Access to new technologies in hospitals has become even more important with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the healthcare field has entered the urgent list of priorities, says Harris Palaondas, Managing Director at SOFMEDICA, a group specializing in the distribution of medical equipment. SOFMEDICA’s investment budget for Romania in 2021 is 1.5 million euros in the development of new teams and partnerships with hospitals.
“During this difficult year, we have managed to maintain our profitability and develop five new robotic surgery programs in the region, as well as introduce new innovative technologies to the market. Thus, we laid the foundations of robotic surgery programs that we developed in the Pelican Hospital in Oradea, in Sanador Hospital in Bucharest and in Provita Hospital in Bucharest in the beginning of 2021”, said Harris Palaondas.
The main challenge in 2020 was to manage travel restrictions and ensure patients’ access to new medical technologies. However, due to the transformation of many hospitals into COVID units, surgeries were reduced, which also influenced SOFMEDICA Group. SOFMEDICA SA, the largest company in the group of the same name, reported business of 107.5 million lei in 2020, down 5% from the previous year.
“The slight decrease in turnover was generated mainly by the forced reduction of elective surgical procedures (medical interventions that can be scheduled – ed.) in hospitals throughout the region where we are present. Their number has decreased in both the public and the private sector as a result of government ordinances to ensure the availability of ICU beds for patients diagnosed with COVID. In most public hospitals in the region, only 30% of elective surgeries are performed, ” said Harris Palaondas.
However, in the context of the health crisis, hospitals needed equipment, from medical ones, to ones that ensure the normal operation of the medical unit.
“We have provided hospitals with more than one hundred high-performance equipment, some of which have applicability for the COVID disease, such as surgical smoke evacuation equipment, for hemodynamic monitoring in intensive care and for performing bronchoscopy for diagnostic purposes. We have also launched two new robotic surgery programs, ” Palaondas added.
The criteria that hospitals must meet in order to receive medical equipment depend on the medical staff, on the facilities of the respective hospital with an intensive care unit, SOFMEDICA creating integrated programs through which they bring the robotic surgery technologies on the market. The cost of such a program, which means tools, training, service, software upgrades are between 2.5 million euros and 5 million euros.
The investment strategy of SOFMEDICA Group aims to increase the number of employees by 15 people, most of them recruited from Romania, but also to develop new partnerships with technology manufacturers. SOFMEDICA’s medical equipment suppliers are largely from the United States. In total, 1.5 million euros from the total budget of 3 million euros are destined for the Romanian market.
SOFMEDICA is part of the Group of the same name, which has four more companies on the market – Emerald, Medcity, ISLE and MediLeasing, and develops innovative medical technology programs. The countries in the region where they are present, besides Romania, are Greece, Cyprus, Hungary and Bulgaria. The shareholder is Georgios Sofianos, a citizen of Greek origin, according to public data, who is also the CEO of the Group.