Technology Facilitates Minimallly Invasive SurgeryWed, 09/07/2016 - 11:10
Q: What are the results you have had in 3D image-guided surgery and how do you commercialize this?
A: We have six business areas: Diagnostic Imaging, Advanced Therapies, Ultrasound, Laboratory Diagnostics, Point of Care and Services. 3D image-guided surgery is part of Advanced Therapies. Siemens used to be concentrated on the diagnostic phase of prevention, diagnostics, therapy and monitoring. We are now expanding our products to the therapy phase. 3D image-guided surgery falls directly into the third phase. Our solutions facilitate the work of the surgeon as we are guiding the surgery, so the outcome is assured. Our therapy phase solutions provide alternatives to invasive procedures. This results in important savings from both surgery and recovery phases. With minimally invasive procedures, the patient can sometimes return to their normal activities much faster.
Q: What are Siemens Healthineers' innovations in terms of digital health?
A: Digitalization is one of the main market trends. It could definitely help with the mismatch between the budgets and costs of health systems. A clear trend is the prevalence of mobile applications. We are paying close attention to market trends and transformations. This is vital for Siemens’ strategy globally and for Siemens Healthineers. Just like in our services area, we have a digital services line of business. We are investing greatly in this area. We have the typical solutions such as picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), radiology information system (RIS), and laboratory information system (LIS).
We are also exploring new alternatives because in emerging countries we are still moving from analog systems to digital. It is vital to invest in this as we know everything will be 100 percent digital at some point. We also have a cloud-based platform (TeamPlay) where clients can share information and results with the rest of our clients at a global level. This allows them to discuss new treatments and different results. There are many solutions we are offering and that we want to offer in the digital era.
Q: What separates Siemens Healthineers and its medical imaging devices from those of your competitors?
A: We are the only company that covers 100 percent of the diagnostics field. Probably less than 5 percent of diagnostics are based solely on physical examinations. One possibility is to base a diagnostic on an image of the body, while another is to use laboratory tests. Siemens is the only company to cover both imaging (in vivo) and lab tests (in vitro).
As for our medical imaging devices, of course we want to differentiate them from those of our competitors. More than US$1 billion was invested in R&D in 2015 and we registered around 1,500 new patents. Every innovation has to go through our internal filters and provide advantages in three fields: the clinical field, the operational field and the financial field. An innovation that provides wonderful clinical advantages but does not bring financial advantages may not be feasible.
Q: What are the main benefits of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach that you have?
A: Managing equipment services (MES) is one of the many solutions we offer our clients. It is an alternative to the typical purchase of equipment. In the case of PPPs, we believe this is a good solution as usually, a PPP is longterm. Examples from Mexico show PPPs last around 20- 25 years. An advantage of MES is that you can reduce the initial capital investment and this capital expenditure is turned into operational expenditure. Our clients have a reduced need for initial funds and they can also easily predict operational expenses over the term of the project. This differs from the traditional route of us selling the equipment, then after the expiry of the warranty providing maintenance contracts. In this case, we still own the equipment so we are responsible for maintaining it. The client instead is buying a service. We are sharing the risk because they are paying based on performance.
At this moment, we have several projects in the funnel but none is being fully implemented. This model works well in mature markets such as the US and Europe.