Update 11 April 2023

Update 11 April 2023

I hope that you have enjoyed a nice Easter break and have had reasonable weather. Here in the Netherlands, one of the “attractions” of spring is that we get four seasons in one day. Relatively quiet on the healthcare front in combination with Easter, but as always, there is always news to report:

  • Judge reverses ACM decision on Mediq’s acquisition of Eurocept Homecare. Will they try again?
  • The Minister of Healthcare announces measures to improve healthcare IT. Will his ideas work?
  • Overview of promising Dutch healthcare start-up: Screenpoint Medical, a specialist in breast imaging and machine learning

Judge reverses ACM decision forbidding Mediq’s \acquisition of Eurocept Homecare

In an earlier update we wrote about Mediq being refused permission to acquire Eurocept Homecare by the ACM (The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets). The sales process to Mediq was stopped and GIMV sold its shares in the company to Mike van Woerzel (the entrepreneur who started the company).

Mediq went to court to contest the decision by the ACM and a judge recently decided in their favor. In his decision the judge stated that the ACM had not sufficiently substantiated its claims that a merger would result in one company having excessive market power in the home infusion market. Based on the wording in the press release from Mediq it does not appear that the company will reopen discussions with Eurocept Homecare.


Minister announces measures to improve healthcare IT

In an update last year we talk about the growing unhappiness about the very high profitability of Dutch providers of EPD systems for hospitals (Chipsoft, with a profitability of almost 50%), the high degree of vendor lock-in and the limited opportunities for seamless data transfer between operators with different IT systems. Based on this the ACM carried out an investigation into the pricing of EPD-systems, and the large program to restructure the Dutch healthcare system (IZA) has a focus on eHealth and digital transfer of data as one of its spearpoints.

In a recent follow-up, The Minister of Health (Ernst Kuipers) recently announced an “action plan” for healthcare IT. Key dimensions of the plan include:

  • More top-down oversight and direction from the Ministry
  • A code of conduct for suppliers of IT-solutions for the healthcare sector including potential limitations on profitability
  • The development of technical and legal requirements leading to a required certification for IT-systems to be used in the healthcare sector
  • Higher tariffs and other financial support for operators using certified IT-solutions
  • Courses and training modules for managers of healthcare organizations to improve their overall understanding of the links between operational aspects and IT systems and to improve their dealings (negotiations, etc.) with IT-suppliers. In addition, the training modules will try to get managers to reduce the use of custom solutions and work towards general solutions
  • Help operators join forces in purchasing IT-systems

Reducing the spend on legacy IT systems and improving the overall IT-landscape through standardization and improved transfer of data between systems and organizations is certainly key drivers for improving the overall Dutch healthcare system. It is also something that requires coordinated action in order to succeed. Therefore, more coordination and input from the Ministry is a good thing, and hopefully it will be successful.

Snapshot of promising Dutch healthcare start-ups: Screenpoint Medical

Screenpoint Medical was founded in 2014 by two professors who were / are leading experts in quantitative breast image analysis and computer aided detection. The focus of the company is using smart IA for early breast cancer detection and diagnosis. The company’s main product, Transpera, is FDA cleared and is used daily in more than thirty countries. Screenpoint appears to have a close relationship with Siemens.