Business Innovation operating area

Business Innovation is the Group’s incubator for future product areas. This is where Sectra evaluates and utilizes opportunities to commercialize new technologies and new segments in the Group’s main and related areas. The unit also includes new products and services that are not a natural match with the existing operating areas—for example, if the products in question are intended for users in other customer segments.

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.

The Group incubator

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.
  • To develop business models for new products and services.

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, some 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 operating area once the unit has become profitable and accounts for approximately 10% of the Group’s sales.
  • Be integrated into an existing operating 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. This occurred, for example, with the osteoporosis operations in 2017/2018, after it was merged with the Orthopaedics business unit.

Business Innovation currently comprises only medical technology projects, but may be expanded to include projects in other areas in the future. In certain cases, the projects are already profitable business units with existing customers that need to grow further before becoming an independent operating area. The projects must be able to generate a profit within seven years.

Quick facts

Figures refers to fiscal year 2017/2018.

  • Number of employees: 36

  • Revenue: SEK 70 million
  • Customers: Private and public orthopaedic clinics. Educational institutions and hospitals offering basic and specialist medical or veterinary studies, either privately or publicly.
  • Sales channels: Own sales organization and distribution partners within Orthopaedics. Some 40 distribution partners within Medical Education. The business unit’s solutions are also sold as part of Imaging IT Solutions’ customer offerings.

Orthopaedics

Safer surgery using digital planning

The Orthopaedics business unit offers IT systems for image-based planning and follow-up of orthopaedic surgery—for example, hip, knee, spine and trauma surgery. Its solutions are sold as cloud services as well as traditional software installations.

Using 2D and 3D medical images, measurement tools and a library of more than 90,000 implant templates and click guides, orthopaedic surgeons can diagnose and plan orthopaedic procedures with greater accuracy. For hospitals, this type of planning enables a reduction in the amount of costly time spent in the operating theater and in the number of implants that need to be available during each surgical procedure. This, in turn, cut costs and increases capital efficiency. For the patient, more efficient planning and shorter operating times reduce the risk of post-operative infections and other complications.

The area includes several new and interesting products based on visualization and image analysis that can be used for pre-operative planning and post-operative follow-up of patients experiencing pain potentially caused by a loose implant. Repeat implant surgeries represent a growing problem that entails significant costs and patient risks. Sectra’s solution has the potential to have a major impact on healthcare in this area.

The Orthopaedics business unit is currently the market leader in Scandinavia in this niche and commands a strong market position in several other countries, including the Netherlands and the UK. The business unit is also advancing its position in the US.

The way forward

  • Contribute to improved orthopaedic pre-operative planning and reduce the amount of time spent in the operating theater through the development and sale of software and cloud-based services for planning and follow-up based on 2D and 3D images. Focus on expanding the trauma, spine and implant surgery (hip, knee and shoulder) segments through direct sales and in cooperation with implant suppliers.
  • Grow in the regions and countries where the business unit has its own sales organization: Benelux, North America, the Nordic region, Switzerland, the UK, Germany and Austria. Increased focus on the business unit’s own sales organization in prioritized markets, including the US, and establish direct sales in additional markets.
  • Launch the new service for follow-up of orthopaedic surgeries outside the Swedish domestic market.
  • Establish analysis service to facilitate follow-up of new implants during clinical testing, primarily intended for implant suppliers.

Medical Education

Interactive 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 a cloud-based education portal and software for a range of image-viewing systems, such as visualization tables [1], interactive whiteboards and tablets. The solution can also be connected to 3D printers. For a subscription fee, portal users receive access to images from actual patient cases. The cases are shared by other customers, such as universities, training centers and hospitals using Sectra’s solution for medical education. During the year, a large number of cases, mainly related to anatomy, histology and pre-operative planning, were added to the portal. The business unit is currently transitioning from supplying visualization devices for a onetime fee to the subscription model, with a greater focus on content.

Sectra’s solution is used by healthcare personnel, healthcare programs and veterinarians in more than 40 countries in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America, South America and South-East Asia as well as in China. Sales mainly take place through distribution partners. Over the past year, roughly ten new distribution partnerships were initiated in various countries across the world.

The way forward

  • Promote increased activity and cooperation between users of the education portal by expanding the number of patient cases in various areas of clinical expertise.
  • Expand the customer offering by supplementing anatomy training with training in various specialist areas
  • 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 universities.

Sectra is currently involved in approximately ten research projects, including projects in the fields of artificial intelligence and orthopaedic surgery. Projects are also being carried out in the field of digital pathology, which remains an important area for the research team. In recent years, these digital pathology projects have enabled Imaging IT Solutions’ product offerings to be expanded and improved.

Ongoing research projects

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.

Among other projects, Sectra is participating in the Analytic Imaging Diagnostics Arena (AIDA), a project funded by Vinnova—Sweden’s innovation agency— aimed at leveraging the full benefits of AI-based tools in the Swedish healthcare sector. The project serves as a national arena for research into AI for medical image analysis. Based in Linköping, AIDA brings together researchers, healthcare professionals and industry representatives. Sectra is one of the main participants in the project.

Sectra is also participating in a major project in the field of orthopaedic surgery. The aim of the project, run by a large Swedish consortium, is to develop highprecision methods for planning orthopaedic surgeries and post-operative follow-up.

Further reading about the business units

Further reading about Sectras operating areas

 

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