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The importance of diagnostic procedures in ensuring healthcare quality


15 November, 2017  

Diagnostics play a central role in the practice of preventative medicine and are integral to our understanding of disease.1

Trends such as the increase of chronic diseases and a steadily ageing population also contribute to the growth and importance of the sector.2 In today’s medical landscape the potential of diagnostics goes far beyond simply the identification of disease. Diagnostics can now increasingly be used to anticipate the development of a disease even before the onset of symptoms; they can also predict the progress of a disorder and identify which patients will respond best to different treatments.3

Early diagnosis has the potential to significantly increase the chances of survival.4 An early stage cancer diagnosis typically means the disease has less opportunity to develop and spread, while diagnosis at a later stage means treatment is more difficult.5

For example, the 5-year relative survival rate for men with cancer confined to the prostate is 100%, but when the disease has spread to distant areas the survival rate drops to less than 50%.6 As a result a range of diagnostic tools are needed to detect and assess prostate cancer. There are different types of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests, for example, which can be used to guide decision-making at different stages of the disease. Additionally, advanced ultrasound options, such as colour power Doppler and contrast-enhanced ultrasound can also be used to diagnose prostate cancer, and offer increased sensitivity and accuracy for lesion detection and localisation.7 The latest Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) equipment is also important to meet patients’ rising expectations of a fast and accurate diagnosis.

With the use of state-of-the-art medical equipment, health centres can significantly optimise processes; reduce patients᾿length of stay and cut down overall surgery duration. As a result, costs for personnel and material usage decrease. Patients also benefit from less invasive therapies, quicker healing and higher overall chances of recovery.8

Deferring investment in technology can therefore directly impact productivity and quality of care. The gains in efficiency and productivity that can be achieved through the use of modern technology compensate for the costs of the investment overall and, in the long run, help healthcare providers reduce costs associated with diagnosis.

Keeping pace with technological advancements, however, requires considerable capital expenditure. It is essential therefore for health organisation CFOs to seek alternative and sustainable ways of making the investments in technology. Asset finance solutions such as leasing are gaining popularity as a cost-effective investment-enabler. Such financing solutions spread the cost of the technology over an agreed financing period, with finance payments arranged to align with the expected benefit of the use of the technology, such as improved operational efficiency. This removes the need for a large initial outlay and can help improve cash flow and working capital.  Asset finance enables healthcare institutions access to the latest technologies, while assisting with long-term financial planning.

Tailored, all-encompassing financing packages tend to be offered by specialist healthcare financiers who have an in-depth understanding of the technology and its applications. They are therefore more capable of creating customised financing packages that fit the specific requirements of a healthcare establishment. For instance, specialist financiers are able to flex the financing period to suit the organisation’s cash flow. This contrasts with the standard financing terms usually available from generalist financiers.

Investing in diagnostic equipment is vital to the progress of the healthcare sector. The benefits of faster and more accurate diagnostics are undeniable. The advancement of new healthcare technology however comes at a time of pressure on healthcare budgets. Taking advantage of specialist financial packages enables healthcare CFOs to meet targets of improving patient care while reducing costs and importantly providing patients with more efficient and accurate treatment.

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