With ageing populations on the rise and healthcare funding increasingly strained, the capability to enhance patient experience and improve clinical outcomes while also driving efficiencies will make the difference in the healthcare battleground. According to the latest data provided by the World Economic Forum, the global population will rise from 7.6 billion to 9.7 billion by 2050, and the number of people over age 60 will reach around 2 billion1.
In order to meet the new medical demands, healthcare systems will need to undergo a transformation, taking advantage of the power of big data and the AI seduction. This will require from healthcare providers more efficient integration of relevant patient data, leading to precise diagnostics. By tailoring therapy on the basis of the disease and specific patient characteristics, healthcare providers can give the right treatment to the right patients at the right time. The more precise the treatment, the better patient outcomes.
However, a change in the healthcare industry is nothing to be feared. At Affidea, we treat it as a great opportunity to shuffle the deck and lead the transformation pathway for the benefit of our patients and doctors. We started two years ago this exciting journey when we had to rewire our brain, thinking that the role of the innovators and the leaders is granted to the ones who anticipate and lead the change. We never stepped back from setting big ambitions to create long-term value. So, we embarked on a bold journey, having in mind that growth and transformation is in our DNA and it is in our mission to lead the change in healthcare and solve tomorrow’s challenges.
Driving change at scale takes time and resiliency. So we acted with patient care and their needs in mind.
Looking back in the past year, I am proud to see what we accomplished so far.
Expansion at Scale
Since the beginning of 2019, we expanded in 8 countries, adding 40 new centres to our network and reaching now 280 centres at European level with an enlarged portfolio of outpatient care services and subspecialties:
• Ireland, with the opening of three new ExpressCare centres
• Italy with the acquisition of Medicenter and NSL clinics
• Lithuania where the company added MPG centres - doubling its presence in the country - and the private healthcare clinic Ventures, at the beginning of this year
• Spain where we added Manchon Group, a reputed DI provider in Cataluna region
• Hungary, adding the private outpatient provider MSB, located in the biggest shopping malls of Budapest
• Portugal, adding Medicir healthcare provider
• Greece, with the addition of the dermatology chain Athens City Med, opening a new pathway for Affidea in the outpatient area
• Romania, by adding CT Clinic Cluj, a reputed PET/CT provider, expanding our presence in cancer care.
We have a long track record in integrating new centres, organically or through acquisitions. While increasing by 60% the number of our centres only in the last 5 years, we also made great strides in revamping our strategy, portfolio and European footprint.
These latest investments are an important proof of the successful business model expansion, in which we decided to broaden our core operation model based on diagnostic imaging and cancer care to private outpatient care services. With each new investment we make, we look for a proposition that adds value to our patients, providing high quality medical care, as well as the ability to integrate with our current medical services. Adding these new centres to our network will result in best-in-class access for our customers to a wider range of medical services which will enable us to serve them on a much more integrated level.
A Deep-Dive into AI and Sub-Specialty Expertise
Adding centres to our map is core to our success, but so is the development of a strategic position in each country to offer a premium medical service for patients, doctors, PHIs, national health systems and our employees.
2019 was the year when we developed our internal sub-specialty expertise in different areas to address patients needs in a personalised way and we also made the first steps in AI, proving our digital and data-driven capabilities. We have launched and integrated in our operations 5 AI clinical products in 8 different countries:
• Affidea neuroInsight|MS for patients with multiple sclerosis,
• Affidea breastInsight|Mammography for breast cancer screening,
• Affidea lungInsight for lung cancer diagnosis,
• Affidea PETInsight for improving patients experience during PET/CT scans and the latest one
• Affidea LiverInsight for liver diseases.
These advancements were brought to provide our radiologists with greater insight and increase the speed in which they can make accurate diagnoses — effectively giving them superpowers. In the same time, this will help clinicians to better understand the disease development and in turn, optimise patients treatment.
Digitisation for an Improved Patient Experience
Another theme on our growth journey was to implement new digital tools that can help us continuously improve our daily operations, enhancing patient safety and delivering faster, better and more efficient care every step along the patient’s pathway.
We see more than 7 million patients every year in our network of 280 centres, and we always think about their expectations. That’s why, we have introduced KPI dashboards which are meant to offer our teams better insight around our operations, resulting in continuous quality improvement actions and overall improved patient experience.
All the major initiatives we implemented so far on our journey were aimed to create value for patients and doctors by making our services leaner, faster, more integrated, and putting them on the cutting edge of the digital age. All these advancements have positioned the company to be preferred over time for patients, doctors, payors, employees and more valuable for our shareholders.
Moreover, the knowledge that our work improves millions of lives every year is a powerful reward for all of us.
We understood that transformation requires that we stay true to our values and follow our vision in every step of the journey so that our actions can change healthcare for the better for patients and medical professionals in a time when they need it most.
1. World Economic Forum (2020) The Global Risks Report 2020. Available from iii.hm/11m