How can you revamp a centuries-old profession? Psychiatrist Franziska Gamma is taking the Les Toises center in new directions of patient care, while also making it more efficient than traditional institutions. How does she do it?
“Our success essentially rests on three pillars: satisfied patients, motivated employees, and efficient administration,” says Franziska Gamma, psychiatrist, founder, and director of Les Toises. What at first glance might appear to be interchangeable is the summary of an extremely innovative concept. Franziska Gamma explains: “Individuals who are mentally ill and call a clinic have already taken a big step. But, if that person cannot get an appointment until two months later, as is the case with most institutions, it interrupts the constructive process that has begun.”
That’s why patients at Les Toises receive appointments with a specialist who best understands their problem or condition in only a few days. If necessary, the specialist consults other experts who also work at Les Toises.
At the beginning of every treatment, patients are issued a badge with which they report to the reception desk upon arrival at the building. Patients can also use their badges to sign in anonymously using a badge scanner, where they find which waiting room to wait in. Their therapists then automatically receive an SMS notifying them that the client has arrived.
“On the one hand, the badges are a visible symbol of the distinctions we make in dealing with our patients. On the other, they are a reflection of our efficient, streamlined, and high-tech administration that operates behind the scenes,” Franziska Gamma says. Les Toises has a creative IT staff, which is continuously improving administrative processes and making them more efficient. That keeps the number of administrative staff very low compared to the number of therapists, who are relieved from doing paperwork. “Our physicians and psychologists should be able to focus on their patients as much as possible,” says Franziska Gamma. Smiling, she adds: “That explains not onl y our satisfied patients and streamlined administration, but also our third pillar — motivated employees. Therapists find it pleasant to work here because they don’t have to spend a lot of time doing administrative work. On top of that, they have ample opportunities to exchange information with colleagues. And that has a positive effect on their work with clients.”
In 2009, Franziska Gamma founded the Les Toises mental health care center in Lausanne with seven employees. Today, they have a staff of 120. Another branch was opened in Yverdon in September 2016. There are plans to open additional centers in Sion, Biel, and Fribourg. Franziska Gamma can imagine opening branches in Germanspeaking Switzerland as well. “We also owe our ability to continue growing in new locations to Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital Ltd. They support us in making these costly investments,” the director explains.
Despite its high level of innovation, Les Toises is not a luxury institution for the wealthy; it is open to people with general, as well as private, insurance. “That demands creativity at every level,” says Franziska Gamma. “While every patient who comes to us receives customized treatment, we never lose sight of our profitability.”