With its new 22,000-m² centre, IMO seeks to improve its services for patients, develop research projects and teaching, and raise awareness about all vision-related disorders.
The total investment in terms of purchasing the land and construction of the building and its facilities has exceeded 35 million euros. According to Francisca Rodríguez, IMO’s executive director, "this investment has been driven by the desire to strive for medical excellence and the very best of patient care." IMO expects to end the current financial year with a turnover in the region of 20 million euros, representing an increase of 15% over 2009.
Francisca Rodríguez explains that the growth, which, in recent years, has exceeded 13% per annum, "has been achieved as a result of the high level of medical care offered to patients and its demanding corporate management, which has enabled IMO to become a financially sound and solvent company, even in the economic crisis of the last two years, as well as a leading centre for eye health and quality of life." IMO currently employs 150 non-medical staff, 25 ophthalmologists, eight anaesthetists and two biologists. It currently has in excess of 220,000 patients, 5% of whom come from abroad, 50% from Catalonia and 45% from the rest of Spain. On an annual basis, IMO treats around 45,000 patients and performs about 8,000 surgical procedures, figures that could triple as a result of the move to its new facilities.
For Francisca Rodríguez, IMO’s increased work, especially its commitment to establishing itself as a leading centre, and the considerable investment required, "has been made possible by its unusual structure and the role played by its ophthalmologists, owners and co-directors, an uncommon model in the Spanish private health system, which guarantees complete freedom to carry out its work with patients to the highest standards, without constraints or external business interests."
This particular idiosyncrasy dates back to the founding of IMO in the mid 1980s, when several retina specialists, headed up by Dr Borja Corcóstegui, decided to work together and form a team with ophthalmologists from other subspecialities to provide a high-quality comprehensive ophthalmic service, which, at that time, was difficult to find.
Eventually, the driving forces behind the project managed to assemble a multidisciplinary team of ophthalmologists who, between 1988 and 1994, performed their work in the Retina and Vitreous Department of Quirón Clinic in Barcelona. In 1994, doctors Carlos Mateo, José Luis Güell, Isabel Nieto, Alfredo Adán, Jose García-Arumí and Corcóstegui himself founded the current Instituto de Microcirugía Ocular with a focus on eye care services and also teaching and research at a 2,300 m² premise in Calle Munner.
The new centre
The tremendous growth experienced by IMO since it was founded in 1994 culminated in its project for the building of a new centre, which began construction in February 2006. The new building, designed by the architect Josep Llinàs, provides IMO with 22,000 m² of premises, compared to the 2,300 m² at its old site. These dimensions make it one of the largest centres in Europe and place Barcelona at the forefront of international ophthalmology.
IMO has increased its number of operating theatres from four to nine, which ensures that surgical procedures can be performed without delay and that latest generation equipment can be applied. At its new premises, IMO continues to attend to patients in all ophthalmic subspecialities, particularly, and according to the number of visits, retina, followed by cornea, glaucoma, cataracts, oculoplastics and strabismus, which represent the full complement of current ophthalmic treatment.
One of IMO’s main strengths is precisely its commitment to comprehensive eye care with the best specialists in each of the areas of vision. The international prestige of its medical staff is a guarantee that attracts patients and professionals from all over the world. According to Francisca Rodríguez, coupled with this prestige, "the greatest assets of the company are: talent, experience, professional enthusiasm and personal qualities, embodied in its medical and administrative team."
In addition to its healthcare work, the new centre also focuses on teaching and research. In this latter area, its Genetic Research Unit particularly stands out for its cutting-edge preventative approach, in which ophthalmologists and geneticists work together on research projects and participate in international programmes with medical researchers from different countries. The new premises also include an auditorium with a seating capacity for 300 people and function rooms for professional meetings and special events. Other facilities for patients and companions include comfortable and spacious waiting rooms, a 210-space car park and a cafeteria/restaurant with spectacular views over Barcelona.