Comment: Modernising healthcare technology with specialised finance

Chris Wilkinson, head of sales for healthcare at Siemens Financial Services in the UK, examines how specialist technology finance can support the upgrade of healthcare technology

Chris Wilkinson

Developments in digitalised technology are having a profound effect on the delivery of modern healthcare, helping to provide more-efficient and accurate treatment for patients.

Newer equipment enables healthcare providers to reduce operating costs due to lower expenses for maintenance and, through increased utilisation, decrease the cost per patient

Advances in nuclear medicine imaging, for example, have led to improvements in the detection and identification of age-related conditions such as cancer, dementia, heart disease and other diseases, which enable treatment at a stage when it is often simpler, more effective, less costly and less invasive.

Hospitals, for example, can make significant gains by investing in the latest CT scanning equipment.

The use of up-to-date machines enables them to diagnose more patients earlier and with more accuracy, as well as provide more targeted treatments, with fewer and less-severe side effects and higher treatment success rates.

Additionally, newer equipment enables healthcare providers to reduce operating costs due to lower expenses for maintenance and, through increased utilisation, decrease the ‘cost per patient’.

Modern scanning equipment allows for greater throughput, which means more patients are scanned each day and waiting lists are reduced.

These developments continue apace. Cutting-edge technologies are currently being developed to positively impact the way healthcare organisations conduct research and diagnose illness.

Keeping pace with technological advancements requires considerable capital expenditure. In times of budget cuts and austerity, acquiring the latest healthcare technology may seem out of reach for many healthcare providers

For example, super-magnet imaging will have a particular impact on neurologic and oncological diagnosis and research.

Smart software developments will allow rapid set-up change so that research imaging happens at night, while therapeutic diagnostics operate through the same unit during daytime patient hours.

The financial and healthcare benefits that result from investment in early, accurate diagnostic technology are widely recognised as far outweighing the cost of treating a lifetime of ill health.

Despite this, our ageing population and rising rates of chronic illnesses are putting increased demand on healthcare services at a time when healthcare budgets continue to be squeezed.

Keeping pace with technological advancements requires considerable capital expenditure. In times of budget cuts and austerity, acquiring the latest healthcare technology may seem out of reach for many healthcare providers.

As a result, specialist technology finance solutions such as transition finance, technology upgrade, and pay-for-outcomes options are gaining increasing acceptance as a means of enabling cost-effective investments in new technologies.

Such financing solutions spread the cost of the technology over an agreed financing period, with finance payments arranged to align with the expected benefits of the use of the technology over time, such as improved operational efficiency.

By choosing to work with a specialist provider of technology finance for the installation or upgrade of their diagnostic imaging technology, healthcare organisations can take important steps to providing appropriate healthcare against the background of increasing demand and the continuous evolution of progressive medical technology solutions

Financing arrangements remove the need for a large initial outlay, and can help improve cash flow and working capital. Additionally, financing arrangements have the potential to incorporate other costs such as installation, as well as introduce the flexibility of future affordable technology upgrades, in line with technology developments.

Healthcare providers can then deploy precious funds in other areas to improve service quality while keeping their lines of credit intact.

Such tailored financing packages tend to be offered by specialist healthcare financiers that have an indepth understanding of healthcare technology and its applications.

They understand the profound impact that up-to-date technology can bring to daily operations and can expertly evaluate any associated risks. They are, therefore, more able to create customised financing packages that fit the specific requirements of each individual organisation – for instance, by flexing the financing period to suit the customer’s cash flow needs. This contrasts with the standard financing terms usually available from generalist financiers who often lack a thorough understanding of the healthcare sector as well as technical expertise.

As well as supporting other healthcare technology providers, Siemens Financial Services (SFS) finances equipment from Siemens Healthineers. This enables healthcare providers worldwide to achieve better outcomes at lower costs by empowering them on their journey towards expanding precision medicine, transforming care delivery, improving patient experience and digitalising healthcare.

By choosing to work with a specialist provider of technology finance for the installation or upgrade of their diagnostic imaging technology, healthcare organisations can take important steps to providing appropriate healthcare against the background of increasing demand and the continuous evolution of progressive medical technology solutions. This is likely to bring longstanding benefits to the healthcare and life science sectors as a whole.

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