The whole world knows that Switzerland boasts a great number of medical clinics, and that Swiss doctors are one of the best. As an experienced person, I am interested not only in the treatment that a clinic has to offer but also in the way that it is offered. I pay utmost attention to communication with non-medical services.
It is of great importance for me to know how comfortable I will feel when discussing my future treatment and staying at the hospital. Everyone will agree that even a short trip to a foreign country, particularly for medical purposes, should be comfortable at all stages, from the very beginning to a successful end.
Basel is a very fast-paced and beautiful city, located on the border crossing between Switzerland, Germany and France. A unique combination of minimalist historical buildings and modern constructions creates a certain effect that you may not realize at first, but will certainly remember for a long time afterwards. It seems as though you are in the present day and yet in the past simultaneously. The fast-moving Rhine divides the city into two parts, which is one of the reasons why the citizens of Basel consider themselves different from the rest of the Swiss. There is no other city in their small country that has three railway stations. Basel has ancient and strong links to its neighbors, which is the reason for its openness that is also characteristic of the Basel University Hospital, one of the leading Swiss university medical centers. Its impeccable international reputation attracts patients from the whole country and from all over the world. Basel University, where the hospital is based, was founded in 1460 and is the oldest in the county.
FROM A UNIVERSITY LEVEL
The university standard guarantees quality. Every year, around 25,000 patients undergo treatment at the University Hospital, Basel (USB), over 125,000 receive outpatient care, and over 2,300 babies are born. The hospital staff consists of 700 doctors, 1,500 nurses and many other specialists from different areas. The hospital benefits from the proximity of the Basel Research Center, which is a world leader in chemistry and pharmacology. Due to the constant exchanges of experience, knowledge transfer and intensive collaboration between science and practical medicine, the hospital patients have considerable advantages, from the use of cutting-edge diagnostics and therapy methods to the experience of highly-qualified specialists and the best quality of implants.
SPECIALIZED SERVICE FOR FOREIGN PATIENTS
Aside from the exceptional quality of its medical specialists, University Hospital, Basel boasts an International Service. The task of the service is to stay in touch with the patients who leave Switzerland or Europe. Although similar services exist in other places as well, USB has something different to offer. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that the service takes care of the patients and their relatives for the entire time that a person is attended to by local doctors. The service covers all things that a person must do before, during and even after their therapy, including answers to responses about medical services and doctors, organizing consultations with USB specialists, or the questions about staying at the hospital. They also make appointments, oversee the patients and coordinate all medical procedures with the hospital and its partners (such as Basel University Children’s Hospital, different clinics, universities, etc). Moreover, the service puts the relatives or friends of the patients up in partner hotels. This is all very convenient for patients themselves and for those in charge of their treatment. They do not have to worry about how to make an appointment with a specialist or how to schedule their time so that they can finish one procedure and go into another… The only thing you care about is your own health.
You can contact the service personally or through your medical agent if you are unable to do it yourself for some reason (such as confidentiality).
Staying in a hospital or in a foreign country generally means physical and mental stress. Foreign patients usually experience additional pressure, which is why it is so important to find the right doctor for your treatment. For every patient to experience the individual approach, the International Service at the University Hospital offers a special feature, a Personal Service Manager. Based on the initial medical conclusion, information about the patient available in the hospital, as well as the patient’s requirements and wishes, a personal assistant determines which doctor the patient would feel the most comfortable with, whom he will be able to communicate with and to trust during their treatment period. The best results are obtained only when a patient and a doctor are partners, and the specialists of the hospital emphasize this even at the earliest stages of discussion.
«We believe, and our extensive experience in organizing treatment for foreign patients proves, that individual approach and the assistance of a personal manager are the very things that secure the patient’s comfort while staying with is. USB has a complicated structure, and sometimes it is difficult to understand how it functions, especially if you don’t speak a foreign language. A personal assistant who realizes how the hospital works, helps the patient understand it, and also facilitates communication between a patient and the doctors, is a must», – says Simone Ruedlin, head of the International Service.
INITIAL STUDIES AND CALCuLATIONS
During the process of considering my treatment plan, it was particularly interesting that there was no standard initial check-up. The doctors here believe that it is useless in 80% of cases and the patient just undergoes various redundant tests and pays extra money. USB specialists believe in conducting only the research which is absolutely necessary. I was pleased to see that the hospital actually cared about their future patients’ financial state. This is a professional approach by the people who understand the role of precise calculations in modern medical treatment; the calculations both of time and money. A patient receives a detailed treatment offer that outlines the schedule and the cost of their stay in the hospital; what exactly is going to happen, and how much money is required for it. People can make a deposit before treatment begins, and then after the procedures end their cost will be re-calculated, taking all services into account. The form of payment is standard; a detailed calculation of the sum once the treatment is over.
More importantly, you can come to USB with the results of your initial check-ups and tests (for example, biochemical blood tests, MRI scan) or even send them in in advance. If they comply with hospital standards, they will be taken into consideration during the diagnostic procedures. The hospital specialists trust their foreign colleagues, but in case of even the slightest shadow of doubt, they will insist on additional testing.
COMFORT IS IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE
All hospital staff speaks English and German, so I have not experienced any communication problems. If a patient can only speak their mother tongue, employees from the interpreters’ service accompany them everywhere. They help a patient to describe their symptoms to the doctor, communicate their wishes, understand the doctors’ explanations of treatment, procedures, and any feelings a patient may experience during certain stages of therapy. The interpreters are also prepared to help the patients’ relatives in different everyday situations, such as shopping or travel.
The patients’ comfort depends on the presence of a relative or a friend nearby. Therefore, the hospital offers family members a free stay in a patient’s room (upon a patient’s consent). I believe this is a very compassionate and humanistic approach to treatment. The International Service can also assist the relatives of foreign patients in obtaining visas in case they need them, or would just like to be near a patient during the course of treatment.
Patients from different countries also differ in their wants and needs. That is why communication is based on the day-to-day realities that are customary for a patient, and national and cultural characteristics, tastes and traditions are taken into consideration to the greatest possible extent.
ALWAYS IN TOUCH
For me, the greatest advantage of the hospital was the fact that I could consult my personal doctor and other specialists at any time once my treatment was over. The doctors in the hospital remember every patient, and if they were to require any additional tests or treatment, then the doctors would give them their full attention and suggest steps and procedures for the patient to stay healthy.