"The foundation for our investments was laid through a comprehensive business plan financed by Tekes. Today, our service concept remains unique in Finland, and the same applies to our pioneering status in clinical care and the speed with which we are able provide treatment for our patients," describes Siv Schalin, CEO of Docrates Cancer Centre.
Pioneer in cancer research
With the help of Tekes, Docrates was able find a cooperation partner in the Finnish MAP Medical Technologies that now operates a cyclotron needed in the production of PET imaging technology in the Docrates premises.
"The cyclotron enables the development of short-lived isotopes and their utilisation in the services provided by the centre. Marker production in close proximity to the treatment facility brings significant financial benefits."
The cooperation with MAP Medical Technologies provides synergistic benefits also for research and development work.
"We engage in research cooperation to develop new markers, which enables us to develop increasingly specific cancer treatments and study the efficiency of existing treatments."
The market in Russia is growing
With export sales of approximately EUR one million, Docrates was Finland's largest exporter of health services in 2012.
"The share of foreign patients in our turnover is 20 per cent, and it is increasing continuously. Our largest market area is Russia, where patients are actively seeking health services from abroad."
With the help of the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Uusimaa, Docrates had at an early stage conducted a market study in Russia that helped increase the share of Russian patients in its client base.
"Our strengths include close proximity to Russia, an international concept, speedy service and a unique set of expertise and treatment. Globally there are no more than a handful of units like us that in addition to the cyclotron are able to provide clinical diagnostics, imaging facilities and the manufacturing of radiopharmaceuticals."
Increasing service export through cooperation
With the current capacity, Docrates is able to handle two to three times the number of clients it is serving today. International activities enable growth and provide physicians with the opportunity for cooperation with top professionals in the world.
Schalin believes that the healthcare sector could become a significant area of export for Finland in the future. The role of Finpro, Tekes and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy as funders and participants in the work is central for the development.
"We are participating in a Finpro project that aims to create an export concept for Finnish health services and promote networking with Russian partners. In a project promoting Russian well-being tourism implemented by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the aim is to establish whether it would be possible for a single operator to transport patients to Finland for the purpose of receiving health services."
Refined service concept guarantees satisfaction
With the funding from Tekes, Docrates has developed a service and management system that guides the activities of the cancer centre on a number of levels. The service concept has been further adjusted based on experiences gained from the foreign clients.
"Their specific needs are catered to by Docrates' International Client Manager, who is able to speak the key languages of our client base and provides practical assistance to clients. At the reception, a nurse acts as an interpreter. Travel arrangements for patients are facilitated by the option of staying in a hotel located in Docrates' premises."
Patient orientation is also evident in a dialogic doctor-patient relationship. The patients have the opportunity to impact their treatment plan and, should they wish to do so, may also take part in clinical studies.
In a customer satisfaction survey implemented by Docrates, 96 per cent of the 200 respondents were very satisfied with both the care and the services they had received.
"We are very pleased that we have succeeded in fulfilling our client-oriented mission."
For more information, please contact
Siv Schalin, CEO
Docrates Cancer Centre
Siv.Schalin (at) docrates.com
Author: Tuovi Kukkola
Photo: Docrates Cancer Centre