A cooperation agreement between the first private general hospital in BiH, the ASA Hospital, and the Medical University of Vienna International was signed at Sarajevo City Hall on 2 June 2022. The agreement was signed by the director of the ASA Hospital project, doc. dr. Rasim Jusufović and prof. dr. Christian J. Herold, director of International Relations at the Vienna Medical University and Head of Radiological Diagnostics at the Vienna General Hospital.
On this occasion, this renowned world expert in the field of radiological diagnostics and therapy was in our country.
By signing this agreement, the ASA Group announced to the BiH public the opening of the first private general hospital in Bosnia and Herzegovina; on the other hand, prof. Christian J. Herold presented the current trends and the current situation in the field of their activities, as well as the vision of future cooperation with the ASA Hospital through a short interview that you can see below.
Prof. Christian J. Herold works as the Head of the Department for Biomedical Radiological Diagnostics and Interventional Radiological Therapy at the Vienna General Hospital; he is also the Director of the Medical University of Vienna International. He also works as a professor at the radiology department at Johns Hopkins University in the USA, and is often a visiting lecturer at prestigious universities such as Stanford University, Cornell University, Cambridge University and Duke University.
Bearing in mind that you are one of the world’s pioneers in the development of computed tomography, as well as a great advocate of interdisciplinary scientific cooperation, we look forward to your visit to Sarajevo and the lecture you will give to the professional public. Can you share some more information with our readers about the new developments in the field of radiological diagnostics and treatment?
Modern radiological diagnostics and treatment are increasingly based on high IT technology as well as artificial intelligence, and have experienced a sort of a boom when BiH and the surrounding countries were experiencing a major war crisis. It is difficult to try and compensate the lost time and it takes years to catch up with the rapid development of radiology and radiological therapy. Today, technology is available at a much more affordable price, and I think that now is the right time for experts, with already available technology, to make great strides with the support of European centres that were lucky enough to achieve continuity of professional development. This is why we have been talking with partners in BiH for a long time, and now we are finally planning to build a bridge of knowledge and education between Sarajevo and Vienna.
What are some achievements of the Medical University of Vienna International so far, especially when talking about the COVID-19 pandemic?
One example of a decisive fight against Covid in our Vienna General Hospital is the lung transplantation. Establishing such a procedure requires intensive and sustainable education and training of medical personnel, as well as changing and adaptation of local legislation. However, it is equally important to start with a detailed strategic plan, be ambitious, but also realistic in setting goals, and to follow your dreams.
We want to be a part of this special story and give our best with our expertise, experience and knowledge. In particular, I would like to highlight a very innovative procedure that we are currently developing for the treatment of a disorder that affects many patients, which is pulmonary embolism. We, as interventional radiologists and cardiologists, tend to remove blood clots from the pulmonary arteries through an interventional radiological approach, which means minimal tissue and skin damage by using a small hole for a needle and a sheath, possibly even in outpatient treatment, so that the patient is ready to leave the hospital the same day after the procedure.
How can BiH keep up with developed European countries when it comes to medical practices?
We at the Vienna General Hospital, which is managed by the Medical University of Vienna, have more and more patients from the Balkans requesting medical assistance in our hospital, especially for complex and highly specialized procedures from various medical disciplines. We believe that with the well-planned prevention programmes and education targeting the medical branches that show a significant deficit in terms of skills and knowledge, we can significantly change things, i.e. enable a large part of these patients to be cared for in their country according to the same high quality and safety criteria. We will strive for this through our hopefully soon to be achieved cooperation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Given the size and importance of the health facility you come from, will you be able to find a place to educate medical staff from BiH?
The Medical University of Vienna manages the Vienna General Hospital, the largest hospital institution in Austria with a rich history of over 300 years, over 9,000 employees and over 45,000 surgeries per year. Of course, the bridge of education that we are building is two-way, and we are looking forward to healthcare professionals from BiH of all profiles, doctors but also technicians, midwives, nurses, health economists who, through this cooperation, will have the opportunity to acquire additional knowledge. Our institution employs many experts from your territory, and they are proven to be hard-working, goal-oriented and ambitious.
As part of his visit, prof. dr. Christian J. Herold held lectures at the premises of Eurofarm Polyclinic for all their employees, who came from all cities of BiH. Attending a lecture on the topic “Effective radiological treatment of lung lesions/nodes suspected of lung cancer”, i.e. presentation of modern radiological diagnostics and therapy based on high IT technology, Eurofarm also enabled its business partners and employees of pharmaceutical companies to get acquainted with the latest achievements and trends in the field of radiology, digitalization, timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
By presenting scientific achievements and practical knowledge, prof. Harold further confirmed the importance of this collaboration. Sharing knowledge, through continuous education of staff in the ASA Hospital and the Vienna General Hospital, and the development of scientific research cooperation programmes, will provide citizens with the quality health service they deserve.
More information about the work and activities of prof. Christian J. Herold can be found at the following link https://radnuk.meduniwien.ac.at/allgemeine-informationen/klinikleitung/christian-herold/