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Redefining the diagnostic PPP model

Euromedic International is fast becoming one of the most successful pan-European diagnostic imaging providers through its outstanding value proposition and unique care delivery model
Zoltán Szepesi
Chief Operations Officer,
Diagnostic Division,
Euromedic International
With more than two decades of experience in the healthcare industry, Euromedic International has always been a pioneer in delivering cutting edge medical services in Europe. Year after year, Euromedic professionals touch the lives of millions of people, meeting the converging needs of patients, employees, healthcare authorities and corporate investors alike. Euromedic’s positive impact on healthcare services has been built on solid Public–Private Partnership (PPP) agreements. Developing the PPP model has allowed the company to fully fund and operate a highly effective network of medical facilities, selling their services back to the national health authorities. Over the past 20 years, capitalising on its success, Euromedic managed to build a truly pan-European network of 135 medical centres across 15 European countries. 
Euromedic prides itself as being on the front line of investing in state-of-the-art technologies and high-end solutions for the healthcare market. The company’s value proposition focuses on three key areas of patient care: (i) state-of-the art diagnostic imaging examinations; (ii) cancer treatment services; and (iii), clinical laboratories. Annually, over 14 million examinations and treatments are performed in Euromedic facilities. 
Providing accurate health information before, during and after treatment allows for the prevention of illness, or for the most effective therapeutic intervention. The pace of technological development requires large continuous investments by healthcare authorities. The company’s diagnostic arm, Euromedic Diagnostics, has developed a network of 110 multimodality imaging diagnostic centres, located within public hospitals, as well as stand-alone facilities in 14 countries, providing state-of-the art medical imaging services to more than three million patients annually. The company operates more than 600 high-end diagnostic systems, including 105 MRIs, 84 CTs and 14 PET CTs. As a result, patients receive efficient medical service almost around the clock in a location convenient to them.
Redefining and extending the model
Although the PPP model has proved to be successful in central Eastern Europe, the company had to extend its business model in order to fit into the new paradigm of healthcare services provision. This was possible by redefining and developing its care delivery model and value proposition. 
High-quality imaging services have multiple stakeholders, and Euromedic’s care delivery model is designed to improve value for them all. Diagnostic services stakeholders are:
  • Patients who encounter the service and facilities and who have the primary experience with the service setting
  • Physicians who refer patients for imaging services and are interested in medical technology and the quality of the service, and 
  • Authorities of the public healthcare system who regulate the operating environment and bear the cost of the service. 

The redefined Euromedic PPP model offers value for all of these key stakeholders.

Positive patient experience
Positive patient experience is at the core of the imaging service. Patients experience the service settings with various elements like access, appeal, efficiency, wait times, reporting time, privacy and information provided prior to and during the examination. To make sure that all critical elements of customer service are provided, Euromedic runs bi-annual patient satisfaction surveys in all medical centres. By listening to customer feedback, the company is able to learn and continuously provide the highest value service to them.
Proven medical outcome
Proven medical outcome is critical for the quality of the service. Although in most cases the patient has limited understanding of the medical technologies and procedures, medical quality is key to the success of their care. Referring physicians can often influence the patients’ choice of medical provider, and Euromedic’s mission is to provide diagnostic investigations with medical excellence for the benefit of our patients and the medical community, which means to consistently provide the highest possible medical quality. To do so, Euromedic recruits highly skilled professionals, provides continuous medical training programs and employs state-of-the-art medical technologies and safety procedures. Euromedic ensures the highest medical quality through second opinion and ongoing clinical audits.
Performance improvement
Performance improvement is the third key element of the Euromedic care delivery model, and is crucial to ensuring the value for all stakeholders. Performance improvement provides fast and easy access to safe medical treatments for patients; advanced examination techniques, providing answers to the physician’s clinical questions and even lower costs for the public healthcare system. Due to different operating models and high diversity of service portfolios, performance improvement initiative is also diversified. Euromedic runs several standardisation projects, which enhance the application of best practices among the centres working in various formats and offering different service portfolios. 
Performance improvement covers the main operational areas of service settings. The workflow optimisation is ensured through a comprehensive Lean management initiative, through which the company builds the value stream map of the imaging procedure to build optimum workflow from the appointment centre to the medical report. This considers various aspects of service provision and allows for maximising value not only for patients, but for all Euromedic stakeholders.
Optimisation of the installed base
Another major aspect of performance improvement is the optimisation of the company’s installed base. Euromedic’s service portfolio is broad, and the company built its business mainly through acquisitions; therefore, a significant portion of the company’s medical installed base is also highly diversified. The main critical elements of installed base optimisation are having a continually maintained replacement plan, the optimised throughput of imaging scanners, patient safety and service uptime. 
Euromedic optimises its installed base with a three-year rolling replacement plan on all equipment, taking into consideration market dynamics, technological developments and patient safety trends. In addition, Euromedic looks to optimise throughput of imaging scanners with an ongoing process targeting standardisation and optimisation of examination protocols, shortening examination time and increasing patient comfort. All of this contributes to the patient experience and the efficiency of the medical practice without compromising the medical quality and clinical value of the study for the referring physician. Optimisation also increases patient accessibility to advanced examinations by better utilising existing machine capacity.
Second class service is unacceptable
A significant portion of Euromedic services are provided on the grounds of hospitals and are often a part of the country’s emergency medicine system. In these centres, Euromedic provides life-saving procedures and treatments that require 24-hour standby of equipment and medical professionals to be able to react to a trauma patient coming at any given moment. Euromedic diagnostic systems, therefore, must be reliable, ready to service patients and have maintenance engineers immediately available in the event of a technical problem with the machine. When patients’ lives are at stake, second-class service is unacceptable.
In 2009, Euromedic took an innovative step in the European marketplace to optimise maintenance of its installed base while maintaining high quality service. Following intensive preparations, Euromedic established partnership with a Swiss-based company, Medical Equipment Solutions and Applications (more commonly known as MESA) as its pan-European independent provider of maintenance service for its diagnostics installed base.
One major advantage of working with a multi-vendor service provider such as MESA has proved to be the great visibility it provides on all types of equipment performance across key indicators that improve service reliability. These include metrics such as the uptime of the equipment or the response time of system engineers in the event of an equipment problem. 
For a large-scale equipment owner such as Euromedic, having a single point of contact for all equipment service in itself was an immense help in simplifying processes and understanding the state of the company’s operating efficiency and equipment performance across all of its imaging centres. In 2012, Euromedic managed to achieve an overall equipment uptime of 99.1%. 
It is this devotion to developing an outstanding value proposition and unique care delivery model that helps Euromedic as it grows into one of the most successful pan-European diagnostic imaging providers.