Santa Joana Group

Santa Joana Group

Santa Joana Group on the way to becoming an international benchmark in high-risk pregnancy, gynecology and obstetrics...

Written by: Simone Talarico

According to the Brazilian National Health Agency, the Private Health System - also called the Supplemental Health System - served approximately 35 million beneficiaries in 2003. Today that number is around 50 million.

The growing demand is not new to the Santa Joana Maternity Group, a national reference in high-risk pregnancy, gynecology and obstetrics, which has overseen 40,000 births annually.

The history of Santa Joana Group began in São Paulo with the Santa Joana Hospital, a 65-year-old facility that is fully related to mother and infant care. In January of 2000 Santa Joana made its first acquisition, Pro Matre Paulista Maternity, quite traditional in São Paulo. 

“More recently, five years ago, we teamed up and bought part of the two maternity hospitals Perinatal in Rio de Janeiro, and it was then that we formed the group,” explains Dr. Marco Antonio Zaccarelli, General Director of the Santa Joana Group. “Today there are four units, as in Rio de Janeiro we have a unit in Barra da Tijuca and one in Laranjeiras.”The group was then established, and today is considered the largest group of maternity hospitals in Latin America, with a union of doctors in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro working with the same ideals and exchanging experience, knowledge and technology, focusing on a certain specialty attracted patients from around the country.

One of the procedures by which the Group is known is the correction of myelomeningocele in an open surgery, which began at the end of the year 2012 in the Pro Matre Maternity but increased in number considerably in the past year. “We did 110 procedures in 2013, and we had fantastic results with over 90 percent success," says Dr. Zaccarelli. “We are, I think, second in the world in annual statistics. The service is headed by Professor Moron, and we have had visits from heads of maternity from everywhere in the world to watch the results, and see the technique he employs here.”

As one of the largest referral centers for high complexity in gynecology and obstetrics and neonatology in Brazil, the Pro Matre Maternity needed to expand.

"Today we received moms from all over Brazil, who come here when they receive diagnoses of conditions that are beyond the average obstetrician’s routine. So now we are expanding in an area of 600 square meters, which will allow us to build 15 new apartments. We also got an area outside the hospital, where we moved the support area, a dining hall and cloakroom for the staff, and we will be able to expand a little more," says Dr. Zaccarelli.

At the moment, the two units of São Paulo, the Santa Joana hospital and the Pro Matre Maternity, are also going through the accreditation process of the Joint Commission International (JCI). "JCI contributed much to improve and enhance patient safety within the hospital, and we made several adjustments to implement action plans for improvement upon analysis of indicators, both of non-compliance , adverse events, and satisfaction surveys customer, which unfold into improvement plans," says Dr. Zaccarelli.


Since 2005 the Group has been affiliated with the Vermont Oxford Network, an institution responsible for processing data from infants less than 1600 grams admitted to 650 neonatal ICUs at the best hospitals in the world. Maternities of the Santa Joana Group are the only ones in the country that are part of the Vermont Oxford and the indicators of the Group are among the best in the network. 

“We are the only organization in Brazil which has a partnership with the Vermont Oxford Network Institute," reveals Dr. Zaccarelli. “The intention of the group is that of from being a national benchmark in high-risk pregnancy, gynecology and obstetrics, we become considered an international benchmark. That's the big goal and our focus.”

In logistics, the Santa Joana Group has been working on a joint action with other hospital institutions and materials suppliers to implement a barcode structure within the GSI standard, the data matrix code. “This is something that greatly facilitates the traceability of medicines and equipment within the hospital, if the industry has to provide the barcode within the specifications that include batch, validity, and finally all this information,” explains Dr. Zaccarelli.

For that, the Santa Joana Group has been working on an initiative in a joint effort in partnership with ANAHP (National Association of Private Hospitals). “We are spreading, with the pharmaceutical industry, the importance of the materials to already come with the bar codes in the patterns of the data matrix," concludes Dr. Zaccarelli. “This is an important process that prevents unitarization of the doses, where you're more exposed, because it increases the risk of error when you have to do that inside the hospital.”