Equipping the growing private healthcare market with up-to-date diagnostic technology

As the demand for radiology services increases, private healthcare providers need access to innovative financing methods in order to ensure patients can access the best diagnostic technology

Penny Pinnock

Penny Pinnock, sales manager for healthcare and public sector at Siemens Financial Services (SFS) in the UK, examines how asset finance can support the upgrade of radiology and diagnostic technology in a growing private healthcare market

The private healthcare market in the UK is expected to grow from more than £8.84billion in 2016 to over £10.6billion by the end of 2025.

At the same time, the clinical demand for radiology services in England continues to rise.

As competition in the private healthcare sector increases, providers need to be equipped with the most up-to-date technology to ensure they are ready to meet demand and attract patients

Between 2013-2016 both magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans saw an increase in use of more than 30%.

Much of this growth in the private healthcare market and in radiology services is being driven by patients opting to self-pay for diagnostics tests and elective procedures, such as hip and knee replacements, rather than pay for ongoing health insurance, often as a result of growing NHS waiting lists.

And, as competition in the private healthcare sector increases, providers need to be equipped with the most up-to-date technology to ensure they are ready to meet demand and attract patients.

In particular, self-pay customers want fast and accurate diagnosis and healthcare treatment that they may not be able to access from the NHS.

Additionally, access to modern radiology and diagnostic imaging technology is fundamental in detecting conditions early and accurately, enabling better health outcomes for the patient.

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

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.

At the cutting edge of diagnostic technology, exciting developments are currently in progress with super-magnet imaging that will have a particular impact on neurologic and oncological diagnosis and research

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

Modern scanning equipment and technology allow for greater throughput, which means more patients are scanned per day and waiting lists are shortened.

At the cutting edge of diagnostic technology, exciting developments are currently in progress with super-magnet imaging that will have a particular impact on neurologic and oncological diagnosis and research.

Smart software developments are also appearing on the market which allow, for instance, rapid set-up change so that research imaging happens at night while therapeutic diagnostics operates through the same unit during daytime patient hours.

However, keeping pace with technological advancements requires considerable capital expenditure and therefore 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.

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 competition and the continuous evolution of progressive medical technology solutions

Put simply, finance payments are arranged to align with the expected benefits that result from the use of the technology, such as improved operational efficiency.

By removing the need for a large initial outlay, finance arrangements like these can help improve cash flow and working capital. Additionally, they have the potential to incorporate other costs such as installation, as well as introducing 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.

SFS, for example, provides cost-effective financing solutions for a wide variety of medical equipment, enabling healthcare organisations to acquire the solutions they need without having to commit precious capital budgets.

The collaborative work between SFS and Siemens Healthineers provides perhaps the best illustration of the sheer range of integrated financing solutions available from specialist providers in today’s marketplace.

This range of solutions includes SFS’s flexible leasing arrangements, enabling the acquisition of particular equipment, through to enterprise-wide arrangements where Siemens Healthineers provides data driven consultancy to drive sustainable improvement, enabling technology, training, maintenance and support, technical staff, even facility design and associated building works – all wrapped up into a single, transparent annual charge.

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

This approach reflects the developing trend in healthcare towards outcomes-based medicine, expanding access to precision medicine, transforming care delivery, and improving patient experiences, all enabled through digitalised healthcare technology.

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 competition and the continuous evolution of progressive medical technology solutions.

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