklinik (WPK).
And what is it that makes patients decide to be treated in this hospital? First of all, it is a good team of doctors, says the general director of the clinic, prim. Dr. Walter Ebm (Walter Ebm).
- Having a good clinic means having the right people in your team. We are proud to have the best doctors in Austria, and some of them are the best in their fields in the whole world. This is proven by numerous recognitions and certificates from various international organizations - says Ebm.
On the other hand, he states, the quality of care you provide to your patients is also important.
- And we do it really well in this clinic. The proof is also the fact that for the second year in a row we were chosen as one of the best hospitals in the world - he adds.
Another reason why people choose WPK is that this hospital provides a whole package of services to its patients. Not just one doctor works on their case, but a whole team of experts, and there are different types of support, depending on the needs of each patient.
The medical services provided by Wiener Privatklinik are grouped around 15 centers, with the oncology center of this hospital - WPK Cancer European Academy Cancer Center, the most complex and reputable private center for cancer diagnosis and treatment in Central and Eastern Europe. The hospital employs 350 workers and cooperates with more than 400 doctors who are experts in various fields.
As many as nine doctors of this hospital were included by Stanford in the 10% of the world's best scientists. Among them are the world-renowned oncology doctor Christoph Zielinski, as well as Walter Klepetko, an expert in lung transplantation, who is known in our country for leading a team of doctors who performed the first lung transplant in 2012. at the expense of our Republic Health Insurance Fund.
During the last year, more than 12,000 patients were treated in this hospital, of which about 30% were international, from more than 20 countries. According to WPK, patients from Eastern and Central Europe are leading the way. If we talk about patients from abroad, the hospital has an average of about 5,000 admissions, and the main markets are Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and now Serbia.
- When it comes to patients from Serbia, we are recording organic growth, so last year alone we had close to 100 admissions. Given that 2021 was also a covid year, that's a really significant number. It is important to note that these are patients who came to our clinic solely on the basis of the recommendation of other patients, and the reputation of the hospital and our doctors - Ema Hafner, director of marketing and department for international patients at WPK, told eKapija.
According to her, the most common medical services for which patients from abroad, as well as Serbia, come to Wiener privatklinik are oncology services - surgery, immunotherapy and chemotherapy, genetic tests or prevention. Then there is reconstructive surgery, thoracic surgery, cardiology, traumatology, peripheral nerve surgery... Also, patients often come for second opinion services in order to establish an accurate and correct diagnosis.
If patients from Serbia or the region want to be treated at WPK, the procedure is very simple. This clinic has a special team of people who are at the service of patients from abroad
- First of all, they need to contact our marketing department, where we have a special email address for patients from abroad. They then get a person in charge of their case, to whom they present their health problem. The next step is communication with the doctor who takes over the patient and forms a team in charge of the specific case. Before coming to the clinic, online consultations with our doctors are also possible, thanks to the online health center - says Hafner.
Wiener Privatklinik is proud to have employees from a large number of countries. All doctors, as well as a good part of the other medical staff, speak English, and often some other foreign language. Therefore, communication with patients is not a problem and there is no language barrier, because they can speak with the staff in their native language. For example, three nurses from Serbia work at the clinic, who are at the service of patients from our country, as well as from other countries in the region.
This clinic also says that they are always open to hiring staff from Serbia.
- Like other hospitals in Europe, WPK is also facing a shortage of medical staff. It is becoming an increasing problem and we are always open and invite nurses from Serbia to apply for a job at our clinic - Hafner tells us.
According to him, the biggest challenge for hiring nurses from abroad is knowledge of the German language.
- Austria is very restrictive and requires a certain level of language knowledge, and this is where it differs from other EU countries. As for the experience and prior knowledge of the nurses, this is not a problem because, when we talk about staff from Southeast Europe, it is at a very good level, and training is also available within the hospital itself. The main barrier, or the biggest challenge, is language - says our interlocutor.
After treatment, patients from abroad at WPK also undergo check-ups, and online consultations are also possible through the WPK Online Healthcare Center.
- If patients from abroad have an operation in our hospital, they also have a control examination afterwards, depending on the doctor's assessment. If we are talking about patients who need further care, we organize it in two ways. Namely, in the event that our doctors in a certain country, specifically in Serbia, have doctors with whom they have collaborated and in whom they have confidence, they recommend further care to patients with those doctors. If this is not the case, our doctors provide clear medical documentation, which will guide the doctors to the patient's case and condition, as well as further recommendations. There are also consultations through our Online Healthcare Center, which we launched during the pandemic and which turned out to be a complete hit - says Hafner.
Considering the significant number of patients from abroad, WPK is one of the largest hospitals in Austria that develops medical tourism. As they said, they have two international offices in Romania, and they have developed a network of 150 travel agencies with which they cooperate. Now they are looking for partners in Serbia, but also in other countries of the region.
- Currently we are not cooperating with any agency from Serbia, but we are interested in finding potential partners. These can be clinics or travel agencies dealing with medical tourism. They know the local market, and we have a hospital and top doctors, so we are always open to cooperation - says Ema Hafner for eKapija.
Wiener Privatklinik is also specific in that it has an Aeromedical center, which offers comprehensive medical certificates and certificates, and where pilots from all over the world have the opportunity to have all aeromedical examinations done at the same location. As Walter Ebn, who is a pilot himself, and the initiator of the idea for the hospital to start this department, said, the center's services are often used by pilots from Serbia.
WPK has seven wards with a total of 145 beds. The hospital has three buildings that are connected, and soon they plan to expand their capacities.
- We recently completed the acquisition of a facility located next to our already existing clinics. It is a very important project for us, and close to EUR 50 million will be invested in the renovation and decoration of the building. We hope that in three years we will have a fully functional new facility, thanks to which we will significantly increase the already existing capacities of the clinic - says Hafner.
When asked if they plan to open another clinic in Austria or another European country, the director of the clinic, Walter Ebm, answers that this type of expansion is not part of their strategy.
- Our strategy is not to have more clinics, but to provide patients with the best possible care in the hospital we already have in Vienna. Our goal is to provide them with the best services, therapies and doctors, as well as to have equal access to each case and patient. And that is not feasible in several different locations. It is simpler and more efficient to bring the patients to Vienna, than to send the doctor to the patients in several locations - he says.
A tradition of 150 years
Wiener Privatklinik is one of the oldest private hospitals and has a tradition of 150 years. As director Walter Ebm told journalists during a tour of the clinic in Vienna, during all that time the clinic had numerous ups and downs, and it was also closed during the Second World War. He has been at the head of the hospital since 1995, and upon taking office he gathered around him a team of doctors and experts who worked hard to make the hospital what it is today.
- Now we are very satisfied with what we have achieved, but we always want more, we want to continue to grow and progress, to be the best. That's always been our focus and I think we've all done a very good job together. The key to success lies in people and I think it is very important to have a good team and be surrounded by professionals - said Ebm.