Nuno Côrte-Real is one of the senior orthopedists at GIGA (Integrated Group for Accident Management). He has been part of this project since its inception, being the group reference for the treatment of foot and ankle injuries. He also coordinates the Group’s scientific activity.
Q: Dr. Côrte-Real. You are at GIGA since its inception. What prompted you to embrace this project?
A: GIGA’s medical staff was not assembled when GIGA was created. We are a group of physicians that has worked together for many years in other projects and that has remained cohesive, creating a remarkable group spirit and bringing an enviable experience in the field of the treatment of work accidents and others. So it was quite natural to be in the Group genesis since its launching.
P: You say that there is a cohesive medical staff. What makes you say this?
A: Throughout the years we have come to know our clinical characteristics, technical skills and preferences, which has enabled our physicians to be guided in areas of differentiation, in terms of anatomical regions, so that each of us treats patients with a type of specific pathology of a part of the body. They are the so-called subspecialties. With the advancement of experience, this allows us to get to know pathologies more deeply and to gain more skills in its resolution. This differentiation is useful in all respects. The patients are better treated, GIGA optimizes the resources, the Insurer, has more favorable medical results, and clinical practice is more rewarding. The fact that it is most rewarding for doctors makes it interesting for physicians to work at GIGA increasing the Group’s cohesion, in addition to the true friendship and mutual trust that have been generated.
Q: This division into subspecialties, ie, parts of the body, seems to be an important step, but GIGA patients have special characteristics that compel doctors to have specific expertise.
A: It is undoubtedly a primordial fact. So far, GIGA’s activity has focused on the treatment of so-called victims, ie, victims of work-related accidents, road accidents and sports accidents. This population, being formed by active and productive people, is naturally demanding, always expecting a full recovery for the same level of activity prior to the accident. Whatever is less than that is frustrating for the patient, and that disappointment infects the doctor.
On the other hand, our client, the Insurer, requires the treatment to be done with the best possible medical result, in the shortest time and with a meticulous optimization of the resources.
So, GIGA doctors are highly trained in making the best possible treatment valued in all its aspects: competent, with minimum time of inactivity and combating waste (time and resources).
Q: It really seems to be the perfect type of treatment for any patient: good, quick and inexpensive. But how can you assure it?
A: It is not always possible, but it is our constant concern. As we have mentioned before, subspecialty is one of the ways. The other is the constant concern with solid updating theoretical training and practical experience, seeking the knowledge of what is best in the world for the treatment of each pathology. It has been our practice to try to do what is proven to be the most effective and efficient therapeutic strategies for our patients. This concern has been strongly stimulated and encouraged by our Clinical Directorate, clearly becoming part of our way of facing this activity.
Q: This means that at GIGA innovative treatments are favored in detriment of the most usual techniques.
A: It is sometimes necessary to find a balance that is not easy between innovation and “doctrine”. Of course we do not do experimentalism, but this spirit of openness to new strategies and the search for the best solution in every moment, means that GIGA has already evidence given in the development of innovative techniques. For example, in my area, the contribution of GIGA’s medical staff to the development of new procedures for the treatment of ankle sprains has been very important with clear international recognition. Our experience with ankle arthroscopy has also echoes that extend beyond our borders. Proof of this is the fact that we are often called upon to share this experience all over the world, from Argentina to China, through the US and many European countries.
This projection is not exclusive to the ankle area. As well as the knee and shoulder, our experts have presented our knowledge on a number of occasions, and our opinion is respected and considered.
Q: Finally, how would you define the type of care provided at GIGA?
A: GIGA has focused its activity on a particular group of patients in special circumstances; accident victims under the responsibility of the Insurance Company. It is, therefore, a demanding population as well as a demanding customer (Insurance Company). This situation forces us to provide the best health care that is accessible to us, that is, excellence care. We also have a Management and a Clinical Direction that has privileged the technical differentiation and the scientific affirmation of the Medical Staff, which makes us trust to affirm with pride that GIGA is a Group where the treatment of the traumatic lesions is done with competence, innovation and security.