Business Innovation operating area

Business Innovation includes the Orthopaedics and Medical Education business units as well as Sectra’s research department. Business Innovation also manages and develops Sectra’s patent portfolio.

Where we are headed

Sectra’s long-term goals for its Business Innovation operations are:

  • To contribute to better care for patients by solving difficult and important problems encountered by Sectra’s
    customers.
  • For research projects to validate clinical benefits or lead to new and innovative solutions that add value for customers in Sectra’s niche areas, thereby offering significant international business potential.
  • To build and manage a strong patent portfolio in Sectra’s key areas. Sound scientific and medical evidence is
    essential in healthcare, and implementing new technologies and methods is often a long process and associated with high risk. As a result, many research and other early-phase projects will never grow to any major degree.

In the long term, the business units in Business Innovation are to be managed in one of the following ways:

  • Form a new business area once the unit has become profitable and accounts for approximately 10% of the Group’s sales.
  • Be integrated into an existing business area. This occurred, for example, when digital pathology was transferred to Imaging IT Solutions in 2014, due to the major synergies identified.
  • Be sold to an external party if this proves to be the best solution from a financial standpoint. This occurred, for example, with the business unit for low-dose mammography products, which was divested in 2011. Sectra also sold a number of patents in 2015.
  • Be discontinued if the unit does not offer sufficient potential.

Quick facts

Figures refers to fiscal year 2016/2017.

  • Number of employees: 37
  • Revenue: SEK 65 million
  • Customers: Private and public orthopaedic clinics, universities and other institutions engaged in medical education.
  • Sales channels and geographic presence: Own sales organization and partners, such as Zimmer Biomet in 17 countries within Orthopaedics. Some 30 distribution partners within Medical Education.

Where we are now

Business Innovation is the Group’s incubator for future product areas that do not naturally fit in as part of the existing business areas, since the products in question are intended for users in other customer segments.

This is where Sectra evaluates and promotes opportunities to commercialize new technologies and new segments in the Group’s main and related areas.

Through Business Innovation, Sectra participates in research that can lead to a better quality of life for the individual, increased customer value and cost savings for healthcare and society.

Business Innovation currently comprises only medical projects, but may be expanded to include projects in other areas in the future. In certain cases, the projects are profitable business units with existing customers that need to grow slightly before becoming a business area of their own. The projects must be able to generate a profit within seven years. The solutions offered by Sectra through Business Innovation are increasingly being delivered online as cloud services.

Orthopaedics

Safer surgery using digital planning

The Orthopaedics business unit offers IT systems for image-based planning and monitoring of orthopaedic surgery – for example, knee, hip and trauma surgery. Using 2D and 3D medical images, measurement tools and a library of more than 75,000 implant templates, orthopaedic surgeons can diagnose and plan orthopaedic procedures with greater accuracy. For the patient, digital planning reduces the risk of postoperative complications. For hospitals, the number of implants that need to be developed for each surgical procedure decreases. This reduces inventory costs and increases capital efficiency. Sectra’s solutions for orthopaedic surgeons are sold as a cloud-based service and as a traditional software installation.

The way forward

  • Grow in the countries where the business unit has its own sales organization: Austria, Benelux, France, Germany, Italy, North America, Scandinavia, Switzerland and the UK.
  • Increase sales of cloud-based services for planning joint replacement surgeries, for instance through collaboration with implant suppliers.
  • Grow in the trauma segment through sales of the planning tool using 3D images. Primarily through extended collaboration with existing customers.
  • Launch new services for monitoring orthopaedic surgeries, initially in the Swedish domestic market.

Medical Education

Visualization technology improves medical education

By interacting with medical images from actual patient cases, students and resident physicians are provided with a better understanding of anatomy, bodily functions and variations, and better knowledge about various cases. Sectra offers software for a range of imageviewing systems, such as visualization tables, interactive whiteboards and tablets. The solution can also be connected to 3D printers. The offering includes a cloud-based education portal that gives the user access to images from actual patient cases from other customers, such as universities, training centers and hospitals using Sectra’s solution for medical education. Sectra’s solution is currently available for healthcare personnel, healthcare programs and veterinarians in more than 40 countries in Africa, China, Europe, the Middle East, North America, South America and South-East Asia. Sales mainly take place through some 30 distribution partners.

The way forward

  • Encourage more customers to actively use the education portal by expanding the portal to include more patient cases in a range of fields.
  • Grow in key markets, such as the US and China.

Research

Sectra’s research department conducts and participates in projects to produce clinical evidence for existing technology as well as to create new products – all in an effort to boost the company’s long-term business value. The department is home to seven researchers, two of whom divide their time between Sectra and various universities

Ongoing research projects

Sectra is currently involved in approximately ten research projects, including a new project in the field of orthopaedic surgery. The aim of the project, run by a large Swedish consortium, is to develop high-precision methods for planning orthopaedic surgeries and post-operative monitoring. Since 2012, Sectra has also been involved in two major projects aimed at developing digital diagnostic methods based on microscopic images used in pathology. As a result of these projects, pathologist reviews of tissue samples have now been facilitated and become more efficient through computer support for workflows and diagnostic processes, such as the time-consuming task of cell counting.

One of the research projects in the field of digital pathology aims to establish a national network in Sweden. The current shortage of pathologists is creating bottlenecks in many cancer processes, resulting in prolonged lead times. Accordingly, it is crucial that the expertise and capacity of existing pathologists be utilized more effectively, not only when it comes to diagnostics but also for training pathologists.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an underlying theme in much
of the research department’s work.

Sectra’s researchers are working on solutions that combine AI and visualization, focusing on how physicians control and adjust computer results. Earlier work in this area has been incorporated into new product versions in both pathology and orthopaedics. At RSNA 2016, a major radiology trade fair held in Chicago, Sectra also presented its prototype for a machine learning algorithm for automatic labeling of spinal vertebra using MRI images. Automating relatively simple but tedious tasks frees up time for other tasks where human specialists are truly indispensable.

Further reading about the business units

Further reading about Sectras operating areas

 

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