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From nursing home to hospital

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A public hospital which offers patients the service quality of a private hospital – this has always been the main guideline of Ospedale Pederzoli and its founder Dr. Piero Pederzoli. “It all started in 1947 thanks to a doctor who had a dream,” explains Managing Director Giuseppe Puntin. “His vision was to provide a reliable health service to the people of his own area.”

Dr. Pederzoli’s vision has long become reality. “We are located at beautiful Lake Garda,” says Mr. Puntin. “This region has two parts; the northern part is dominated by mountains and has a less concentrated population, while the southern part is a popular tourist attraction. Our establishment was initially created as a nursing home for surgery and other medical services. As tourism developed, our services broadened. In a very short time the original 25 beds increased to 100. As a result, the center moved towards being a classic hospital, and in 1987 it was officially recognized as a hospital for this area. It was literally a nursing home and a hospital in the same location.”

Ospedale Pederzoli continually adapted to the changing requirements of modern medicine. Today, it is equipped with top-notch robots and earthquake-proof features.

“Three years ago, a rebuilding project started that will be finished in two years’ time,” states Mr. Puntin. “Computerization and robotics ensure greater efficiency compared to the past and reduce costs. These days, the future of healthcare is jeopardized by the costs of services. We are facing the phenomenon of an ageing population and healthcare is concentrated on the last years of life. There is a kind of cultural revolution. In the past, you concentrated on curing the illness; then, prevention became a new topic, and today, healthcare is focused on the prolonging of one’s psychophysical well-being. As a consequence, services are broadening which increases costs. Today’s wishes will be the standard demands of tomorrow. The system’s sustainability is a real challenge and therefore the criteria for service management must be changed.”

Today, Ospedale Pederzoli has 750 employees – 600 paramedics and 150 doctors – who take care of one million outpatient appointments, 18,000 surgeries, 40,000 emergency and first aid situations and 24,000 hospitalized patients per year. 65% of patients are from the Veneto region, 35% from other regions in Italy. “Twelve million people live in the Lake Garda region,” explains Mr. Puntin. “We serve the majority of them, for both emergency cases and general services.”

The hospital has 320 beds and ten new operating theaters; three are about to be built. “We offer all the services a public hospital normally offers, such as clinical networks for emergencies, first aid and emergency orthopedic surgery,” says Mr. Puntin. “Hospital activities are our core business; at the same time, we provide free of charge services as we have an important role in the area.”

Due to ongoing specialization, pancreatic surgery, urology and orthopedics are Ospedale Pederzoli’s points of excellence today – the hospital is currently number three in Italy for prostate cancer.

“Professionality and advanced technology are key characteristics of our hospital,” points out Mr. Puntin. “One needs the other for an optimal service. We have two MRIs and 3D x-rays with image overlapping. Our goal is to do a comparison between the management costs of an ordinary hospital and for the same activities in a modern structure. Establishing a new hospital is a real challenge. Other hospitals divide themselves between 60% for regional capitals and 40% for the province where public services are lacking. Our approach is a bit different. We are very interested in a competitive collaboration with the public network. We want to give patients the opportunity to discover this trustworthy and reliable hospital. Our patients find more reliable answers here and higher quality which means more professionality and technology. To further support patients, we will continue to strengthen the hotel character of our establishment. When a patient enters, he must have a good feeling, similar to a warm welcome in a hotel. Being away from home is always awkward; we want to reduce this feeling of discomfort. We have a healthcare system which is one-of-a-kind and it is public. It is a public service but the management is private.”

Due to Ospedale Pederzoli’s quality-driven philosophy the hospital has a total annual turnover of 103 million EUR and is nurturing realistic future plans. “Over recent years, we have gained an excellent reputation in this area,” stresses Mr. Puntin. “Quality has always been and will always be our most important characteristic. We aim to further consolidate our position in the territory. Building the new hospital with state-of-the-art facilities will clearly stimulate our development. Our greatest challenge will be to ensure economical sustainability. The new hospital will increase operational efficiency; at the same time, costs will be reduced. This makes us feel optimistic about our future.”

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