In the service of health

Germany’s is one of the best health systems in the world. The German healthcare industry enjoys a high level of international recognition. An MP group from Ukraine came to see this for themselves in November 2017. The 18 participants work mainly as doctors in hospitals and medical institutions, and as healthcare sector executives. They wanted to leverage the experience gained in Germany to develop and expand their own health system at home. So they were very interested in how different medical facilities were managed and in learning more about the state and regional framework. The participants not only familiarized themselves with new ideas and methods for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, and innovative personnel concepts and quality standards. Besides, they also were able to make direct contacts with producers and vendors of medical technology and pharmaceutical industry products.

The best opportunity for comparing the world's best providers was the MEDICA 2017 in Düsseldorf. This fair has been the largest event for the medical industry for over 40 years. More than 5,100 exhibitors from 70 nations displayed their products and services in 17 exhibition halls. The two-day visit was a highlight of the program, with the participants making many successful business contacts. Mutual invitations were issued and concrete follow-up meetings planned. The Ukrainian physicians couldn’t help noticing significant price differences for medical devices offered in Germany and in Ukraine. Although they would have preferred to buy directly from the German manufacturers, they were often requested to contact the manufacturers’ branch offices in Kiev. But there, the same equipment would cost more.

During the group visits, MP participants were taken around to medical equipment manufacturers, hospitals and clinics, where they could witness the devices in daily use. The visit to Philips Medical Systems DMC GmbH in Hamburg offered especially valuable insights. The company develops and manufactures x-ray tubes, generators, close-range examination equipment, conventional and digital imaging systems, mammography systems, urological examination equipment, kidney stone and gallstone lithotripsy systems, and a full range of digital imaging equipment. The fact of having a global presence means that a comprehensive sales and service network is needed to ensure that Philips is represented in the many countries around the world and can provide local services. The guests gained impressive insights into global business processes and management of quality and customers. But the benefits went both ways. What German hosts got in return was an up-to-date on the Ukrainian health sector. Stefan Mintert, Senior Portfolio Manager DXR, concluded: "We are always glad to see groups of visitors like these. That's how we get feedback about our local partners’ work in these countries."

Another highlight of the program was the visit to the Medical Department of the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, and the open and results-oriented exchange of experiences they had there. The University Hospital (UKM) is a byword for cutting-edge medicine in the German hospital scene. Deep personal commitment makes for a high standard of medical care. Their International Patient Management (IPM) department guarantees that patients from abroad also benefit from UKM’s broad range of medical services. IPM Head Dr. Vincent Roman Hofbauer answers everyone’s questions about the treatment, and arranging the stay. He emphasized that it is very important to take cultural and religious differences into account when providing personal on-site care. "We have a large number of Russian-speaking patients in our clinic and we’re very interested in making new contacts, especially in Ukraine. Our board is very open on these issues, and we are always glad to welcome these visitors." Addresses were exchanged and mutual visits arranged. Before the participants had even arrived back in Celle, they had already received photos with the message: "Thanks for visiting us!"

By Dr. Ronald Pschierer
Deutsche Manager Akademie Niedersachsen (DMAN), Celle