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Althea and Samsung Collaborate to Benefit X-ray Services in Leicester

Althea has delivered state-of-the-art imaging systems to Leicester General Hospital (LGH), through their long-term vendor-independent managed service.

The managed service includes a guaranteed planned capital replacement programme, which covers all of the hospitals plain X-ray rooms.

As part of this agreement, Althea has now installed the 2nd of the Samsung GC85 DR imaging systems on time and on budget. All equipment installations are planned, and project managed by Althea’s Implementation & Technology experts. LGH chose the new Samsung GC85 after reviewing Althea’s summary of all available systems on the market.

The GC85 is a world beating, fully automated, digital suite designed to reduce physical stress on users, increase patient throughput and to deliver superb quality images.

The new equipment features Samsung’s intuitive 3 step workflow which takes the user easily through worklist, acquisition and review. LGH will be able to share their lightweight detectors across all the departments Samsung equipment, adding greater flexibility and reducing costs. The pioneering detectors offer a high DQE, so low dose, but still maintain the ability to deliver the highest quality images.

Andy Mear, Plain Film Superintendent, says “The installation of our second Samsung room went very smoothly and we have seen huge benefits to our patients from the transition to DR which was superbly supported by Althea and the MIS applications team. This room significantly benefits the staff due to the reduced physical effort required to operate the equipment.“​​

Integrated Technology and Smart Innovation

With the NHS facing a growing financial crisis, Althea has once again attracted press attention for the innovative cost-saving measures it offers hospitals.

David Rolfe, CEO of Althea UK & Ireland, has been interviewed by The Clinical Services Journal (CSJ) to discuss how Althea is helping hospitals make significant cash and efficiency savings each year.

CSJ, a major UK-based monthly magazine for healthcare professionals, talks about how the rising demand for care from a growing and ageing population has left many UK hospitals strapped for cash.

The general consensus is that the NHS needs more money, and a recent report produced by the Institute for Public Policy Research suggests this figure is an extra £50 billion a year above inflation by 2030 and a further £25 bn a year in productivity savings.

As a pioneering global organisation, Althea is driven by a commitment to provide better healthcare and is focused on improving patient outcomes. This is achieved by offering NHS trusts and private hospitals a range of technology solutions such as managed services, multi-vendor maintenance, clinical consumables management, and refurbished equipment sales/rentals.

“Althea was created when eight leading service providers, each with a long-established track record in their respective markets, joined forces,” said David.

“From the outset, the vision was to create the world’s first large-scale, vendor-independent provider and give hospitals a choice when it comes to the selection, installation and maintenance of equipment. Being entirely vendor-independent ensures that the company is not tied to any one manufacturer so that we can offer hospitals the most appropriate solution for their clinical needs.”

Today, Althea is a one-stop shop that aims to offer hospitals a high-quality, cost-effective alternative to original equipment manufacturers. With close to 3000 staff worldwide, the organisation is said to be the largest independent provider of medical equipment services, with 1.4 million medical devices under management in more than 1700 healthcare facilities.

The article spotlights on the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL), one of the biggest and busiest NHS trusts in the country, to highlight how they are benefiting from Althea’s breadth of services.

“Our approach is to help them make direct savings by converting the lifetime variable costs of managing their critical equipment into efficient and predictable operational costs,” said David.

“We have the healthcare knowledge, clinical expertise and technical excellence to understand the market and to offer healthcare providers industry-leading services that deliver performance improvements.”

Click here to read the full article.

Althea out and about

Last year Althea attended a host of medical conferences in the UK and overseas. These included technology events such as RSNA and BMUS, which we visited to keep abreast of the latest technologies being released, as well as HCSA and HFMA where we exhibited as a key opinion leader to set future industry trends.

First on the list was RSNA 2018 in Chicago, where Althea’s Operations Director Andy Brown accompanied the technology team visiting manufacturers to confirm the Radiology technologies being released next year. The team looked at new equipment and technology on the market as well as upgrades to existing technologies and new software packages. In addition, there were lectures available on global research being carried out on medical advances in Radiology. This in-depth knowledge allows Althea to stay ahead of the game, advise customers on the best products available and continue to be the market-leading vendor-independent managed service provider.

Althea’s Technology team attended the 50th Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS) in Manchester. Althea has 41 ultrasound replacements planned for 2019 and attending this meeting allows us to review the clinical capabilities of all of the systems available.

In November, Althea’s team exhibited at the HCSA (Health Care Supply Association) Annual Conference and Exhibition in Cardiff. The HCSA is dedicated to promoting the role and importance of staff engaged within NHS procurement and supply chain management and is affiliated with the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS). This year the exhibition was all about ‘value’ – a thread that ran through all the sessions.

Althea’s messaging was focused on technology management savings through maintenance and managed services, and what Althea could do for NHS trusts. Speaking at the event was Althea’s UK Business Development Director Jason Long whose presentation looked at how the future might look for biomedical equipment management. Jason presented ideas around how to achieve value once all the easy cost saving wins had been achieved.

Finally, in December, Althea exhibited at HFMA Annual Conference 2018. This year’s annual conference, which is classed as the most important event in NHS finance, focused on the theme ‘Brighter Together’. The three-day congress gave Althea the opportunity to speak to some of the prominent figures in the NHS along with key policy makers, politicians, clinicians and professional and technical experts.

Asia watches Althea’s equipment in action

Althea were delighted to support Leicester’s Hospitals’ cardiologists and cardiac surgeons perform a live Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) procedure to colleagues across Asia.

The procedure, which was carried out using an array of Althea’s CT, MRI and ultrasound scanners, was transmitted live from the cardiac catheter lab at Glenfield Hospital. It was watched by 21,295 international health professionals from 36 countries as part of the 29th Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology and Asia Pacific Structural Symposium and China Structure Week.

Thanks to the internet, IT and the team working earlier than usual the procedure was performed live from 5am UK time. It was the first time a transmission was purely delivered online. Previously, satellite has been relied upon which is not as seamless.

The world-recognised TAVI procedure allows heart valves to be implanted using a catheter. The procedure is minimally invasive and means patients, particularly the elderly, do not have to undergo open-heart surgery.

Before the procedure the patient requires either a CT scan or an ultrasound to confirm the size of the aortic root and the degree of classification and competency of the valve.

Althea also procured the correct size of valve required for the procedure, specific to the patient’s anatomical specification.

Ruben Olivier explains: “Althea procured the item via the bespoke althea P2P product catalogue system and the supplied it in time for the scheduled procedure. We were also on hand to collect the item from the hospital delivery point to check when it arrived at the hospital to confirm it had arrived undamaged.”

“As part of our role we recorded the serial number and the device is tracked and traced within the Althea inventory management system. Once the valve is implanted, it is scanned with our point of care scanners and recorded against the patient ID number. This follows the NHS recommended Scan4Safety protocol.This allows for tracking the valve in the event of a MHRA recall or field safety notification.”

After the implant, the patient will undergo a secondary scan to assess the position of the valve to confirm the successful outcome of the procedure.

Althea have a monthly clinical governance meeting where the implanted items are monitored, and the continuous safety and quality of the implant is recorded.

Althea proud to sponsor UHL Caring at its Best Awards for fourth year running

The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust ‘Caring at its Best Awards’ took place on the evening of 27th September 2018 at The Athena, attended by over 500 staff, volunteers and supporters including Althea’s Senior Commercial Manager & Associate Director, David Brand and Leicester Service Manager, Robert Mason.

The awards recognise and reward Trust staff who are inspirational and committed to colleagues and their patients. The event included awards for: ‘We treat people how we would like to be treated’, ‘We do what we say we are going to do’, ‘Volunteer of the Year Award’ and ‘Caring at its best’ which was a publicly nominated category. The ceremony saw an overall winner selected by their external judges from the finalists of the quarterly heats from throughout the year.

Bereavement Services were selected as winners of the ‘We are one team and we are best when we work together’ category, proudly sponsored and presented by Althea for the fourth year running.

A huge well done to all nominees and winners.

Blog: David Rolfe on Althea becoming world’s largest, independent managed service healthcare provider

“It’s an honour to announce that following the recent acquisition and integration of TBS, Althea has now become the world’s largest, independent managed service provider for the acute healthcare sector.

TBS are a world-leading biomedical and endoscopy company, so the merger is an extremely important step for us strategically.  We can now offer a wider range of services in biomed, endoscopy and in diagnostic imaging across all brands and modalities.

From the outset, Althea’s vision was to create the world’s first large-scale vendor-independent service provider.  The company is made up of over 3000 staff with the healthcare knowledge, clinical expertise, and technical excellence to understand the market and to offer healthcare providers industry-leading services that deliver performance improvements.  The result is a one-stop shop that offers hospitals a high-quality, independent, cost-effective alternative.

We offer hospitals efficiency and flexibility.  We can save them money by doing things in a smarter, more innovative way.  We are customer-orienteered and strive to take that extra step, each and every time. For example, we offer an out-of-hours service as standard.  We don’t disrupt clinical services, rather we free-up clinical time so that it can remain focused on patient care.

Being independent is vital as it means we are not tied to any one manufacturer or supplier and can offer all our customers the most efficient solution for their clinical needs.  This includes integrating our unique consumables management service which ensures life-changing procedures are supported by the most clinically-appropriate consumables in the right place, at the right time.

There is no doubt at all that we are disrupting the market for maintenance and managed services, and the original equipment manufacturers who once dominated the market have a good reason to be worried.  For the first time there is a large, innovative company that is safe and reliable.  We have an exciting twelve months ahead of us and I am excited for the future.”

David Rolfe, CEO of Althea UK & Ireland

Althea’s biomed merger ensures position as world’s largest independent hospital service provider

Althea is the world’s largest, vendor-independent managed service and maintenance provider for the acute healthcare sector, following the recent acquisition and integration of the TBS Group.

In the UK and Ireland, the healthcare service company offers NHS and private hospitals a range of technology solutions including managed services, multi-vendor maintenance, integrated clinical consumables management as well as equipment sales and rentals.

The integration of TBS GB means that Althea can now add endoscopy to complement its existing expertise in biomed and diagnostic imaging equipment.  The company now offers a breadth and quality of service that no-one else in the market can match.

David Rolfe, UK&I Chief Executive Officer comments: “TBS is a world-leading biomedical and endoscopy company, so the merger is an extremely important step for us strategically.  Integrating these services into our extensive portfolio means we are now able to offer a wider range of services than any other provider.”

Althea was originally created when seven leading service providers, each with a long-established track record in their respective markets, joined forces.

From the outset, their vision was to create the world’s first large-scale vendor-independent provider and give hospitals a choice when it comes to the selection, installation and maintenance of equipment.

Being entirely vendor-independent ensures Althea is not tied to any one manufacturer and can offer hospitals the most efficient solution for their clinical needs.

Today, the company is a one-stop shop that offers hospitals a high-quality, cost-effective alternative to original equipment manufacturers.  Althea’s in-house engineers maintain equipment directly to the highest standards underpinned by ISO-certified quality management systems.

David added: “We offer hospitals efficiency and flexibility. We have the healthcare knowledge, clinical expertise, and technical excellence to offer healthcare providers industry-leading services that deliver efficiency savings and performance improvements.  Our mission is to save our customers money by doing things in a smarter, more innovative way.”

Tenth Althea managed service contract signed with Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

Althea is pleased to announce the service commencement of its tenth vendor-neutral managed equipment service, at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.  The 10-year partnership, which has optional extensions up to a further 10 years, will oversee: the ongoing maintenance of all Radiology assets, the provision of an integrated clinical consumables management service, as well as a major asset replacement programme and departmental re-design.

By January 2019 the Trust will have 19 new items of Radiology equipment and increased their CT and MR capacity by 50% allowing for the repatriation of clinical services.  A new 3T MR scanner is being funded through charitable donations and a new cardiac-enabled CT scanner is being funded through the service.  Other new items to be delivered include three DR retrofit mobile x-rays, two fluoroscopy suites, a bone densitometer, two injectors, two surgical c-arms, five ultrasounds, and two x-ray rooms.

In order to accommodate the new CT and MR scanners Althea’s in-house design team have worked with the Trust to improve the department, introducing new ultrasound, CT, MR, and fluoroscopy sub-locations as well as an upgraded Radiology main reception.  Althea’s re-design services are fully aligned with ISAS’s patient-focussed assessment and accreditation programme and will: improve patient experience ensuring privacy and dignity, maximise patient safety by ensuring issues like infection control are built into design, and provide a staff working environment conducive to maximising clinical time.

As well as equipment replacement the service includes high-quality maintenance of all clinical imaging systems.  All maintenance activities are performance-managed by Althea’s single point-of-contact Service Centre which is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Sunday as standard.  Maintenance is being delivered by a flexible combination of original equipment manufacturers and independent service organisations (ISO) including Althea’s on-site and field-based engineering teams.

Althea’s ability to deliver value is further enhanced by the integrated consumables management service which will deliver both cash-releasing savings and significant operational efficiencies for the Radiology, procurement and finance teams including: stock optimisation, spend management, and supplier rationalisation.  Althea’s service includes a stock management IT system and on-site staff to deliver cost controls, eliminate stock out events and stock loss.  The stock management system will also provide high-quality procedure-level cost data that integrates into the Trust’s PLICS.  The service reduces non-clinical activities for the clinical teams in the areas of stock management and re-ordering, while ensuring they retain full control over the selection and choice of consumables.

Althea’s CEO, David Rolfe explained “We are delighted to enter into this long-term partnership with Musgrove Park Hospital.   Our vendor-neutral managed service has been tailored to the hospitals specific needs and is the most cost-effective way to ensure their patients have access to the latest diagnostic technology in first-class, patient-focussed facilities.”

Adam Turner, Operational Manager in Diagnostic Imaging at the Trust, said he was excited by the hospital’s new partnership with Althea.  “Thanks to this new partnership, we will be able to create much-needed additional capacity, along with reinforced confidence in our ability to continue to provide a high-quality imaging service.  With a larger demand on our imaging services, it is reassuring that our existing equipment will be refreshed as it means we can continue to keep up with new radiological techniques.”

Musgrove Park Hospital is a district general NHS hospital providing care to a population of over 340,000 as well as specialist services for the whole of Somerset, making a catchment population around 544,000.  Every year Musgrove Park Hospital sees over 41,000 patients admitted as emergencies and makes around 235,000 diagnostic imaging examinations.  The hospital has around 4,000 staff, and an annual budget of circa £250M.

Althea changes UK market as the new world-class independent provider

Signalling the most historic change in the medical equipment service industry since the introduction of vendor-independence, eight leading service providers have unified operations under a single brand – Althea. This combination of independent service companies, including Asteral, MESA, and TBS, has significantly increased the choice hospitals now have when they procure equipment and maintenance.

Focused on efficient solutions and reducing whole-life costs, Althea offers an alternative to the traditional original equipment manufacturers. Entirely vendor-independent, Althea’s services cover all hospital areas – from radiology to radiotherapy, from cardiology to biomed.

Althea’s in-house engineers maintain equipment directly to the highest standards underpinned by ISO-certified quality assurance.

With close to 3,000 staff worldwide, Althea is now the largest independent provider of medical equipment services with 1.4 million medical devices under management in more than 1,700 healthcare facilities. Althea focuses on its breadth and quality of service, freeing its customers to focus on patient care.

In the UK & Ireland, Althea offers sustainable healthcare technology solutions including:

  • Diagnostic imaging maintenance
  • Endoscopy maintenance
  • Biomed maintenance and training services
  • Managed services in radiology, cardiology, radiotherapy, endoscopy and biomed
  • Clinical consumable management service
  • Rental of mobile scanners, ultrasounds and endoscopes
  • Pre-owned equipment – buying and selling
  • Ultrasound probe and MR coil evaluation/repair

Althea’s engineers, technicians, and customer service specialists already support over 300 hospitals deliver financial savings and operational efficiencies, whilst making a positive difference to patient experience.

The companies that have been bought together by Althea are:

  • Asteral – managed service provider including integrated cardiology and interventional radiology clinical consumables management
  • MESA, MVS, Spintech, and Sigil – diagnostic imaging multi-vendor maintenance service providers
  • TBS and Higèa – biomed multi-vendor service providers
  • Ed Sloan & Associates – refurbished imaging equipment, spare parts, and engineer training.

Within the new group, an unparalleled network of diagnostic imaging Centres of Excellence have been established in Reading (UK), Milan (Italy), Mikołów (Poland), and Nashville (US) providing Althea with ISO13485-accredited multi-vendor engineer training and spare parts testing facilities.

David Rolfe, UK&I CEO comments:  “Asteral, MESA, and TBS have been pioneering in the UK & Ireland for over 15 years.  Now, as Althea, we have the capability and infrastructure to support clinical teams across all hospital departments – from cardiology to endoscopy, from an infusion pump to an MR scanner.  We use our scale and experience to leverage and deliver high-quality medical equipment, maintenance and clinical consumables in order to optimise patient outcomes, while providing the best possible value at all times.”

Alessandro Dogliani, Group CEO of Althea comments:  “We are at a tipping-point in our industry. There is now so much complex medical equipment in service in hospitals, clinics and health centres that their need for an independent technology partner is essential.  We have launched a company that brings together pioneers and experts from across the industry. Althea can offer a breadth and quality of service that no-one else in our market can match.  We are committed to working with customers to improve healthcare services.”

Althea proud to sponsor UHL Caring at its Best Awards for second year

The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust ‘Caring at its Best Awards’ took place on the evening of 7th September 2017 at The Athena, attended by almost 500 staff, volunteers and supporters including Althea’s Senior Commercial Manager & Associate Director – Managed Services, David Brand and Leicester General Manager, Robert Mason.

The awards recognise and reward Trust staff who are inspirational and committed to colleagues and their patients. The event included awards for: ‘We treat people how we would like to be treated’, ‘We do what we say we are going to do’, ‘We focus on what matters most’ and ‘Caring at its best’ which was a publicly nominated category. The ceremony saw an overall winner selected by their external judges from the finalists of the quarterly heats from throughout the year.

The Acute Stroke Multidisciplinary Team based in Emergency & Specialist Medicine (ESM) at Leicester Royal Infirmary, were selected as winners of ‘We are one team and we are best when we work together’ category, proudly sponsored and presented by Althea. The stroke team work together with the sole aim of providing high quality stroke specialist care to all stroke patients. They strive to meet national and local targets to give patients the best start in their stroke rehabilitation.

A huge well done to all of the winners.