“We will continue to develop and push the boundaries of innovative technology with the mission to promote smarter, patient-oriented healthcare solutions thereby improving the quality of people’s lives”, says Soo In Cho, Global President, Health and Medical Equipment Business, Samsung Electronics
When and how did Samsung foray into the healthcare domain?
The Healthcare and Medical Equipment (HME) division at Samsung was set up globally in 2009. However, the HME division was established in India in January 2013 and has since merged and absorbed core competencies from reputed healthcare companies such as NeuroLogica Corp, Medison, Prosonic and Nexus. Beside this, the digital radiography, in vitro diagnostics and 5D technologies in ultrasound has emerged through our own research lab.
How do you see the healthcare infrastructure market in India compared to the global market?
India teems with innovation, and its healthcare sector is no exception. There can be no better example than India to illustrate the need for medical technology for improving healthcare delivery. In the second most populous country of the world, the supply of healthcare services falls significantly short of the demand. Existing healthcare delivery mechanisms are inadequate to meet the ever growing needs of the Indian population, especially in smaller towns/rural areas. The limited healthcare facilities available in the country are skewed more in favour of the affluent category of population.
At the high-end, India has worldclass doctors, clinics and technologies, and attracts international medical tourists in growing numbers. However, even today, the majority of India’s population cannot afford anything better than the most basic healthcare. I feel adding just the infrastructure and medical professionals will not be able to solve India’s unmet needs in healthcare. It needs to be supported by technology. An effective and innovative use of medical technology through early diagnosis, better clinical outcomes, less invasive procedures and shorter recovery times has the potential of increasing access, significantly reducing the burden of disease and the load on healthcare delivery services.
There is a need for innovative medical technology solutions to bridge the demand-supply gap. Samsung will continue to develop and push the boundaries of innovative technology with the mission to promote smarter, patient oriented healthcare solutions thereby improving the quality of people’s lives. We are also trying to support affordable and quality delivery with a stronger reach in tier II and tier III cities. One of our focus areas to make it possible is to introduce a wide range of Point- of-Care (PoC) equipment and we have been successful so far.
Samsung has well-established R&D. What are the major factors you focus on when it comes to product design?
We are leveraging our strengths in technology and R&D to offer products that are easier to use, quick and accurate in diagnosis yet have a slim and stylish design. By upholding customer values as its top priority, the company is focusing on time engineering that enhances the efficiency of all products being used in hospitals and clinics. Some of our product highlights include:
5D Ultrasound: Samsung has introduced the world’s first 5D technology enabled ultrasound equipment WS80A. While 5D NT enables realistic visualisation and automated measurement of NT images that help detect Down syndrome; 5D LB allows for easy, automatic detection and measurement of fetal long bones.
Volume NT/IT technology reduces the average scan time by 50 per cent. OVIX, Mirror View and Volume Slice technologies further provide faster diagnosis, while the HD led monitor provides flaw- less image even with the tiny details.
Digital Radiography: Our equipment offers the best quality output with very low dose of radiation, fast- est patient throughput, ease in user operation and patient positioning, in- tegrated automatic exposure control to reduce patient dose and dose area product for reporting and monitoring. It also offers advanced applications like smart dual (dual energy studies) for chest studies and smart stitching for full spine and long bone imaging.
With the incorporation of new technologies leading to increasing equipment prices, how do you ensure to maintain a balance between cost and quality?
Samsung believes in ‘Value for Money’ proposition, We would rather focus on opportunities than challenges and focus on improving the quality of treatment alongside of building doctor-patient relationship by making patient information as transparent as possible. This is not just about a better flow of information, it is also about efficiency, productivity, reducing paperwork and helping clinicians to get on with caring for patients. It is about creating ‘The Smart Healthcare Offering’.
What are the opportunities available for Samsung in Indian healthcare equipment market?
I find India to be one of the fastest growing markets in the field of healthcare. The key in India lies in understanding the principle of ‘affordable and quality delivery with a stronger reach’. And Samsung makes it possible for healthcare to become more patient centric, bolstering trust between caregivers and patients, while delivering higher quality treatment, and saving money by simplifying workflows.
Healthcare has always been an important factor in India, and that is why we believe that there is need to bring together our expertise in electronics and IT technologies for an improved and more complete healthcare experience. We bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the business and are committed to developing and delivering innovative products and holistic solutions for better healthcare experience to both medical practitioners as well as patients.
Samsung provides a consistent cross-channel experience and increases healthcare touch points for expanded services. In India, we currently have four major product lines in healthcare – ultrasound, in vitro diagnostics, digital radiography and mobile CT.
We are considering other categories that will be introduced in India over time. Besides medical equipment, we are also catering to the corporate clientele through the Samsung Enterprise Business, which provides an array of services and solutions that can be tailored across industries. We have an entire range of products and solutions spanning from air conditioners, mobile devices and solutions, display and IT solutions, which along with our healthcare products and solutions can provide an integrated and one-stop solution for hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostics chains, and such.
We want to improve the quality of treatment and build the trust in the doctor-patient relationship by making patient information as transparent as possible
The value of a company heavily depends on the after-sales services and customer support. How do you ensure to provide best services to your customers?
Samsung’s best assets include its service network strength, diversity and reach. With unique service capabilities, we address real world business problems with the best possible infrastructure. Our wide service coverage helps businesses eliminate geographical barriers that stand as an obstacle to operational efficiency.
Bringing a dynamic, end-to-end multi-service network to reality is fuelled by our commitment to service excellence. Our network covers 97 per cent of the geographical area of our country, catering to 100 per cent of our customer base. We are also equipped with a powerful back end support of spare parts and an effective distribution network. Our team of service professionals consists of top product experts in the industry and trained specialists. Our training programs cover product feature to user environment design, installation to trouble shooting and presentation skills. Besides, Samsung CS Academy is admired and recognised as India’s most advanced and exclusive training facility.
What are the plans of expansion and the new avenues worth exploring for Samsung in the healthcare segment in the country?
Samsung has a vision for healthcare: a system that puts the patient at the centre by design. We want to improve the quality of treatment and build the trust in the doctor-patient relationship by making patient information as transparent as possible. This is not just about a better flow of information, it is also about efficiency, productivity, reducing paperwork and helping clinicians to get on with caring for patients. It is about creating ‘The Smart Healthcare Offering’. Samsung will continue to develop and push the boundaries of innovative technology with the mission to promote smarter, patient-oriented healthcare solutions thereby improving the quality of people’s lives. Our continued interest and investment in the healthcare sector will assist us in reaching our overall global growth goals and our 2020 vision to become one of the world’s leading medical device companies.