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The Warsaw Voice » Business » July 2, 2010
Business & Economy
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Medicover: Hospital of Choice for Foreigners
July 2, 2010   
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Interview with Loic Fretard, director of the Medicover hospital in Wilanów, Warsaw.

Medicover has opened the first private hospital in Poland which offers a full range of medical care of the highest standard. Your patients are mostly Polish but some are foreigners based in Poland, who live here with their families. How is your hospital prepared for this group of patients?
For foreigners living in Poland, we offer hospital medical care at the same level they can have in their home country, in Western Europe for instance: a high standard of medical care, fully equipped departments, a peaceful atmosphere, comfortable hospital rooms, and the full attention of our staff. We built our hospital with the highest standards in mind – we focused both on modern technology (note our MRI, CT 128) and on comfort in our facility. We have also paid attention to recruitment procedures so that we have professional medical staff with a high level of expertise and the ability to communicate in English with our foreign patients. Moreover, some of them used to work previously in Britain, the Netherlands, France, Sweden—they have brought their expertise to us.

What differentiates your hospital from public hospitals in terms of services?
Many foreigners used to be patients of private healthcare institutions in their home country. Now, when they are here, they expect the equivalent, they expect to be treated as an individual patient. They want to feel they are cared for by their personal physicians. This approach allows us to meet foreigners’ expectations.

What is Medicover’s experience in treating foreigners and how is this visible in your hospital?
Over 15 years we have gained indispensable experience in treating expats—including in Poland with our network of outpatient clinics. We implement this experience at our hospital in various ways. We meet the expectations of patients and their relatives. We have provided internal signs in both Polish and English. Our website is in English and Polish of course.

What health services do foreigners need most?
Paediatric care, women’s health, cardiology and all diagnostic services as a prevention measure and regular health checks. The most popular service used by foreigners is our Obstetric and Gynecology Department. Obviously, it includes delivery at our neonatology unit 24/7. There are a number of foreign female patients who chose our hospital to give birth. I would also mention our Total Health Screening Program here.

We take care of foreigners at all our clinics, and we treat them at our hospital outpatient center, where we provide numerous types of surgery (vascular, orthopedic, laryngological and so on.) We may also use our Intensive Care Unit for adults and newborns in the most acute medical cases.

What do patients who decide on private hospital care pay attention to most?
The level of medical care, equipment, hygiene and services. Our patients want to be reassured that the members of the team who will care for them are experienced, and use modern equipment; diagnostics, a modern operating theater, ICU & NICU seem to be a must for all of them. Foreigners also mention the ability to communicate—an actual opportunity to interact with the team. So if you consider our competitive advantage in these both areas plus our international standards, the Medicover facility becomes a hospital of choice for foreigners.

Apart from foreigners living in Poland, foreigners who decide to come to Poland for hospital treatment are one of the largest groups of potential patients. Is medical tourism an interesting market for you?
This market is very demanding. As we have experience in providing services for foreigners living in Poland, and as we are leveraging our international background and our presence in Europe as a healthcare provider, our hospital has an opportunity to be an attractive healthcare center for foreigners.

In fact, we have already had such patients coming to us from Sweden, Belgium and Britain. Our Total Health Screening Program has drawn considerable interest since the day it was launched. We have also noticed the demand for orthopedic healthcare services in this market. Foreigners who traveled to our hospital have found that we offer a combination of a good level of medical care and customer service with attractive prices.

What type of patients use your hospital services?
The Medicover Hospital is open to everyone. We serve both Polish patients and expats who are based in Warsaw, and foreigners who come from abroad. Many of our hospitalized patients pay on a fee-for-service basis. But we also deal with international insurance companies who contact us as they want to cover both their clients who live in Poland and also their clients in countries close to Poland. And last but not least, we provide services for our Medicover clients with a Medicover card and covered by our own insurance.
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