What is your day-to-day work like?
I work in the Department of Ophthalmology at the Charles University Faculty of Medicine, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, specializing in cataract surgery, refractive surgery, the treatment of retinal diseases and laser corneal surgery, amongst others. In fact, I carry out over 2000 cataract surgeries a year. I also deal with some of the most complex cases in the Czech Republic.
I’m also focused on spreading my knowledge and educating the next generation of doctors specializing in eye conditions and care and I’ve been working internationally too, working with the American Academy of Ophthalmology for example, as well as co-operating with innovative companies to share experiences and advance research and knowledge.
How do you help improve or save people’s lives through your work?
Eyesight is a precious gift. I may not save people’s lives physically by my work but I certainly help to improve and even transform people’s lives. I will never refuse any patient, whatever age, background or complexity, and will do my utmost to restore their sight.
What challenges face the healthcare system?
The major challenge facing healthcare is the enlarging gap between the advances in medicine and the costs involved. This is only set to increase as the demographics change. Indeed, age-related conditions are harder to solve. Healthcare systems will face huge problems trying to cope with older patients with neurodegenerative diseases for example, or Alzheimer’s.
There needs to also be a major focus on addressing the treatment inequalities facing patients. Treatment should not be limited to only a few but to all and the latest in technology should ideally be available.
What role do you see for medical technologies to address these challenges?
Diagnostic tests can help to address these challenges, allowing people to be diagnosed early and accurately and therefore treated appropriately. Increasing automisation of surgical procedures can also greatly support healthcare, allowing us to treat patients faster and carry out more cost-effective procedures of a high quality.
Indeed, we depend on top technologies to treat our patients. You can be a gifted physician and a surgeon with golden hands but without the equipment, there’s very little you can do.
If you had one ask to the decision-makers, what would it be?
Policymakers need to keep pace with the progress being made in medical technology and not fall behind. Some countries such as the UK have been able to set up excellent systems that can assess the latest innovations available and identify the most suitable tech for their needs.
Indeed, the demands by patients for the latest medicines and technologies are increasing all the time. They want the latest tech available and do not want to take into account the cost. This is understandable, it’s their health, but it puts huge pressure on the healthcare system.
What would you want to see/is your vision for the care of your patients in the future and healthcare overall?
My vision is again to increase the use of diagnostics in healthcare as well as greater technological automatization as already outlined.
I also would like to see a significant focus on prevention. People need to take control and be responsible for their health and this does not come easy. You need to work at it.
This article was featured during MedTechWeek, an European-wide initiative that aims to show how medtech can support people throughout their everyday lives, from diagnosis to cure. More details:http://www.medtechweek.eu.