From the acquisition of the most reputable and the oldest private healthcare institutions in the country to the gradual expansion of its service range, in just eight years, MediGroup has earned the title of the single largest private healthcare system in the country. Today, it is an example of good medical practice, but it is also recognised as a system that has recently achieved significant growth and development
For more about how it was formed, the challenges of corporate business, and its future goals, CORD Magazine talks to Dejan Pešić, CEO of MediGroup and Vice-President of NALED’s Healthcare Alliance.
Did you model MediGroup on an existing healthcare system? What was the original idea in 2013 when you began acquiring the oldest and most reputed private healthcare institutions in the country?
In the first decade of the 21st century, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe gradually started consolidating widely scattered privately owned healthcare institutions.
The markets were extremely fragmented and the only road to efficiency led through consolidation. We noticed these trends and came up with the idea of making MediGroup not just what it is today, but also what it will be in the coming years – at that time our goal was to become the largest private healthcare system and we have succeeded. The integration of institutions with the longest tradition in private healthcare in Serbia with numerous new ones proved to be a success. This strategic goal enabled us to fuse into a highly functional and efficient system comprising hospitals, healthcare centres, laboratories and pharmacies, all under a single brand – MediGroup.
MediGroup is the single largest healthcare system in Serbia and the region. What makes it so big? The fact that it has more than 1,150 permanent staff, over 1,000 consultants, 16 medical centres and state-of-the-art equipment? In your opinion, what sets it apart from others?
All of these figures make us who we are. What sets us apart are the expert medical teams and the most modern equipment, thanks to which we will perform more than 1,000,000 procedures this year.
You recently doubled the number of healthcare institutions and the number of users, compromising neither the quality of services nor the satisfaction of both patients and staff. You have succeeded where many others failed. What is the secret of your success?
Our team consists of carefully selected and highly professional medical and technical staff, with our professional management focused on achieving the strategic goals of MediGroup, which follow the principles and high standards of best international practice. When you have such a team behind you – you can expect even greater success in the future. Our system has a structure composed of extremely high quality professionals. There is a shortage of staff in health management in Serbia, because our country in practice does not have a faculty that deals with this profession and that creates people who are professional enough to do that job. For that reason, it is important to choose the highest quality individuals who are polyvalent in terms of personal education, full of enthusiasm and as such ready to “jump in” to different contexts. Our team is made up of just such people – those who have the ability to quickly master a new context, to go deep into it and eventually pass it on to new people who also think in that way. All this allows us to develop a far-reaching view and strategy for our system where it is clear what our goals are and what exactly we need to do to achieve them.
MediGroup continuously invests in system development, modern spaces and equipment, staff education, creating the highest level of patient service. Our team consists of carefully selected and highly professional medical and technical staff, as well as professional management focused on achieving the MG strategic goals that follow the principles and high standards of best international practice.
As the vice-president of NALED’s Healthcare Alliance, what are its reform priorities?
First of all, it is my great honour and pleasure to to have the opportunity to contribute to reforms by investing my knowledge and experience. In the coming period, the reform priorities of NALED’s Healthcare Alliance are the development of e-Healthcare and the establishment of a permanent dialogue mechanism between the public and the private sector in this area and finally, the integration of the public and private healthcare sectors.
These priorities have been set to make healthcare services more readily available, but also to improve the quality of healthcare services through technology and the unification of the systems.
What is the current status of the planned digitalisation of healthcare services through improved electronic scheduling of appointments, introduction of electronic health records and electronic sick leave notices?
There is a great determination and readiness on the part of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, which has allocated resources for the digitalization of health services to really happen. We are actively working on developing the action plan for digitalization in health care and establishing a single electronic health card.
In your opinion, is full integration of the private sector into the healthcare system possible in the next five or six years? What do you think, could it be the solution to many problems?
Gradual, planned, strategic integration is something that can certainly be the solution. Private healthcare capacities are underused, and putting them to use would ensure more patients receive the medical treatments they need without having to wait. For example: MR, CT, implantation of knee and hip endoprosthesis, coronary angiography, are just some of the procedures in which the private health sector has the capacity to engage without delay.
MediGroup is one of only eight companies over the last 25 years to win the title Champion of Excellence in as much as five categories. What is your perspective on the accolades and prizes won for business excellence and quality services – have they become a norm for you?
The prizes are always a kind of a challenge – besides being a pleasure, they carry a certain responsibility, which is precisely how I see all the recognitions won so far. Naturally, Champion of Excellence is special and very valuable to us because of the fact that it is awarded by a respectable institution – the Serbian Chamber of Commerce. Preparation for participation in the prize competition demanded full commitment of the entire team in the MediGroup system – all departments took part and with joint forces we succeeded in meeting all the requirements to be short-listed. Though I cherish and value every award, this one is special as we believe it to be a reward for each and every one of us.