by Gus Iversen
, Editor in Chief | February 18, 2020
From the January/February issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
The European radiology community is preparing to come together for the annual ECR meeting in Vienna. It’s a time for discussing the state of the industry and how to ensure a better year ahead.
HealthCare Business News got in touch with Borja Ribed, CEO of APR Salud, a 20-year-old independent service company based in Spain, to get some insights on what the European market is like for service companies.
HCB News: The independent service market in Europe has grown significantly in the last several years. What are some of the key factors facilitating that growth?
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Over the last decades, the world economy has been opening up with few niches closed to competitiveness and efficiency. Historically, the maintenance of diagnostic imaging equipment had been one of them. Although at different speeds, according to regions and countries the market has been opening to new actors in recent years. Europe could not remain aloof to these changes enhanced by the 2007 crisis, which was a trigger and where price and service of OEMs have been deeply questioned.
HCB News: What factors work against the growth of independent service?
There are two main elements that move the market share in one way or another. On one hand, the movement of OEMs to reduce their service contract prices while they try to increase their service levels. On the other hand the ability of independent companies to adapt their capabilities, processes and services to a growing and, in some cases with dizzying speed, customer demand. These factors, an external market´s approach and an internal one of added value are the pros and cons against the growth of independent services
HCB News: APR Salud has been in business for 20 years, how have the needs of your hospital clients changed over that time?
Healthcare institutions used to focus in the results more than in the patients. A better customer approach was needed in the sector and now is definitely here to stay. Patients are now in the middle of the healthcare service and, therefore, how healthcare institutions are designed, built and managed has changed. In terms of servicing the healthcare institutions, they demand a faster response time, 24/7 attendance, and a higher flexibility in order to adapt to their special needs. In addition, the pressure on prices has been increasing year over year, in public healthcare due to the effects of the crisis and in the private sector due to the sharp increase in policies at a lower price. Last but not least, in year 2014 VAT taxes increased in Medical supplies from 10 percent to 21 percent affecting directly the end users.