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Complex Surgery and Intensive Care Launched at Doktor24

Innovation

Doktor24 Multiklinika has added an intensive care unit and has been licensed to provide complex surgical services, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

Róbert Lancz, CEO of Doktor24, described the launch of the intensive care unit as a milestone. He said that in addition to same-day surgery and orthopedic surgery, the clinic also performs general, as well as head and neck surgery, among others, with 15 newly contracted surgeons. 

The market in Hungary, which is growing dynamically by up to 20% a year, is made up of seven or eight major companies; the Primus Association, the largest professional association of private providers, estimates the market size at around HUF 600 billion. Lancz pointed out that procedures and testing methods are evolving year by year, and keeping up with technological changes and adapting to market needs requires significant resources and a flexible approach from all players.

In the past, private services were mainly focused on preventive, diagnostic, and outpatient services, but the largest providers now also have operating theatres and hospital wards. Doktor24, for example, opened its Buda central hospital, Multiklinika, in 2021, with four operating theaters and 35 hospital beds, following an investment of more than EUR 3 billion. The investment was mainly financed from own resources, with a non-repayable grant of HUF 278 million.

Lancz also said that 83% of Hungarians have used private healthcare services, according to Ipsos research at the end of last year, and a recent EY study found that young people are the most frequent users of this form of care. In addition to out-of-pocket payments, corporate contracts now account for 50% of financing. And the volume of services covered by supplementary private insurance exceeds HUF 30 bln a year.

Doktor24 has also been actively expanding in the countryside over the past two years, and in September 2021, Doktor24 and Union Vienna Insurance Group Zrt.'s joint subsidiary, Első Magánegészségügyi Hálózat Zrt. (EMH), acquired Life Egészségcentrum, the market-leading private healthcare provider in Székesfehérvár and the Central Transdanubian region. In January last year, the group acquired Da Vinci Egészségügyi Szolgáltató Kft. of Pécs, and in June MediTeam Zrt. Further developments are planned, with the aim of achieving nationwide coverage.

The number of doctors and specialists working for Doktor24 has now reached 1,000. The number of patients treated at the group level has doubled in the last two years, while the number of operations has tripled from 3,000 to almost 10,000 per year.

Doktor24's turnover has grown from HUF 6 billion in 2021 to HUF 12 bln last year, and this year's plans include a further increase of at least 30%. 

Lancz stressed that for proper development, feedback from patients is needed, which the company itself collects, but a truly objective, comparable assessment and mapping of what patients expect from a good healthcare provider is provided by the 'Patient-friendly Project' measurement, "and based on the results of this, we have made good decisions", he said.

The aim of the Patient-friendly Project (betegbarat.hu) - launched by a private individual with pollster Ipsos - is twofold: on the one hand, it will develop a rating system based on factors that are important to patients and will give providers feedback on their performance. This will help them to see exactly what patients expect from them and which services are worth improving. On the other hand, the rating system will also give patients a clear idea of what they can expect from providers who are considered patient-friendly.
The survey was conducted by Ipsos and Patient-friendly at the end of last year between September 26 and October 5 among a sample of 1,000 Hungarian residents aged 18-65, and is representative of gender, age, type of settlement, and region.

Of the providers included in the analysis, Doktor24 was the provider patients were most satisfied with, as Doktor24 came out on top in a comparison of leading providers in the category of average actual performance and provider performance relative to customer expectations, based on 23 patient-friendly aspects. 

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