Friday, 19 July, 2024
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Life Healthcare pivots from admissions to early diagnosis

Life Healthcare will be focusing on diagnostics and healthcare services as clinical admissions bottom out, and expanding its capacity to check for early signs of diseases – like cancer – by building two particle accelerators near Johannesburg.

CEO Peter Wharton-Hood said the group would be introducing positron emission tomography scans to help doctors detect early signs of health problems

“The natural growth prospects for pure hospital business that are just acute hospital settings-based are not as exciting,” he said.

“It’s predictable, and it’ll return cash. But if you’re looking for growth, we’ve had to pivot our business away from hospitals.”

Rising costs and increased pressure on disposable incomes have left millions of residents in Africa’s slowest-growing economy, after Sudan and Equatorial Guinea, struggling to afford full health insurance packages.

Instead, cheaper insurance packages have become popular, allowing people to tap diagnostic tests that can keep them away from hospitals.

The two cyclotrons are expected to be up and running in the first quarter of next year, reports Bloomberg in Daily Investor.

The company is also considering partnerships with the government, where it could establish hubs in community centres or contracts that enable access to PET scans – which use small amounts of radioactive materials and a special camera to check organ and tissue functions – for public-sector users.

“The use of PET scans in South Africa is a fraction of what happens in developed markets,” Wharton-Hood said.

South Africa performs 330 PET-CT scans per million population, which is considerably behind international standards. Five times the number of scans are performed per million in the UK, for instance.

Another way the group is widening its patient base is by expanding in treatment areas likes kidney care, acquiring local renal clinics that more than doubled its dialysis stations across the country to 1 145. It plans to offer fixed-price deals for dialysis patients that cover the care needed rather than requiring payments for every visit to a clinic or a hospital.

Affordable costs could encourage patients to consider using the clinics more frequently and reduce the need to go to a hospital.

 

Daily Investor article – Life Healthcare’s plans big expansion despite NHI (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Life Healthcare shakes up top echelons

 

Life Healthcare diversifying to counter global regulatory pressures

 

Private healthcare shake-up looms large on South Africa’s horizon

 

 

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