Medicover is leading the charge when it comes to the advancement of healthcare in Romania, its progressive emphasis on technologies and talent helping to make an integral impact
Writer: Jonathan Dyble | Project Manager: Vivek Valmiki
“Healthcare in our country is slowly but surely following the international trend of digitalisation.
“10 years ago, very few patients searched online for a refferal or a prescription and even fewer scheduled their medical appointments online. The most important medical decisions were made based on word of mouth or doctor recommendations.
“Now, patients have all the information at their fingertips. People are permanently connected, using technology, the internet and digital apps to make their lives easier, and we must adapt to these needs and fulfill expectations. Ultimately, technology can help us to live healthier and longer.”
For Radu Gorduza, Romania’s healthcare industry is headed in an exciting albeit challenging direction.
A growing emphasis on ever-evolving technologies has drastically improved access to healthcare and medical information, Romanians now living almost a decade longer on average than they were in 2000.
Indeed, Medicover Romania, headed up by Gorduza as its General Manager, is one entity that has been critical in enabling these signficant strides.
Operating 36 private health clinics and three general hospitals – one in Bucharest and two within Romania – it forms a core part of a major international health services provider, investing in people, equipment and technology with the objective of improving Romanians’ quality of life.
“What do we do differently? We listen to the patient’s needs and understand them, respecting their dignity,” Gorduza explains.
“Our doctors treat patients with empathy, and we focus on correct diagnostics. Our practitioners are not burdened by commercial targets, meaning patients receive the exact services that they need.”
Tapping into technology
So, how is Medicover Romania excelling in the digital space?
The answer to this is multi-faceted, the GM first pointing to two recently launched services in the form of e-Reception and Medicover Express.
The former, launched last year, is a self check-in, check-out service allowing patients to authenticate themselves in a mere fraction of the time while avoiding crowded receptions and reducing waiting times.
And the latter is a service also built to simplify access to medical services, working with a pre-programmed call centre appointment platform to give patients access to a range of medical services within 24 hours of booking.
“Medicover Express is an ideal solution for patients who want quick consultations for mild conditions such as respiratory viruses or advice on acute conditions with minor complications such as lower urinary tract infections, chronic diseases such as high blood pressure or diabetes, prolonging prescriptions for corneal diseases, interpreting analyses or obtaining health certificates,” Gorduza explains.
“By digitally completing basic data regarding medical history and symptomatology, the patient automatically transmits information to the doctor, benefiting from a faster diagnosis and treatment.”
Another important investment the company has completed of late is the development of its SAM robot.
Capable of automatically managing the medical group’s contracts and benefits, it can register new subscribers, change existing benefits in a subscription plan, add dependents or conclude contracts.
“This is part of our customer experience strategy, as the automation will reduce the processing time while registering zero errors,” states Gorduza, before pointing to the company’s active presence in supporting and sponsoring Romania’s technology startupecosystem.
“We work with Innovation Labs – the pre-accelerator programme for technical startups that organises hackathons and mentoring initiatives for young people passionate about technology and digital innovation.
“This includes proudly supporting the vertical health and lifestyle segment, where young enthusiasts explore ideas with the potential of helping to streamline and optimise processes in the medical industry.”
Bettering healthcare in Bucharest
Beyond technologies, the company is also ramping up investments in other areas, expanding its footprint and improving its offering when it comes to treatment.
Last year, Medicover’s The Bridge Clinic, a multidisciplinary state-of-the-art facility with a high capacity for accommodation and improved patient flows, and its Endometriosis Centre found within Medicover Hospital were both opened in Bucharest.
“The Endometriosis Centre comprises a team of specialists in obstetrics and gynaecology, laparoscopic surgery, imaging, pathological anatomy, gastroenterology, and urology,” the GM states, speaking of the latter.
“Endometriosis is an increasingly common condition among women that can create anatomical changes that affect fertility, but diagnosis and treatment is difficult. Overcoming this requires close collaboration between physicians with different specialisations, and our multidisciplinary centre will further our abilities in both diagnosis and treatment.”
Beyond the aforementioned, Medicover Romania has also developed a €200,000 state-of-the-art Laser Centre, used to treat several types of dermatological, non-invasive, painless and recovering treatments, and established The Centre of Diagnosis and Treatment of Incipient Pregnancy – both similarly impactful institutions in their own right.
Indeed, these progressive steps have been crucial in enabling the organisation to continually grow both in stature and expertise.
Yet it doesn’t take sole credit, Gorduza pointing to the role of its supportive suppliers and partners. He affirms: “Considering the nature of the business we are a part of, its dynamics and the patches that cross the threshold of clinics and hospitals, the partners we work with play an important role in our continuous development.
“Given the crisis at the moment in the medical market, due to the pandemic created by COVID-19, we’re grateful for the providers we work and the way in which they are helping us with all the resources they have.”
Powered by people and purpose
Medicover’s own people are deemed similarly crucial to the success of its overall operation.
Owing to this recognition, the company runs a leadership and cultural transformation programme to help its staff learn and grow via tailored training and development solutions in areas such as people management, business management and customer experience.
“We do believe that as human beings we are built with inner motivation,” Gorduza states. “Therefore, we actively ensure Medicover is a space for people to activate and fuel their discretionary efforts, providing a sense of purpose to their working lives.”
Doctors are provided with accredited courses through which they can heighten their professional excellence. Nurses, meanwhile, are provided with an in-house long-term training programme with relevant curricula and continuously adopted content for its School of Nurses.
This culture of empowerment also extends to external parties, owing to a plethora of corporate social responsibility initiatives undertaken by Medicover Romania.
“The Medicover Association is dedicated to supporting underprivileged children that need our help,” affirms the GM. “Activities consist of volunteering events through which Medicover and Synevo (our diagnostics services business line) employees are involved, as well as the InCerc Program for the prevention of type 2 diabetes and civilisation diseases in Ploiesti and Cluj-Napoca.
The company also participates in the 24-hour Black Sea Autism run, helping to raise funds for the development of a therapeutic beach to help children with autism and persons with disabilities in Romania.
“This is a unique initiative in Eastern Europe,” Gorduza comments. “The latest competition gathered over 1,200 participants in 60 teams, and the total distance travelled in 24 hours exceeded 45,000 kilometres.”
For the General Manager, broadening the impact of Medicover across Romania, both via its offering and CSR activities, will garner a vast amount of the organisation’s attention for the coming years.
Likewise, it will further look to remain agile in face the technological progress, integrating new techniques and capabilities wherever possible as part of an emphasis on continual improvement and digital transformation, building upon recent successes in the process.
“For Medicover, 2020 is a year of change,” Gorduza affirms.
“We must consolidate our acquisitions from the past two years and adapt to new conditions in what is an increasingly competitive market. With growing populations, rising life expectancies and greater patient demands, the pressures on healthcare are heightening by the day.”
That said, the GM is still able to express his optimism for the future. Huge progress has been made in Romanian healthcare since the turn of the millennium, and there’s little to suggest that this trajectory will falter moving forward.
“I am positive about access to public and private healthcare,” Gorduza states. “Statistics from the last 15 years show us that more and more people are using our services, and we do not have any reason to think that will change.”