In the heart of Zurich there is a classical building that might be called a temple to medical science: University Hospital Zurich is one of the largest and most famous medical institutions in Switzerland and the alma mater of many outstanding doctors. The hospital comprises 43 departments and institutes. In its scientific laboratories, discoveries are made that help medical centers and clinics to conduct unique operations that save lives.
University Hospital Zurich is visited by patients from all over the world. To ensure personalized guidance throughout their treatment and stay in the hospital the International Office team takes care of the appointment coordination for the preferred dates and assists patients before, during and after their visit. For about a year, this department is headed by Professor Michael Fried.
– Professor Fried, how long does it usually take between first request of the patient and his arrival at the University Hospital?
– We try to organize the patient’s visit in the shortest possible time. Usually we manage this within a week. However, some cases require an interdisciplinary approach integrating the knowledge, skills and experience of different departments to maximize results. The International Office will coordinate an appointment with a team of experts in different fields and provide the patient with a diagnostic and/or a treatment plan.
– If there are so many guests, how long do they have to wait for the first consultation with the doctor?
– Sometimes, the next day after the request, we are ready to invite the patient to the doctor’s consultation. We pay a lot of attention to our guests and apply a highly individual approach. As soon as the guest comes to us, my team takes care of organizing his stay at the Zurich University Hospital. In addition, while patients notify us in advance about the nature of their problems by writing through the website or sending the results of the medical tests, we begin to elaborate
a treatment plan before their arrival.
Some patients are referred to us by medical agencies. Most of them are professional teams that have worked closely with us for a long time.
– Do you accept the results of the tests that the patient brings with him or does he need to undergo new examinations?
– Our doctors carefully study all analyses and documents provided, yet sometimes these are not enough or for example, the laboratory results are not valid or the quality of the images is unsatisfactory, then we do recommend to renew these exams and perhaps to perform additional examinations.
– In Switzerland, there is a large selection of very good clinics. What is the advantage of the Zurich University Hospital?
The University Hospital Zurich is one of the largest and most respected hospitals in Europe. We provide the whole range of leading-edge medical services and treatments. Our hospital is strongly connected with research which acts as a bridge between science and clinical application. This comprehensive approach
involves the application of the newest scientific findings in creative, fast, safe and above all useful ways for diagnosis and therapy.
– Naturally, your technical equipment is also up to the correct standard?
Our technological and laboratory infrastructure represents the most advanced level of sophistication and is supported by a dedicated and knowledgeable staff.
For instance, we offer our patients the MRIdian radiotherapy system that presents the next big advance in radiation oncology. But this is only one of many examples of the most advanced technolologies which are available in the University Hospital Zurich A year ago in the University Hospital you obtained an ultramodern device for mammography…
Thanks to the latest technological developments, we can offer our patients the examinations with the minimum amount of radiation necessary to obtain the needed results. Technologies to minimize radiation where developed and implemented in different areas in our hospital.
– Do you accept emergency cases involving foreign citizens?
– Yes, moreover, we can organize a transfer for the patient directly from Zurich airport if necessary. However, most of our guests arrive for a course of preplanned diagnostic workup or treatment.
– Foreign patients have different mentalities, and each needs an approach consistent with the cultural norms of his homeland. How do you handle this?
– The team of the international department has a vast experience in dealing with foreign guests. In our team there are members of staff that speak Russian, Arabic and many other languages.
We have representatives from different cultures, so we can find the right approach for anyone. We always strive to make the stay comfortable. For example, we can offer different foods, such as halal, kosher, vegetarian or vegan and try to pay due attention to all the wishes of our patients.
– People come to you with different financial resources. How is this factor taken into account when you place them?
– Among our patients there are both very wealthy people and people on modest incomes. All our patients are treated at an equally high medical level, regardless of their social and financial status. We usually give recommendations on nearby hotels in accordance with the patient’s financial possibilities.
– Today, independent consultations carried out by experts are much in demand. Is it possible to do them remotely, or should the patient come in person?
We offer an access the expertise of our top physician specialists from anywhere in the world. We are planning to launch a new tool through which you can talk to
a specialist via the Internet if the patient has the entire package of documents already translated into English. You need to upload documents to the site – X-rays,
discharges, and the results of laboratory research. In response, the patient will receive the results of the examination from the doctor. The patient can also pay
for the service remotely.
– Does the clinic offer disease prevention courses?
We give special attention to preventive medicine at the University Hospital Zurich. As you know, timely diagnosis and prevention can decrease the risk of developing serious diseases, and today we have many opportunities in this regard – mammography, ultrasound, colonoscopy and other procedures have become commonplace for many patients.
– What other functions does the international bureau perform?
– In addition to directly organizing surveys and treatment, our specialists are responsible for all administrative activities related to this. We also offer the possibility of support for foreign delegations, visiting our hospital. In addition we are responsible for a VIP service within our hospital.
– You are a well-known gastro-enterology specialist, and now you are also involved in the international department of the hospital. How do you relax? Do you have any hobbies?
– Spending my leisure time actively is the best thing for me. I like riding my mountain bike in the summer and in winter I like to ski including skiing tours in remote areas.
I enjoy working in my suburban garden and creating new garden arrangements. In addition to this, I play the violin in an orchestra. I am interested in arts, in
particular contemporary art. Furthermore I love tot travel, and all this gives me pleasure and strength for my work.
Professor, Head of the International Office of the University Hospital Zurich. He received his medical education at the Free University of Berlin and the Technical
University of Munich where he received the MD degree in 1978. In 1987 he received his habilitation in Gastroenterology at the University of Basel. Since 1994 until 2017, he acted as a Full Professor and Director of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Zurich University Hospital. From 1998 to 2000 he was the President of the Swiss Society of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. In 2017 he became Head of the International Office of the Zurich University Hospital.