Update 28 February 2023
Welcome back to another update on the Dutch healthcare sector. Here in the Netherlands we have had a typical February with winter refusing to let go but with some days that are beautiful and smell of spring. In this update we cover:
- Capacity for rehab-care reduced as supplier stops. Will tariffs be increased?
- Actief Zorg continues buying spree. Will it sell part of a recent acquisition?
- Philips stops activities in e-health solutions. Can multinationals be successful in this space?
- Overview of promising Dutch healthcare start-up: Ksyos, a “digital hospital”
Capacity for rehab services reduced
Inovum is a typical Dutch non-profit care company serving the elderly population is a limited geographical setting with a broad range of services. The service portfolio of Inovum ranges from domiciliary care to nursing home care. As most traditional non-profit elderly care companies Inovum is in a situation where it has to make strategic portfolio choices. Inovum has decided to stop providing geriatric rehabilitation care and short-term stay for the elderly.
This choice is not surprising. We have written before about the financial problems of the rehab sector and how the healthcare insurance companies need to increase tariffs. While Inovum is a fairly small organization, the services it provides play a crucial role in getting elderly patients out of expensive (and sorely needed) hospital beds. It will be interesting to see whether other operators looking at their overall service portfolio also decide to stop providing rehab-care.
Actief Zorg continues buying spree (but might be selling as well)
Actief Zorg is a growing commercial Dutch homecare provider that we have written about extensively earlier (see here for a snapshot of the company). Actief Zorg has been proactively following a strategy of growing through acquisitions of other homecare companies. Typically, these companies have been (almost) bankrupt or low-performing.
In an update in July 2022 we discussed the acquisition of Arons Thuiszorg. This company consisted of two parts, a homecare company and a maternity care company. Actief Zorg recently announced that the homecare activities of Aron Zorg have been 100% integrated into Actief Zorg, but that the maternity care activities will continue working under their old name (Arons Kraamzorg). Is this a sign that Actief Zorg wants to sell this business? This is the only maternity care activity within the group, and maternity care is not a very attractive business sector. We will keep you updated.
Philips stops activities in e-health
Vitalhealth was purchased by Philips in 2017 and was actively positioned as Philips’ innovative developer of e-health applications for the elderly and for patients with chronic diseases such as COPD, heart issues, diabetes and depression. Until recently Vitalhealth had 110 employees.
As you have probably heard, Philips is facing very large claims related to its sleep apnea products and is going through a process to reduce costs and focus investments. As part of this process Philips has announced that it is shutting down Vitalhealth (apparently it has not been able to find a buyer for the company). It was also announced that Philips is closing EPD Solutions (a company producing 3D real-time imaging technology that was bought for €250 million in 2018).
It appears to be fairly difficult for large companies that require solutions that are scalable across borders to be successful in the markets for IT/e-health solutions that are highly dependent on local laws, financing forms and healthcare sector structure. We can see this in the Netherlands where the absolute market leader in hospital EPD-systems is a local company (ChipSoft) and Dutch-focused companies such as Avinty are local champions for EPD systems for long-term and social care.
Snapshot of promising Dutch healthcare start-ups: Ksyos
Ksyos was established in 2001with a focus on dermatology. Since then it has grown to 110 employees and has steadily expanded its areas of expertise. It is now positioned as a “digital hospital” helping GPs and patients deal with low complex issues in areas such as obesity, dermatology, sleep-related issues, mental health, cardiology, ophthalmology and pulmonology. Ksyos partners with GPs who can forward their patients immediately to Ksyos instead of a physical hospital (with witing lists for an appointment). On the delivery side Ksyos partners with specialists in each of its core areas who diagnose and suggest treatments. Interactions with patients is “digital when possible, physical when necessary”. The degree to which Ksyos has contracts with the healthcare insurance companies varies per focus-area. In the areas in which it does not have a contract with all the insurance companies Ksyos will cover the costs that the insurance company does not restitute to the patient.