CircMed project: New business models for refurbished medical equipment wanted

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Investigation of high-value medical equipment (Foto: Axion)

Bramhall, UK – How could UK hospitals benefit from alternative business models for refurbished high-value medical imaging and ultrasound equipment, offering potentially large savings? To answer this question, resource efficiency specialist Axion Consulting is working in partnership with Philips, a world leader in the supply of medical imaging systems and therapy devices, on a ground-breaking research project.

The six-month ‘CircMed’ project, co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency 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. 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.

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. Axion Consulting, part of the Axion Group, supplies the expertise, knowledge and necessary skills to implement projects in the Circular Economy sector. 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.”

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

Source: Axion Consulting