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Second time around for costly medical imaging hardware

18 November 2015

Axion Consulting and Philips launch joint project to develop circular economy business models for refurbished medical imaging equipment.

Axion Consulting is working in partnership with Philips on a ground-breaking research project into how UK hospitals could benefit from alternative business models for refurbished high-value medical imaging and ultrasound equipment, offering potentially large savings.

The six-month ‘CircMed’ project, co-funded by Innovate UK, will explore how the proposed circular economy business models for supplying refurbished equipment can work within the UK healthcare sector.

Launched in September 2015, the feasibility study focuses on a range of medical imaging equipment, including MRI scanners, ultrasound equipment, CT scanners, interventional X-ray equipment and mobile surgery.

Feedback via a short survey is being invited from NHS and private sector health professionals, including Trust Board Directors, clinicians, contracting industry groups and managed equipment service providers as part of the study.

The survey aims to gain an understanding of what conditions need to be met for the healthcare sector to adopt alternative business models for high-quality refurbished medical imaging devices.

Axion Consulting Senior Consultant Nichola Mundy says the ‘ambitious’ project could have a ‘significant impact’ on the UK healthcare sector, allowing for a more sustainable future while also increasing the affordability of vital diagnostic equipment for UK hospitals.

“Currently circular economy business models for refurbished equipment are not common practice within the UK healthcare sector,” she says,” yet many other countries, such as Germany, have already benefited from a shift away from the traditional linear value chain.
“We will be examining fresh ideas and alternative business models - similar to car leasing concepts – including the provision of fully-managed equipment services, pay-per-use and incentivised return and reuse.”

An added important benefit would be the preservation of significant amounts of critical raw materials, such as gallium in LCD screens and integrated circuits, beryllium in CT scanners and niobium superconducting magnets and helium for MRI scanners.

“By keeping control of these rare materials that can be harvested for reuse or eventual recycling, we can preserve valuable resources for future generations,” Mundy adds.

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