Blog: David Rolfe on Althea becoming world’s largest, independent managed service healthcare provider

“It’s an honour to announce that following the recent acquisition and integration of TBS, Althea has now become the world’s largest, independent managed service provider for the acute healthcare sector.

TBS are a world-leading biomedical and endoscopy company, so the merger is an extremely important step for us strategically.  We can now offer a wider range of services in biomed, endoscopy and in diagnostic imaging across all brands and modalities.

From the outset, Althea’s vision was to create the world’s first large-scale vendor-independent service provider.  The company is made up of over 3000 staff with the healthcare knowledge, clinical expertise, and technical excellence to understand the market and to offer healthcare providers industry-leading services that deliver performance improvements.  The result is a one-stop shop that offers hospitals a high-quality, independent, cost-effective alternative.

We offer hospitals efficiency and flexibility.  We can save them money by doing things in a smarter, more innovative way.  We are customer-orienteered and strive to take that extra step, each and every time. For example, we offer an out-of-hours service as standard.  We don’t disrupt clinical services, rather we free-up clinical time so that it can remain focused on patient care.

Being independent is vital as it means we are not tied to any one manufacturer or supplier and can offer all our customers the most efficient solution for their clinical needs.  This includes integrating our unique consumables management service which ensures life-changing procedures are supported by the most clinically-appropriate consumables in the right place, at the right time.

There is no doubt at all that we are disrupting the market for maintenance and managed services, and the original equipment manufacturers who once dominated the market have a good reason to be worried.  For the first time there is a large, innovative company that is safe and reliable.  We have an exciting twelve months ahead of us and I am excited for the future.”

David Rolfe, CEO of Althea UK & Ireland

Althea’s biomed merger ensures position as world’s largest independent hospital service provider

Althea is the world’s largest, vendor-independent managed service and maintenance provider for the acute healthcare sector, following the recent acquisition and integration of the TBS Group.

In the UK and Ireland, the healthcare service company offers NHS and private hospitals a range of technology solutions including managed services, multi-vendor maintenance, integrated clinical consumables management as well as equipment sales and rentals.

The integration of TBS GB means that Althea can now add endoscopy to complement its existing expertise in biomed and diagnostic imaging equipment.  The company now offers a breadth and quality of service that no-one else in the market can match.

David Rolfe, UK&I Chief Executive Officer comments: “TBS is a world-leading biomedical and endoscopy company, so the merger is an extremely important step for us strategically.  Integrating these services into our extensive portfolio means we are now able to offer a wider range of services than any other provider.”

Althea was originally created when seven leading service providers, each with a long-established track record in their respective markets, joined forces.

From the outset, their vision was to create the world’s first large-scale vendor-independent provider and give hospitals a choice when it comes to the selection, installation and maintenance of equipment.

Being entirely vendor-independent ensures Althea is not tied to any one manufacturer and can offer hospitals the most efficient solution for their clinical needs.

Today, the company is a one-stop shop that offers hospitals a high-quality, cost-effective alternative to original equipment manufacturers.  Althea’s in-house engineers maintain equipment directly to the highest standards underpinned by ISO-certified quality management systems.

David added: “We offer hospitals efficiency and flexibility. We have the healthcare knowledge, clinical expertise, and technical excellence to offer healthcare providers industry-leading services that deliver efficiency savings and performance improvements.  Our mission is to save our customers money by doing things in a smarter, more innovative way.”

Althea changes UK market as the new world-class independent provider

Signalling the most historic change in the medical equipment service industry since the introduction of vendor-independence, eight leading service providers have unified operations under a single brand – Althea. This combination of independent service companies, including Asteral, MESA, and TBS, has significantly increased the choice hospitals now have when they procure equipment and maintenance.

Focused on efficient solutions and reducing whole-life costs, Althea offers an alternative to the traditional original equipment manufacturers. Entirely vendor-independent, Althea’s services cover all hospital areas – from radiology to radiotherapy, from cardiology to biomed.

Althea’s in-house engineers maintain equipment directly to the highest standards underpinned by ISO-certified quality assurance.

With close to 3,000 staff worldwide, Althea is now the largest independent provider of medical equipment services with 1.4 million medical devices under management in more than 1,700 healthcare facilities. Althea focuses on its breadth and quality of service, freeing its customers to focus on patient care.

In the UK & Ireland, Althea offers sustainable healthcare technology solutions including:

  • Diagnostic imaging maintenance
  • Endoscopy maintenance
  • Biomed maintenance and training services
  • Managed services in radiology, cardiology, radiotherapy, endoscopy and biomed
  • Clinical consumable management service
  • Rental of mobile scanners, ultrasounds and endoscopes
  • Pre-owned equipment – buying and selling
  • Ultrasound probe and MR coil evaluation/repair

Althea’s engineers, technicians, and customer service specialists already support over 300 hospitals deliver financial savings and operational efficiencies, whilst making a positive difference to patient experience.

The companies that have been bought together by Althea are:

  • Asteral – managed service provider including integrated cardiology and interventional radiology clinical consumables management
  • MESA, MVS, Spintech, and Sigil – diagnostic imaging multi-vendor maintenance service providers
  • TBS and Higèa – biomed multi-vendor service providers
  • Ed Sloan & Associates – refurbished imaging equipment, spare parts, and engineer training.

Within the new group, an unparalleled network of diagnostic imaging Centres of Excellence have been established in Reading (UK), Milan (Italy), Mikołów (Poland), and Nashville (US) providing Althea with ISO13485-accredited multi-vendor engineer training and spare parts testing facilities.

David Rolfe, UK&I CEO comments:  “Asteral, MESA, and TBS have been pioneering in the UK & Ireland for over 15 years.  Now, as Althea, we have the capability and infrastructure to support clinical teams across all hospital departments – from cardiology to endoscopy, from an infusion pump to an MR scanner.  We use our scale and experience to leverage and deliver high-quality medical equipment, maintenance and clinical consumables in order to optimise patient outcomes, while providing the best possible value at all times.”

Alessandro Dogliani, Group CEO of Althea comments:  “We are at a tipping-point in our industry. There is now so much complex medical equipment in service in hospitals, clinics and health centres that their need for an independent technology partner is essential.  We have launched a company that brings together pioneers and experts from across the industry. Althea can offer a breadth and quality of service that no-one else in our market can match.  We are committed to working with customers to improve healthcare services.”

Althea acquires TBS Group, a European leading provider of clinical engineering integrated solutions

Althea (previously Pantheon Healthcare Group) announced it has completed the purchase of TBS Group S.p.A. (TBS), a European leading provider of clinical engineering integrated solutions.

The acquisition of TBS represents an important step in the consolidation strategy of Althea, who aims to continue the expansion process that was already started by the management for the strengthening of the presence within the existing markets and the entrance in new geographical areas.

Althea and TBS Groups share a strong presence in the Italian market, one of the most sophisticated and evolved markets in Europe, and a strong international ambition, with a complementary presence within European reference markets (UK, France, Spain) and in the US, India and Turkey. The two players have a complementary offer of integrated solutions which will allow to develop a complete range of services to add value to hospitals and diagnostic centres, more and more focused on their core business, seeking efficient and integrated solutions for managing complex medical technologies.

Althea was born in 2014 from the combination of Asteral Limited and MESA Group Holdings GmbH with the Permira funds backing and grew through further 11 acquisitions across Europe and USA. In just a few years, Althea has become one of the main providers of healthcare technology management services in Europe. It has strengthened its management team and successfully integrated the competences of the acquired companies by centralising the supply chain and by creating the only multi-country hub of excellence in the sector, dedicated to the formation and the management of high technology equipment. The Group, led by the CEO Alessandro Dogliani, now operates in 15 countries, managing more than 475,000 medical equipment across over 650 healthcare services which it supports with its pan-European logistic network.

TBS headquarters in Trieste will become a hub of excellence for research and development activities of the integrated group, not only in the existing biomedical technologies, but also for the new frontier of confluence with IT and ICT. Althea will leverage TBS’s competencies to further innovate its clinical engineering activities and ICT integrated solutions, with the goal of developing more sophisticated services for the management of big data and clinical data, also maintaining and strengthening TBS’s collaborations with primary Universities and International Research Institutes, which represent excellence in the bioengineering and innovation fields.

Alessandro Dogliani, Chief Executive Officer of Pantheon, commented: “I am glad of the success of the acquisition which demonstrates the effectiveness of the project from which it originated and unites two excellent groups in a growing and key sector for the efficient and effective management of healthcare technologies in hospitals and in European clinics. It is another important step in the right direction taken by the group and the team that I am proud to lead”.

Diego Bravar, Chairman and Founder of TBS Group, added: “The new partner will allow TBS to carry on its industrial growth and innovation development being part of an outstanding group to which TBS will contribute with its distinctive competences. I believe the new group has many development potentials, both in Italy and above all abroad and I am convinced that the combination of TBS with Pantheon will enhance this growth”.

New maintenance contract now live at Hampshire Hospitals

Althea is pleased to announce the commencement of a new maintenance service with Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The managed maintenance contract covers a selection of diagnostic imaging equipment and will use a carefully considered blend of Althea’s in-house engineers, independent service organisations (ISOs) and original equipment manufacturers resources, all managed by our dedicated Service Centre, ensuring the Trust’s staff have just one point of contact for all maintenance needs.

The Trust, which has around 5,000 staff, has served a population of around 600,000 people across Hampshire and parts of west Berkshire since it was established in 2012.

Jason Long, Althea’s UK&I Business Development Director, commented “We are really excited about welcoming a local NHS customer. We look forward to a growing partnership and hope to be able to offer our great services for more of the Trust’s assets as our relationship develops”.

Althea nominates Stockport for the NW Excellence in Supply Awards 2016

Althea manages 39 items of diagnostic imaging equipment at Stepping Hill Hospital. Over the equipment’s lifetime, the cost of the original equipment manufacturer’s support can be more than the original purchase price. Althea therefore worked with the imaging department heads within the Trust’s Radiology division to agree on the purchase of a maintenance service contract. This bold commitment by Stockport into a multi-year contract with Althea as a single managed service provider has saved the Trust in excess of £140K since 2012.

More recently, Stockport’s team has collaborated with Althea to develop a payment mechanism that provides the Trust with additional cost savings whilst continuing to deliver high-quality services. The Trust will benefit from £70K worth of savings in the first year of the new contract with the potential for a similar level of recurrent savings to be made in each year of the contract moving forwards.

Althea is pleased to announce that following its nomination, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust was shortlisted for the ‘NHS in the North West’s Excellence in Supply Awards 2016’ in the NHS Supplier Engagement category. The awards ceremony took place on Thursday 20th October at the Village Hotel, Blackpool. The annual event provides a unique opportunity to gain national recognition and celebrates private sector organisations working with the NHS for the delivery of high-quality, effective and efficient patient care.

Well done to everyone nominated in each category and congratulations to all of the winners!

Royal Berkshire signs multi-year maintenance contract with Althea

Althea is pleased to announce the expansion of its managed maintenance portfolio with a new service with The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.  The five-year contract went live in March 2016 and has an optional one-plus-one year extension.  The contract covers the high-quality maintenance of diagnostic imaging equipment across the Royal Berkshire Hospital and some of its satellite sites including, but not limited to: three MR scanners, four CT scanners, sixty five ultrasounds and two gamma cameras.

Although the service commenced in March, Althea has delivered an interim service since the beginning of January to assist the Trust as they transitioned from their previous multi-vendor provider.

Procured through a rigorous competitive procurement, Althea provides the Trust with the most economically advantageous service – providing equipment uptimes in excess of 99% as well as a single point-of-contact Service Centre which allows Trust staff to maintain their focus on patient care and optimising patient outcomes.  The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust is a large general hospital serving a core population of 500,000 and a wider population of one million for specialist and hyper acute services. The Trust has a vision to provide sustainable, high-quality care for the local community; a vision which Althea is proud to support from its new headquarters and Centre Of Excellence in Theale, Berkshire.

Althea’s Business Development Director, Jason Long, commented, “It’s great to have a partnership with our local NHS Trust who deliver healthcare to the majority of our own employees and families.  We are building a strong relationship in order to support both the Trust’s vision and their diagnostic imaging strategies over the next five to seven years”.

Higèa announces the acquisition of 80% of Biomedicale S.r.l.

Higèa S.p.A., a company controlled by Althea (formerly Pantheon Healthcare Group), has finalised the acquisition of the 80% of Biomedicale S.r.l., a company owned by Zephyro S.p.A., an Italian company listed at AIM market of “Borsa Italiana” and operating in the healthcare and facility management industries.

With this important operation, Higèa S.p.A., that counts more than 400 employees, a turnover of approx. 100 Millions of Euro and a portfolio with more than 100 Italian and European health facilities, consolidates its leadership in the healthcare engineering services.

This acquisition has a key role in the development process of Althea (formerly Pantheon Healthcare Group), which includes, besides Higèa, other companies such as Asteral, MESA, Ed Sloan & Associates, Sigil, Spintech and MVS.

The Group, founded in August 2014, is at its thirteenth acquisition conducted in several countries, with a focus in European market.

Alessandro Dogliani, Group CEO declares, “An operation in line with the strategies for the growth of Higèa and Althea that will allow us to strengthen our biomedical integrated services, and, thanks to our know-how, to develop the management processes, improving the results”.

This operation, performed a few weeks after the acquisition of Iteon Tecnologie S.r.l. biomedical division, was achieved with the support of Ernst & Young, Giliberti Pappalettera e Triscornia and Maisto e Associati.

Althea acquires IBSL, a leading provider of clinical engineering services

Althea (formerly Pantheon Healthcare Group) announced today the acquisition of Ingegneria Biomedica Santa Lucia S.p.A. (IBSL), a key Italian-based provider of clinical engineering and a large range of biomedical equipment services, from Gruppo Giglio.

Backed by the Permira Funds, the acquisition is part of Althea’s continued geographic and modality growth strategy which launched in August 2014 with the acquisition of Asteral Limited and Medical Equipment Solutions and Applications (MESA); two leading independent healthcare service companies operating within the European market.  The combination created Europe’s first integrated multi-vendor healthcare service platform for procuring, commissioning, managing and maintaining biomedical devices and diagnostic imaging equipment within public- and private-sector hospitals and clinics.

IBSL was born in 1997 from the entrepreneurial idea of Sergio and Bruno Giglio’s long customer-centric experience with outsourcing options for heating systems.  Their biomedical business quickly grew to become one of the leading clinical engineering service providers in Italy, providing direct maintenance to biomedical systems within hospitals and clinics across Italy.  In the ensuing years, IBSL integrated further management expertise and technical competences through the acquisition of D&D Med. Com., Ra.se.co, Gidea Alta Tecnologia and Te.Mo.Sa, further strengthening its position in clinical engineering and expanding its reach in the sector of diagnostic imaging equipment and outsourcing services.

Thanks to an outstanding managerial team, led by Alessandro Dogliani, Davide Gagliardi, Antonio Marino, Angelo Deantoni and Enrico Labella, together with about 300 technicians and highly-qualified engineers directly operating within hospitals, IBSL delivers high quality, affordable clinical engineering services, comprehensive solutions for the supply and maintenance of diagnostic imaging equipment as well as full-service outsourcing opportunities for Radiology departments, currently serving more than 60 hospitals, research facilities and other clinical providers in Italy.

The acquisition of IBSL strengthens Althea’s position as a leading independent pan-European healthcare provider of complete managed solutions for the lifecycle of medical technologies.  With a strong focus on the maintenance, management and sale of equipment for hospitals and diagnostic centres, Althea provides central solutions for markets increasingly requiring comprehensive outsourcing provisions and managed services.  The combination of IBSL and Althea will extend the service offering of the Group, providing a wider variety of equipment services and products and strengthening Althea’s presence in Italy, a key country for its international business development.

Since its inception in August 2014, Althea has continued its growth both organically and though the acquisition of three key vendor-independent high technology equipment service providers: MVS in Poland, Spintech in Turkey, and Sigil in France.

Stockport renews maintenance contract

Althea is pleased to announce that Stockport NHS Foundation Trust has renewed its maintenance service for a further three years. The contract for diagnostic imaging equipment, including two CT scanners, is further to the success of the previous three-year service which began in June 2012.

Our maintenance service is the ISO 9001:2008-accredited multi-vendor managed maintenance service that is designed to reduce costs and maximise equipment availability with industry-leading response and rectification times. Flexible services are available with a choice of cover levels and maintenance providers.

The service at Stockport will provide the Trust with cost savings and operational benefits including: a choice of engineering options; a single point-of-contact service centre for all service requests; guaranteed uptime; and improved detailed reporting on equipment performance.

Martin Thornton, Business Development Manager commented, “We are delighted with the renewal of this contract – it serves as testament to the success of our service and new competitive pricing structure.  Our range of services delivers measurable cost and efficiency savings for the management and maintenance of critical medical equipment. Hospitals are able to make significant savings on their non-pay spend and remodel the way they purchase and implement the maintenance of their medical equipment, achieving improved uptime performance and, in turn, better productivity.”