Page 26 - Bauerfeind life international_02_2012

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magazine 2012/2
Pictures: Stefan Durstewitz, Bauerfeind
Independent treatment centers are a specialty of the Netherlands. Their focus is on providing
immediate and efficient care for patients. With orthopedic problems in particular, the centers
are able to make use of the advantages they have over public hospitals and private clinics.
“We have a face”
AVE Orthopedische Klinieken, Huizen, the Netherlands
If you are visiting Arno van Lieshout at his
place of work, you will be met with a surpris-
ing sight: no automatic doors, no long cor-
ridors, no stethoscope in his jacket pocket.
The physician greets visitors in the very
place where he welcomes his patients: at a
large wooden desk in a well-lit office. An ex-
amination couch, medical posters and a knee
prosthesis are the only things that remind
visitors they are in a hospital. This is deliber-
ate. “We don’t have a hospital atmosphere,”
says the orthopedic surgeon. “The patients
like it that way. And so do we.”
Arno van Lieshout works together with three
other orthopedic specialists at the AVE
Orthopedische Klinieken (AVE Orthopedic
Clinics) – a so-called ‘ZBC’. The acronym
stands for ‘Zelfstandig Behandel Centrum’ –
an independent treatment center, which are
common in the Netherlands. These centers
started to appear in the 1980s. Alongside
the public hospitals and private clinics,
they form an important pillar of the Dutch
healthcare system. There are now around 200
of these small, independent clinics spread
all over the country. Thanks to their flexible
structures, in most cases the ZBCs are able
to treat patients more quickly and more ef-
fectively than larger hospitals. Even just the
partnership of two specialists can constitute
a ZBC. They are not private clinics, however.
Just like other medical service providers,
they are recognized by hospitals. Typically
for an independent treatment center, facili-
ties such as operating theaters are rented, or
x-ray examinations are bought in and used
for providing their own services.
Patients don’t want to feel ill
The AVE Orthopedische Klinieken, with their
headquarters in Huizen, have several sites
in the Netherlands. The one in Almere is
an important branch. Situated around 20
kilometers east of the gates of Amsterdam is
a city with symbolic significance: Almere is
the fastest-growing city in the Netherlands.
“Where you are now sitting was under water
30 years ago,” Arno van Lieshout explains. In
a huge land reclamation project, the ground
on which Almere stands today was reclaimed
from the Zuiderzeethe neighboring Lake
Ijseel. According to the physician, the city’s
200,000, predominantly young inhabitants
appreciate new structures – even in the
healthcare system. “We often see young
sportsmen and women who have injured
themselves,” he says, describing his main cli-
entele. “They don’t feel ill and don’t want to
be treated as people who are ill. They come
to us because it is our job to solve problems
– and to solve them as quickly as possible.”
People often come to AVE for a second
opinion. And in many cases, the patient
then stays with the AVE. “Just this morning
a patient came to me after a tibia correc-
tion to ask when would be the best time to
remove the plate,” says Arno van Lieshout,
describing a particular case. “He had lost
confidence in the other physicians after they
had damaged a nerve during the operation.
Now we will continue his treatment.”
An “approachable” physician
Continuing treatment that others are unwill-
ing or unable to carry out is one thing, but
working with colleagues from the hospitals is
another – and it is much more common. “It
is never the case that we can do everything
better,” the physician concedes. “Compli-
cated hip operations in ASA III patients are
well taken care of by the hospitals, but we
can complete a knee arthroscopy in healthy
patients within fifteen minutes. That saves
both time and money.”
But money is not everything, and the physi-
cian knows that too. “We are approachable,
people can come to us,” he says. “They can
call us, send us an e-mail or come in and see
us. We have a face!”
Anonymity in hospitals, the resulting unpop-
ularity, immense cost increases – all of these
factors were reasons for founding the ZBCs.
Efficiency, high quality and flexibility is the
motto here. Direct partnerships and cost-
saving collaborations are designed to help
both the system and the patients equally. For
example, AVE Orthopedische Klinieken work
closely with regional hospitals and also with
local medical supply retailers and physio-
Coherence of resources
Working collaboratively, it is important to
Arno van Lieshout and his colleages that
support is provided in the places where it
is needed most. That may be on site at a
rented hospital bed or on AVE premises.
The same applies where medical products
are concerned: “With active supports and
knee orthoses, I can rely on the team at
Bauerfeind,” says the physician. Admittedly
he needs the medical aid itself – such as the
SecuTec Genu knee orthosis, used to provide
security following the fitting of artificial
cruciate ligaments – more than its bearer.
But there is personal contact involved, for
example with Edwin Mosterd, Sales Manager
of Bauerfeind Netherlands, who symbolizes
all AVE activities: immediate, quick, and
effective. And there is another medical aid in
the Bauerfeind range that is ideal here. The
GenuTrain, for example, the active support
for the knee, fulfills the requirements that
the orthopedic clinic demands of itself:
“The support provides security in cases of
knee instability,” says Arno van Lieshout.
“Security – that is exactly what we aim to
provide at AVE.”
The knee orthosis SecuTec Genu.