Shaping Serbia’s Medical Future
In an industry marked by continuous transformation and growing demands, the merger of Acıbadem and Bel Medic is a significant milestone in Serbia’s health-care sector. At the heart of this pivotal moment is Pharm.D. Feyza Öztürk, CEO of Acıbadem Bel Medic, whose unique leadership journey and strategic vision are shaping the future of healthcare services in the region. In this interview, Öztürk discusses the goals and challenges of this integration, the evolving landscape of healthcare, and her personal journey in steering this major transition. As a prominent female leader in an industry where such representation is growing, she also shares her insights on leadership, adaptation in times of crisis, and maintaining a balance between high-stakes professionalresponsibilities and personal well-being.
The merger between Acıbadem and Bel Medic is a big move in the healthcare industry in Serbia. Can you elaborate on the primary goals of this integration and the main challenges you’ve faced during this transformative process?
These two well-known brands came together with a single goal – to offer new opportunities in providing premium healthcare services to patients in Serbia. By combining the extensive international experience of the Acıbadem Healthcare Group with the well-established Bel Medic brand, we can now offer our patients new treatment options at an institution they have come to trust. Despite bringing together two distinct cultures, we are united by a common set of universal values and shared goals in patient safety, which have further strengthened the synergy of these two brands.
As the healthcare landscape evolves, what forward-looking plans does Acıbadem have to innovate and expand its services, and how do they align with the company’s long-term vision?
With rapid changes in the IT industry and global medical developments, technology represents the most important support in diagnosis and treatment. Acıbadem Healthcare Group remains committed to advancing and enhancing its systems, prioritizing precision and efficiency in the delivery of medical care to benefit its patients. As Acıbadem Bel Medic, we are now an institution that hosts patients from most countries in the Balkan region. Our objective is to increase the scope of services offered in Serbia by expanding our capacities in the future.
With rapid changes in it and global medicine, technology is the most important support in diagnosis and treatment
Moving from Türkiye to Serbia must have been a significant transition. Can you share how this move has influenced your leadership approach and decision-making at Acıbadem Bel Medic, and how you’ve adapted personally and professionally?
My professional journey started as a pharmacist within the Acıbadem Healthcare Group. Thanks to the support and trust of our senior leadership, I had the privilege to assume managerial roles in various locations across the globe, including Singapore, Malaysia, and many more. I worked in different positions in most of our hospitals in Turkiye. This diversity has allowed me to identify solutions and address various challenges at every organizational level. When I started working in Serbia, I gained a deeper understanding of both cultures and their similarities. I realized that our patient–oriented and solution-based approach was the same, which made it easier for me to lead in change management.
In an industry where female leadership is still growing, what unique challenges have you faced, and what advice would you offer to aspiring women leaders in healthcare?
The healthcare sector has the highest population of female employees globally. I believe sharing the experience with female leaders and managers from different countries is valuable. For me, it is very important to work side by side with healthcare professionals in the field, understand them, and help them find solutions to problems, all while keeping communication on the most professional level. I advocate for young candidates eager to advance in their careers, who work hard, show patience, and continuously improve their communication skills. Whatever we do, we should always try to be the best versions of ourselves, and I believe that the key to personal and professional development is consistency and perseverance.
Considering the unstable nature of the healthcare sector, especially evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, how has Acıbadem Bel Medic adapted its strategies to continue providing top-tier healthcare services?
The COVID-19 pandemic demanded a very different approach to crisis management for everyone. Our priority was to immediately and accurately adapt our hospitals and clinics to serve our healthcare teams’ needs best while ensuring the continuous supply of essential resources. It was a team effort aimed at catering to the diverse requirements of our patients, including COVID-19 patients, those with chronic illnesses, and expectant mothers, all while simultaneously managing multiple processes. After successfully making necessary area separations, we carefully organized our teams, ensuring that each member worked within their designated areas to address specific needs while maintaining the functionality of medical devices and equipment. I would like to wholeheartedly thank our physicians and all other healthcare teams who worked with great dedication in all hospitals during this process. They were always the frontline, alongside us, on the field.
The priority is always to give importance to team success rather than individual success
Leading a major healthcare group undoubtedly comes with high demands. How do you maintain a balance between your professional responsibilities and personal well-being?
Establishing this balance is always easier when you have a good team to back you up. The priority is always to prioritize team success rather than individual success. In change management, we choose colleagues who can maintain physical and mental resilience and act with dedication during the transition process. Work and life balance is always difficult to achieve in the healthcare sector; however, if you have a good team, you can always find some time for yourself and your personal passions.