The EAU’s youngest section, the ESUO has changed its name to better reflect the realities of outpatient urology around Europe. Founded in 2017 as the EAU Section of Urologists in Office, it has spent the last three years getting insights into how office urologists work across the continent and come to several conclusions that have impacted its mission and, indeed, name.
The ESUO will retain its acronym but from now on will be known as the EAU Section of Outpatient and Office Urology. This change was requested by its chairman, Prof. Helmut Haas (Heppenheim, DE) and recently approved by the Section Office and EAU Board. In changing its name and redefining its mission, the ESUO hopes to appeal to a wider range of outpatient-treating urologists and help these professionals in their duties.
“When we started our section, we didn’t have a clear view of in-office and outpatient urology in Europe,” said Prof. Haas. “It was a somewhat neglected part of urology and we had to explore the exact nature of the field as a first step.”
“When we started, we were aware of an EBU study by Kiely et al. from 2000, which was updated in 2007. They’d counted about 4000 office urologists in Europe. Based on this information we initially estimated a current number of office urologists of about 6000. Exploring the situation, we have since found out that they number more than 10,000, especially due to the great numbers in Russia and Germany. There are still several countries that we are interested in hearing from (see figure 1).
Mapping out office urology
The ESUO set out to get a better idea of the state of office urology in Europe by sending out questionnaires through the EAU’s channels. The results, as published online and in previous editions of European Urology Today reveal a great scale and also diversity of the field.
Haas: “From our questionnaires we learned a lot about which methods in diagnostics and treatment that office and outpatient urologists use in each country and, beyond that, in which institution (office, medical centre, hospital) and in which kind of employment (self-employed, employed, combination) they’re working. The general impression? There is a great variety and no general rule. Each country has developed its own way to treat outpatients.”
“When starting our section we were convinced that ‘self-employment’ and ‘own office’ were core characteristics of the group of urologists that we intended to care for, and we had designated them as ‘office urologists’. From our section members we know that many of them are not working under these conditions. Colleagues from other countries (e.g. Spain) tell us that they strictly refuse the designation ‘office urologist’ (“I work in my own clinic!”) and don’t want to identify themselves with our section even though their everyday work is the same as ours.”
Redefining the ESUO
This realisation led the ESUO to a new definition for itself as a section and its target audience. The newly christened EAU Section of Outpatient and Office Urology now seeks to represent European urologists:
- Who treat outpatients as their main profession, in more than 50% of their working hours
- Within the context of an established professional profile, not only temporarily
- Independently of how they are employed, and whether they do it in an office, medical centre or hospital.
Haas hopes and expects that this redefinition section members who work under these conditions feel more comfortable in the ESUO, and that colleagues from other countries will be attracted if we renounce our old definition. “Our section will be better able to unite outpatient urologists from more (if possible: all) European countries under the umbrella of the EAU.”
The ESUO within the EAU
The change in name also comes at a point at which the Section and its chairman can reflect on a successful three years under the EAU. “We were impressed by the cordial welcome, the friendship and support by the EAU Executives and the ‘family’ of the EAU offices,” said Haas.
“This is all the more appreciated because the EAU’s other sections represent a special subject or subspecialty in urology from an academic and clinical point of view. Our section on the other hand aims to unite a special professional group in Europe: the outpatient and office urologists who often treat their patients outside hospital.”
“Our patients are those with a minor degree of disease who don’t need clinical treatment but do require a more specialised treatment than a general practitioner can offer. We have to be able to provide these patients with up-to-date specialist care not only in big cities but in the breadth of the country and near to their home.”
“This different perspective can lead to misunderstandings between clinicians and outpatient urologists. But to the EAU’s credit, we don’t feel a gap between our section and the other specialised sections. We received all support that we asked for from the EAU. We are very grateful to the other sections and the EAU board.”
Prof. Haas is pleased with the progress that the ESUO has made since its inception. “We started out with three section members. Now our section has 27 members from 17 countries. A core group of about 12 members is very active, giving presentations and organising meetings on the topic. We gave ourselves the task of getting in contact with national associations and to start a collaboration of outpatient urologists. As a result, we received invitations from several national associations to give speeches or organise special sessions during their congresses.”
“Since 2018, the number of invitations has been increasing every year. We look forward to hearing from our colleagues and societies from across Europe and I encourage them to reach us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.”