Cooperation of regional hospitals – Augusta University Hospital is repositioning itself for the future

“The Omicron variant has weakened in the past few weeks and months. We now face the post-pandemic expectation of being able to pick up where we left off. No, we can’t “, said Prof. Dr. Michael Beyer yesterday in the Augusta city council, to whom he reported on the current situation of the coronavirus at the UKA, but above all on the consequent need for greater cooperation between all hospitals in the region.

Professor Michael Beyer | Photo: Czech Wolfgang

One learned during the pandemic that “we depend on other houses,” Beyer continued. The UKA, but also other hospitals, have suffered heavy losses due to the migration of specialists, particularly nurses. “The infrastructure before Corona was different from what we have now,” Beyer explained. In the course of that, the University Clinic had to shut down operations and intensive care capabilities.

First collaborations with hospitals in the region

Beyer also sees major problems in rural areas due to the extinction of the family doctors’ offices there. There are now the first orphan regions without the timely replacement of cash register vacancies. UKA sees itself as a teaching hospital and maximum care provider at the center of a regional care conference, where as many surrounding hospitals as possible should network and work together in the future. The first steps in this direction have already been taken in cooperation with the clinics in Bobingen, Schwabmünchen, Donauwörth and Dillingen. “We UKA don’t have to operate on every appendage. And not all births have to take place here at UKA,” Beyer continues. “We have to get away from this way of thinking that everyone does the things he does”. The different actors must start talking “to set up the health system so that it continues to function in the future”. Beyer said. It won’t be easy, “but we’ll make it,” Beyer said confidently.

Corona: “We are the last bastion”

Beyer gave an overview of the six waves of the corona pandemic, of which the second wave hit the UKA with all its might, but it was still manageable because patients no longer came to the UKA for fear of infection. “As a result, we sometimes had up to 500 beds and free human resources.” The fourth wave therefore put a lot of pressure on the system. “It wasn’t long and we should have done the triage,” Beyer explained urgently. Thanks to the well-coordinated management team of the FüGK representative Prof. Dr. Axel Heller and the medical director they ensured that seriously ill patients in the administrative district were treated at the UKA and at the same time lighter cases were transferred outside . The UKA was thus able to fulfill its role as the ultimate service provider. “The employees were exhausted and exhausted and kept going and doing amazing things.” He always said: “We are the last bastion, we must not fall”.

But the CEO of the UKA also had positive things to report, because UKA is part of the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT), in which the university hospitals of Würzburg, Erlangen and Regensburg as well as Augsburg are networked. in the Bavarian Center for Cancer Research (BZKF), where all six Bavarian university hospitals have joined forces. “Cancer diseases are already one of our main areas of interest.”

Cooperation with industry is a creed of the hospital director. The Bavarian state government soon launched an innovation offensive, following which a chair of robot-assisted surgery and intelligent systems will be established at the UKA and a W3 chair will be awarded. “We will not only have one robot, but in the future we will use several robotic systems from around the world,” Beyer explained. One can imagine that a robot operates in an operating room in Augusta, but the surgeon is on the other side of the world, in America or on the Ligurian coast. When it comes to developing hospital information systems, UKA is at the forefront of development.

One of the UKA’s highlights is a photon-counting computed tomograph (CT) capable of directly measuring every single X-ray beam. There are only three devices in the world, one of which is located at the UKA. The device uses a revolutionary technology that the US Food and Drug Administration has described as “the first major advance in computed tomography imaging equipment in nearly a decade.” “We will publish the first results soon,” promised Beyer.

Another important issue for the future of medicine is digitization, which is very advanced at the UKA. At the touch of a button, colleagues received lab values, imaging and test results. A drug app offers much greater drug safety. Patients also benefit from digital diagnostics (clinical decision support).

At the end of his presentation, Beyer answered some questions from the members of the city council. Finally, Mayor Eva Weber thanked prof. Beyer for coming. It is not natural for the medical director of the university clinic to come to his old institution and provide a health report. In this context Weber also thanked Prof. Dr. Axel Heller, who performed a mammoth task as coordinator for all of Swabia during the peak of the pandemic.

Ines Lehmann

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