$3bn Imaging AI sector will re-shape industry after watershed 2019/20

Imaging AI solutions which can read images just as well as radiologists are now demonstrably effective medical products that will revolutionise the medical imaging industry forever. $1.5bn in VC funding has been ploughed into companies developing solutions whose tech promises to transform diagnosis and improve operational efficiency. We talk to five of them who've commercialised products in 2019/20, for-profit operators using them, and look at the sector in detail in this long-read feature.

Muted electronic patient record rollout in Germany

Just 2% of publicly insured Germans have registered to see their electronic patient record (ePA) since access was made mandatory at the beginning of the year. Many either don't know it exists or are worried about data privacy, HBI hears. That settles some answers to the question of whether it's worthwhile giving patients access to their own data.

Rede d’Or’s payors losing market cap

Analysts covering Brazil's largest private hospital Rede d'Or have projected a 25% rise share price after its $2.2bn IPO last month. However, the sustainability of its fee-for-service business model in the long-term has been questioned by some. Its insurers are slowly losing market cap to integrated players.

Goodgrower buys back 20% Vithas stake, with HM merger “impossible”

Spain's second-largest for-profit hospital chain Vithas will be 100% owned by the founding Gallardo family after their family office Goodgrower agreed to buy the 20% stake held by Criteria Caixa, a bank investment arm. What does it mean for Vithas' M&A plans and the rumoured merger with rival HM Hospitales? We talk to a Spanish advisor.

UHCG faces tough call in Brazil

Amy Shaw, the incoming CEO of UnitedHealthcare Global (UHCG), the world's largest owner of for-profit hospitals in emerging markets, faces tough choices. UHCG, the international arm of US insurer UnitedHealth, has a colossal headache in Brazil, by far its largest market. For instance, reports suggest UHCG may have to pay R$1bn to shift its personal policy portfolio in a deal which has already been sweetened by the addition of several hospitals. There is speculation that, like Cigna in the 1990s, which wrote off some US$500m on medical plan Golden Cross, that UnitedHealth may decide to exit Brazil completely. A full pull-out looks unlikely, but the full year 2020 results to be announced on Wednesday, January 20 may well see big write-offs. 

Ramsay Sime Darby targeting $300m spin-off IPO

HBI understands that Malaysian/Indonesian hospital group Ramsay Sime Darby has appointed banks for a $300m IPO. One side of the JV says that expansion in healthcare is a key strategic focus, the other appears notably quiet about its investment in Asia. FY2020 saw profits drop for "the first time in many years" as COVID struck.

Vaccine tours to claw back medical tourism losses

A handful of medical tourism hubs are starting to organise 'vaccine tours' in a bid to replace lost revenue, HBI hears. The idea is to fly the wealthy to somewhere they can get a COVID-19 jab.

How the world’s largest consumer PE house views healthcare

At HBI 2020 we interviewed Chinta Bhagat, a managing partner at private equity house L Catterton, the world’s biggest private equity investor in consumer products and retail, about the destruction of the general hospital and the new digital models that will replace it. “If you don’t have digital embedded in everything you do in such a way as to give the customer a choice of how to interact with you, your business will eventually be destroyed,” he says. Bhagat should know, he led McKinsey’s healthcare practice in Asia for many years and at Khazanah Nasional was intimately involved in the creation of Pan-Asian hospital chain IHH. He is now scouting the world for digital healthcare investment opportunities.

Digital coaching start-up Liva Healthcare raises €24.5m

Digital coaching group Liva Healthcare has raised €24.5m, led by Verlinvest, as it targets expansion into Germany and Benelux states. CEO Andre Sode tells HBI that providers using the tool can better monitor up to five times more patients annually.

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