Technology partnership — a successful concept from the aerospace industry is the path to cost optimization, better quality of care, and employee satisfaction in hospitals. Read the article below to see what the future holds for medical device procurement.
Cost pressures, personnel shortages, and frustration among current staff — managing a hospital in 2023 presents new and growing challenges. Short-term and intelligent strategies are required to secure supply chains and operations in the long term. How about a proven model that can affect three to five percent of the hospital’s total costs and 70 percent of patient contacts while improving satisfaction among the staff and referring physicians? (Sources: Mayo Clinic; The Lewin Group)
Opportunities and challenges through technology in the health care sector
The concept of technology partnership is by no means new. An example from the aviation industry finds companies such as Rolls-Royce providing engines for various aircraft manufacturers, charging only for the actual flight time (Source: Rolls-Royce). The service is provided, but the maintenance, procurement, and risk are passed on or, in some cases, shared.
The combination of technologies and digitalization has previously proved to be a challenge in medicine. Experience has indicated a reluctance on the part of many hospital employees to use new technologies and digitalization strategies. The mere digitalization of a process does not necessarily lead to an increase in efficiency and is often associated with additional work.
An extra digital effort of five minutes per patient results in an additional hour of work for 12 patients. Digitalization adds value only if processes are optimized and restructured in detail.
There are technologies that are indispensable within the medical added-value chain. As a separate medical residency, radiology focuses on imaging technologies. Without modern innovations, the entire added-value chain of patient care would be unthinkable in this and in other medical fields.
Various advancements often entail new expenses such as maintenance, certifications, and training.
Technology partnership “in a nutshell”
The new concept transfers additional work to the technology partner and allows the hospital staff to focus on their core competencies, diagnostics and patient care.
A technology partnership can span a wide range of activities. The classic procedure today usually looks like this: There is a call for tenders with a catalog of specific medical device requirements, in addition by a maintenance agreement with training programs, recertification and support. Finally, the hospital must ensure that all elements function well together.
In a technology partnership, the hospital enters into a long-term partnership agreement (e.g., for more than ten years) with a partner. Devices from other manufacturers may also be used, but the proportion of third-party devices is limited so that the desired benefits are realized, e.g.:
- Less time and effort for tenders
- Consistent operation of the device inventory
- Cost savings and reduced training requirements
On this basis, a partnership can be further expanded. For example, through joint research, testing of new devices, various financing models, optimization e.g. in market research or patient flows, as well as in marketing.
Physicians, nurses, and other employees are free to concentrate on their specific service requirements while medical technology companies ensure the maintenance and function of the devices and concern themselves with optimization of the operations. The consequence is a rise in employee satisfaction — relieving the workload on the hospital staff and enabling them to refocus on their own core competencies and patients.
A technology partnership secures predictability and control of costs for a high-investment health care system. The flexibility of a partnership with a common vision gives medical technology companies access to state-of-the-art technologies on an ongoing basis available to the hospital during the collaboration.
Moreover, processes become more efficient and can be tailored to the specific challenges of the given hospital. Flexible responses to capacity utilization issues or exceptional situations such as the past COVID pandemic are possible.
Collaboration of this nature has proved to be successful in other industries and is now becoming established in the health care sector. The synergies between medical technology companies and hospitals result in a win-win situation for both sides. This type of partnership will play an increasingly important role in the future to secure sustained improvement in the quality of care in the health care system and to ensure overall competitiveness.