Synopsis: Based in Belgium, leading medical device design company SYNDEO Medical is on a mission to re-imagine the way healthcare providers access tools they need, by bridging the gap between past and future.
Healthcare teams all over the world are dealing with a complex set of challenges that threaten their sustainability and patient outcomes. Limited funding, regulation changes and supply chain issues have left physicians, surgeons, and nurses struggling to easily access the tools they need to perform essential procedures, at best wasting valuable time and resources, and at worst negatively impacting on patient outcomes.
At the heart of every interventional or surgical theatre lies a combination of essential tools and materials needed to save and improve lives. Everything from basic surgical gloves to gowns, scalpels and intricate medical devices are brought together for every specific procedure, and for decades these were all conveniently provided in customised, sterile packs. This tailor-made approach was what worked for medical teams, and it’s what they came to expect, but over the past five to seven years custom packs have become less procedurally valuable and more standard. Because they tended to be a lower-margin product, often with high production complexity, most companies stopped producing them, leaving healthcare providers with often substandard standard packs instead, often not providing the solutions required.
This “off the peg” approach was initially sold as saving time and money, but this is an industry in which one size definitely doesn’t fit all. The message has changed from “custom packs give you choice and flexibility, based on your individual and procedural requirements” to “a standard pack will meet most of your needs”. But having “most” of their needs met is not what customers want nor what patients need.
On average, every pack contains about 30-40 different components, which means those involved in hospital procurement are having to buy a large number of those products independently, fly them, manage the purchase orders, and deliver. The complexity of producing an additional 10-15 purchase orders with the associated contracts and sales representatives puts a huge strain on patient care, finances and overall efficiency. With doctors and nurses spending hours shopping for specific items of equipment when they want to be focusing on patient care, it’s become clear that another solution is needed.
The best of both worlds
SYNDEO Medical ventures down a third path – instead of doing away with customised packs, it’s reinventing the approach by combining the best of both worlds.
CEO and founder Justin Lampropoulos’ background has been a major contributing factor to this return to “customer-first” thinking. Starting his career with Merit Medical Systems, a leading global manufacturer of diagnostic and interventional devices, Lampropoulos brings over a decade of executive leadership to the table and has witnessed the evolution of interventional procedure packs. Over the years he saw stock unit reduction, margin enhancements and standardisation being prioritised over individual customer needs — and the frustration that went with it. He decided to create SYNDEO with one guiding principle — giving customers what they need, when they need it, regardless of scale. This dedication to enhancing customer relationships and improving care outcomes sets SYNDEO head and shoulders above its competition.
Focusing on radiology and cardiology, SYNDEOPack™ combines all the time-saving advantages of standardised packs with a tailored selection based on specific interventional healthcare needs and more. The company has partnered with healthcare professionals to create customised procedural solutions that are both efficient and improve patient outcomes, whilst bringing additional device content to procedure packs that would normally be found stand-alone; a costly and often inefficient procurement solution.
The manufacturers of many medical device packs tend not to concern themselves too much with the therapeutic properties of each piece of equipment, but SYNDEO challenges this view. Instead of limiting itself to simply making, assembling and marketing bits of kit, the company pays great attention to what healthcare providers need each tool to do. This relies on strong relationships and asking the right questions, so every new job starts with team members and partners spending time in their clients’ medical environments and gaining a deep understanding of their procedures, from initial set up to end of day routines. By gaining first-hand experience of daily challenges, they can create products that are aligned with their own unique set of needs.
A customised approach that saves time and money
Any product that prioritises customisation may be met with some resistance about what it means in terms of cost. After all, customised packs have slowly become less custom because they were regarded as a less affordable option than their standardised successors. But the SYNDEO approach also saves money, thanks to a transparent pricing model.
Medical devices typically follow a pricing order that’s greatly influenced by market trends, competition and customer demand — as demand rises, the prices quickly follow. SYNDEO’s cost plus pricing model instead takes into account the cost of producing each device and adds a mark-up based on the real value of the pack, taking into account important factors like convenience and innovation. By considering actual value and avoiding market-driven inflation (even during the COVID-19 pandemic) customers not only have more visibility and certainty over what they’re spending, but often find themselves paying as much as 50% less for devices when included inside SYNDEOPack versus purchased stand-alone.
One vendor, one order, one delivery
Approximately 80% of the components are vertically manufactured and assembled in direct collaboration with SYNDEO’s strategic partners. This gives the company complete control of the entire process, enabling the team to maintain consistently high standards and manage supply chain speeds, establishing SYNDEO as a company that challenges the status quo. Instead of navigating complex supply chains and all the red tape that goes with them, SYNDEO has the experience and resources necessary to pull all the various different partnerships together. The team is able to work fast — initially market testing only took two weeks — and they’re filling a huge void in the marketplace.
What’s past is prologue
This attention to detail and commitment to building strong relationships with customers is one of the things that surgical teams have missed the most. SYNDEO is going back to what physicians and nurses 1) are accustomed to and 2) need and expect, in order to deliver the right outcomes. Lampropoulos explained, “This was really how this business started in the 1970s – simplifying the supply chain for our customers and for the physicians. Interventional physicians have better things to do than shop for different tools, and we help them get back to what they do best, which isn’t buying a £4 angiographic needle. Whilst we can’t change the outcome of a specific procedure, what we can do is provide all the right tools, all conveniently packaged up, in a way that nobody else is doing.”
By learning from the past, the company has created a solution that works for everyone.
Supporting healthcare’s green agenda
SYNDEOPack also helps healthcare departments reduce waste. Because the tools needed for one surgery may be completely different to the next, many packs contain unused items which end up in landfill. The customised approach means that medical departments only get the tools they need.
Whilst some components still have to be flown in to assemble a completed product, having the vast majority assembled in-house reduces logistics and packaging waste by an estimated 30-40%. The company also offers a new line of green and sustainable eco products, all with an innovative biodegradability profile which represents a significant improvement on current industry standards. Traditionally, a challenge of producing green surgical tools is that it has always been at the expense of product performance. Through strategic partnerships, SYNDEO have been able to deliver the exact same products that customers expect, but with a unique biofilm that allows them to break down organic material up to 50% faster.
The company is always looking for innovative devices that haven’t been incorporated into the procedure pack realm. Customers are delighted to see the return of much-loved devices and the option to make informed choices once again, often giving feedback like “We didn’t know this was possible anymore!” With a presence in over 30 countries and more than 100 different product configurations, it’s clear that the SYNDEO Medical’s procedural innovations are what healthcare providers are accustomed to, need, and will have. Find out more at https://www.syndeomedical.be/