Interview with Marketa Billova for Finmag magazine

Article

16. 07. 2020

We are pleased to bring you the interview published in Finmag magazine, where Markéta Billová answers questions about Canadian Medical.

THERE IS ONLY ONE TYPE OF MEDICAL CARE. HOWEVER, THE „PREMIUM“ ASPECT CARE SAVES YOU TIME AND WORRY.

„If the Czech healthcare system is to maintain a high standard of care, they need to start encouraging more patient participation,” says Markéta Billová, Chief Executive Office at Canadian Medical.

Canadian Medical’s clinics have been at the top of the pyramid for premium medical care in the Czech Republic since the 1990s. In its infancy, the clientele focus was solely expats, but over the years they have expanded to the local market as well.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it many unexpected challenges in the last three months. “Interest in our services has grown significantly, and it’s been really great to see how everyone really stuck together through these tough times. The last time I experienced something similar to this was during the revolution,” says Markéta Billová with a smile.

 

So, what should we imagine when we hear the words “premium medical care”?

Medical care is just medical care. It is clearly cut out by the legislation and it’s at an extremely good standard in the Czech Republic. It’s not that they will automatically treat you better there and worse elsewhere. Our premium care lies in the overall organisation of our patient care- through the availability of our doctors and the time they can spend with you, to the number of specialisation available to you in one location, or the ease of accessing follow up care, if necessary. At the same time, the idea that this premium care is only available to a select group of people is nonsense. We accommodate to anyone and everyone who wants to leave their doctors appointment on time and with a smile on their face.

How many clients do you have ?

At the current time, we have twenty-seven thousand clients who are enrolled in one of our three membership programs and including one specialised programme for mothers-to-be. We also take care the health of the employees of almost 900 companies as part of an occupational health service.

What’s the most common reasons for patients coming to you?

Mostly it’s to have access to care that’s well organised and time saving. I’ll try to give you an example. Let’s pretend that you haven’t been to see your GP for quite a long time, and now you find out that you need to go to the lab to get some blood samples taken and then you need to undergo several specialised examinations. Our call centre (or your own personal coordinator) will find you the perfect date time and specialisation, and if possible, will try to organise it at the clinic closest to you. You will be taken care of from head to toe, going from one appointment directly into the next, so that your time spent at our clinic is as efficient as possible.

How many clinics do you have?

We have eight in Prague and one in Brno. We also offer premium care at Homolka hospital.

Is it possible to compare the premium medical care available in the Czech Republic with that in the West?

Here in the Czech Republic, we are very lucky as everyone has access to basic medical care that is at a very high standard. In the West of course, premium care is much more expensive, and there is a much higher rate of patient participation throughout the whole system. Here we are very used to everything simply being covered by the health insurance companies. In my opinion, our healthcare system would also benefit from increased patient participation, as it would increase the choice of services, specialisations, materials or technology that’s not covered by public health insurance. I believe that this will change soon. Purchasing power and the demand is increasing, and it is not sustainable in the long run for everything to be paid for by the state, and to expect for the level of healthcare to remain so high.

Is it true, that the more “on fire” the public healthcare system is, the more people flock to premium care?

Of course that it does play to our advantage to a certain degree, but the public healthcare system has an irreplaceable place in the Czech Republic. For example, in the recent coronavirus pandemic, many hospitals and clinics dealt only with acute cases, and it was very difficult to get ana appointment with a general practitioner or a dentist. For us, that meant an increase in demand. Thanks to our medical team, we were able to partially make up for this outage in the Czech healthcare system, while also providing our clients with safe and comfortable care.

Who is your typical client?

It’s very varied unsurprisingly, but if I had to sum it up, then in our individual membership programs, it’s generally people above the age of thirty-five , who work in the IT sector, banking, consulting companies etc. A large part of our clientele also consists of families with children. Many of our clients have been with us for ten plus years, and as they start families, their partners, children and parents come under our care as well.

Do you have more foreign or Czech clients?

Currently, it’s about fifty-fifty.

How do the individual membership programmes differ?

They all offer the same range of basic care and more than 30 specialisations. The difference is in the number of available clinics, the extent of preventive care, the guarantee of an appointment date, the possibility of a home visit or the delivery of prescription medication to your door. Another added value is the possibility of a personal care coordinator.

What is the cost of your programmes?

Our basic premium programme costs two and a half thousand crowns a month.

What is the future of premium medical care as an employee benefit in the Czech Republic?

I’m convinced that the future is bright in this aspect. In many companies it is already a standard, something that’s required and I’m sure that the demand will only grow.

What are you now focusing the most on at Canadian Medical?

We have great ambitions in the field of telemedicine. We have launched our new project- the Virtual Clinic, which allows patients to contact their doctor through the means of a virtual chat or a video consultation. In my opinion, telemedicine will be a crucial aspect of the future of medicine, and the current pandemic has only confirmed that.

 

Photo Daniel Hamerník, Finmag magazine

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