Five star treatment and first class care.
OPEN since 2009, the new Docrates Cancer Center in Jätkäsaari strives to ensure the best possible care for patients with cancer. As Siv Schalin, CEO of Docrates, explains in this interview, with access to the best treatments, latest equipment and leading experts in this field all under one roof, the patients of Docrates can experience end to end treatment in safe and assured surroundings.
Q: Tell us about yourself; who are you and how did you end up here?
My education is in business and I’ve worked in healthcare technology for 15 years. I was previously the president of GE Healthcare in Finland and also general manager for patient monitors globally. I started at Docrates as CEO in March. I believe that in general, in Finland we’ve mostly been very product oriented, but more and more I believe we can create competitive advantages in the areas of service. There’s a lot of work to do in this area and I’m inspired about developing the service concept of Docrates. .
Q: In Finland, we have the public sector for free but many people don’t use it because of its perceived lack of quality and speed. Many people choose to use private services. Do you think that time has come that people need to have more choice, or is it that when this hospital started, the founders were thinking more international?
The public sector is such that there is a lot of volume and demand for cancer services which, of course, means there isn’t as much time for each and every patient. This is why Timo Joensuu, one of the founders and our Clinical Director, wanted to create a cancer hospital where the patient actively participates in their care and is given time to understand the different alternatives. He then also saw the chance to use the latest technologies available and that is why we have invested in the state-of-the-art equipment to be able to provide the best possible care for our patients.
We also do quite a lot of clinical studies which allow us to then offer the newest treatment opportunities. For example, in radiotherapy we have deep expertise and the newest methods are standard of care for every one of our patients. In the Nordic countries we are the only cancer hospital on the private side, but we really believe there is room for both the public and private sector and that good co-operation between us is what will benefit the patient the most.
We have around 20 per cent of international patients but the rest are Finns. We have partners in some countries such as Russia, Sweden and Norway, but about half of our international patients find us through the internet. We’ve had patients from all around the world, from 30 different countries, but mostly they are from neighbouring countries or countries where there is a big need for cancer treatment.
Q: So do you co-ordinate your treatments with the public healthcare?
Yes, to some extent, and we’d like to do it more in the future. The demand for cancer treatment is so great that people will wait for a long time, between 1 to 3 months in public healthcare, which is much too long.
Q: I can imagine that when you are diagnosed with cancer it’s really a relief that someone like Docrates can take care of you.
Yes, it’s very, very important. That’s why we have an international client manager who, when the person from abroad is contacting us, can help with all the practical arrangements. Also, our employees speak nine different languages; it’s very important for our patients to be able to discuss such a delicate topic as their cancer care in their mother tongue.
Q: How many patients do you usually have at one time?
Last year we had 15,000 patient visits and we had about just under a thousand patients, so that means that there are a little under a hundred new ones per month. If people are, for example, coming to radiotherapy it takes five to seven weeks so they are here for quite a long time.
Q: How many doctors and nurses do you have?
We have six full-time doctors, and then we have approximately 15 who come here for some hours or days per week who are specialists in different cancers. Altogether we have 40 full time employees. We’ve treated more than 30 different kinds of cancer and that is why we have experts from all the different cancer areas within our staff.
PHOTOS: EMIL CHALHOUB / DOCRATES
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