Paul Barber
Managing Director
Getinge Mexico
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Operating Room Digitalization: Priority for Swedish Tech Giant

By Alicia Arizpe | Mon, 08/24/2020 - 11:54

Q: What are Getinge’s expectations for Mexico in 2020, considering the challenges the country faces?

A: During 2019 Getinge posted 2-4 percent organic growth worldwide. In the Latin America Getinge was growing significantly before the COVID-19 crisis. Our ventilator sales increased by 43 percent and our cardio equipment line by 35 percent. Before the crisis we had significant growth expectations for Mexico and we still expect sales of ventilators, consumables and sterilizers to grow during 2020, which will offset losses from other projects: while Mexico’s infrastructure projects such as building new hospitals have not been canceled, they have been delayed, which has hit sales of the operating room (OR) equipment. I believe that 2020 will be a mixed year for Getinge in Mexico but overall, we expect to grow in sales we have in previous years.

Q: Considering that the Mexican market is highly price-oriented, how do you bring your products closer to consumers?

A: While we do not have the lowest priced products on the market, we do have solutions to help our customers access our products through Getinge Financial Services, a Sweden-based division that finances our client’s purchases for up to 60 months. Even though our products might be more expensive than the competition, they are also more reliable, meaning that our service costs are lower than those of other companies. So, the total cost of using a Getinge device over a five-year period can actually be lower than that of a less expensive product.

Q: Which would you identify as Getinge’s largest contribution to Mexico’s healthcare system?

A: Our largest contribution to Mexico’s healthcare system is probably our wide range of products. Mexico, especially in the public sector, has problems investing as there aren’t always enough capital resources available to buy new equipment, which can be quite expensive. So, many procedures are made possible in Mexico by the use of integrated service providers which rent services to hospitals. We have seen this with anesthesia, endoscopic and cardio procedures, which are offered on a rental or per procedure basis. Getinge has a wide portfolio of equipment and consumables that are ideal for this business model, including our anesthesia machines, ventilators, sterilizers and life-support systems. Our products that can be sold to integrated service providers that can use Getinge’s financial services to pay for them over a long period whilst renting them to private and public hospitals.

Q: How is Getinge incorporating digitalization and what benefits does this bring to doctors?

A: Getinge is a provider of innovative solutions for operating rooms, intensive care units, cardiovascular procedures and sterilizers for hospitals and for pharmaceutical manufacturers and research centers. Digitalization and the use of technology in healthcare are 100 percent aligned with the way Getinge works with its customers. We prioritize connectivity, traceability, the digital integration of different devices and patient security.

We are now launching a new software called Torin for the optimization of operating rooms. It is a surgical procedure programming software already in use in several countries where it has been shown to increase OR efficiency by 30 percent. We now have our first demo unit for this software in Mexico. Our OR offering also includes the T-Doc software for instrument traceability and the Torin digital integration software; there is a growing interest in OR digital integration but so far it is only implemented in very high-end hospitals or in certain OR’s. Integration of all OR systems can be very expensive and the next natural step for companies will be to reduce costs so that this technology becomes more accessible.

Q: What benefits do your customers get from connecting their devices to Getinge Online?

A: We have two product lines that can be connected to our online service Getinge Online: one focuses on acute care products including ventilators and anesthesia machines, and the other deals with sterilizers. These products are becoming increasingly popular as a growing number of hospitals understand the benefits of connecting their equipment to Getinge Online, which includes instant access to data, remote diagnosis to optimize the devices’ performance, as well as maintenance and remote diagnostics to ensure that  technicians arrive with a full set of tools and parts and are able to fix the equipment on their first visit. However, we have seen some resistance in implementing Getinge Online, mainly from government and military hospitals concerned about data security. But I think that the use of digital communications during the COVID-19 crisis is raising awareness and acceptance of this type of technology. I believe that the use of remote technologies will increase even more after the COVID-19 outbreak. During this time, we are reminding our customers that thanks to Getinge online they may not need a technician to physically check the equipment. Moving toward these types of technologies is a natural process.

In Mexico, the adoption of electronic clinical files is already high; the challenge is in integrating the different systems that are available.

Q: What are the main lessons Getinge learned from the COVID-19 outbreak?

A: We have a wide range of ventilators with different prices and applications but this particular crisis has taught us that one of the most effective unit is the Servo-air. It is not the most inexpensive model but it represents 90 percent of our sales in Mexico. The High Flow therapy option is easy to activate and has proven to be very effective when dealing with COVID-19 patients. This crisis has shown us that the most sophisticated device is not necessarily the most effective for optimal patient outcomes.

We also learned that there was a certain lack of awareness regarding the maintenance ventilators require. We organized a webinar on how we service these ventilators and many participants were unaware of the periodic maintenance required to make sure the ventilators work correctly.

Ventilators have been a priority. Our factory has increased production by 160 percent. Our goal is to produce 26,000 devices this year, of which we expect to install over 400 units in the Mexico, Central American and Caribbean region. Another area of focus is the Stericool, a new low temperature sterilizer. During this crisis, low temperature sterilizers have been highly convenient as their working cycles are very fast and they are delicate with instruments.

Q: What products will Getinge introduce to Mexico this year and what difference will they make in the local market?

A: In Mexico, we are introducing a series of next-generation operating tables and by the end of the year we will introduce two new devices for extracorporeal oxygenation life support. The Mexican market is always asking for reliable, low-cost devices, digital integration and better financing options. We are trying to offer the best financing plans so our customers have access to high-tech products.

We also believe that hospitals have realized that their infrastructure was not adequate to handle the number of patients they received during this crisis so they are considering infrastructure investments in the future. Once our work with ventilators is finished, there is significant work ahead with ORs and sterilizers.

 

Getinge is a global provider of innovative solutions for operating rooms, intensive-care units, sterile reprocessing, cardiovascular procedures and life science companies and institutions.

Alicia Arizpe Alicia Arizpe Senior Writer