In light of multinational diagnostic imaging provider Affidea’s recent acquisition of Brust Zentrum, a Zurich-based breast cancer care provider, we speak to CEO Giuseppe Recchi about the company’s vision to create a pan-European polydiagnostic outpatient platform.
Affidea has bought a majority stake in Brust-Zentrum Zürich, which offers a range of integrated services related to breast cancer, including screening, diagnostic imaging, outpatient consultations, oncology drug treatment and surgical treatment. The company has a team of 80 staff members including 20 specialist doctors (gynecologists, surgeons, oncologists, radiologists) as well as a specialist in genetic counselling.
“Our model for integration is focused on the top-line, we don’t necessarily rebrand the centres we acquire,” says Recchi. “When it’s a company that has been around for some time and has a strong reputation, as is the case with Brust Zentrum, the existing brand carries a lot of value. We will create synergies through creating an outstanding patient experience making the center ‘part of the Affidea Group’, sharing the same culture of excellence and offering the patients and their families a wider spectrum of services.”
He adds: “By combining the strong capabilities of both companies – our footprint, our stellar reputation, capacity, state of the art technology in DI and cancer care and complementarity between diagnostic areas, with their outstanding care delivery model in outpatient and treatment for breast diseases, we are creating together the provider of choice for any health need related to women’s health. We plan to replicate the business model around Switzerland and in the other European countries in which we operate.
“We did a similar operation with Fortius, a reputed UK provider specialised in orthopaedics, where we have in place world-class medical doctors and an integrated pathway in orthopedics from diagnosis to treatment.”
The details of the transaction remain confidential, but the three founders of Brust-Zentrum, Christoph Tausch, Jian Farhadi and Onko Zentrum, will continue to be shareholders and board members.
What synergies can be achieved? “These are primarily on the top-line side – The larger the footprint we have in a country and the more we offer an integrated pathway with advanced diagnostics, outpatient and cancer care services, looking after the patient at every stage from prevention to treatment and follow-up, the more we become the provider of choice for their health-related needs. We always bring on board highly competent, recognised doctors in all specialities that are in high demand. And women’s health is one of the most in-demand areas.”
Recchi emphasises the fact that the Brust Zuntrum acquisition is part of Affidea’s long term strategy to build a broad multidisciplinary outpatient platform linked by diagnostic imaging.
“Our strategy is to obtain a leadership presence in the fragmented market of advanced diagnostic in the countries where we operate while at the same time responding to the increasing demand from our patients for specialised outpatient care,” explains Recchi. “The core of our activity remains digital imaging and the polyclinic centre model that has been proven to be in high demand given the structural under capacity of European infrastructures both for public or private payors.
“Across Europe we see an important gap in the market between hospitals, which are usually mostly public and operate as full service providers, and individual specialist doctors, who operate out of their own facilities and have their own customer base. In between those two models, there is a clear unmet need for high-quality poly-diagnostic centres, where patients can find solutions for their healthcare needs beyond the report of a radiological scan. Globally, 75% of visits to a doctor results in a diagnostic imaging or blood tests requirement and patients expect a high quality service provider that can take care of their full pathway. Hospitals have historically tried to pursue the hub and spoke model since long time. We have built to the scale to be a strong spoke infrastructure”
Is Affidea well-placed to pursue this ambitious vision? “One of Affidea’s competitive advantage is that we’ve succeeded in mastering multiple specialities. We have more than 7,500 doctors which operate under a robust clinical governance, we have a reputed medical board, where key opinion leaders in each speciality sit, led by our Chief Medical Officer. This allows us to cross-share expertise and insights across all 15 countries we operate and to offer patients the same high quality standards in multiple geographies. We have about 320 medical centres, where we see about 12 million patients every year. In most of these countries we’ve reached a critical mass that has brought us to be part of the market leaders. Nobody else has this kind of reach in our industry.
“We’re not planning to expand into hospitals or pharmacy. We plan to continue to grow with polydiagnostic centres adding further specialities according to local demand, always having advanced diagnostics as our core business.”