In Pursuit of Value: The European Market for Healthcare IT

Harris Williams Technology, Media & Telecom professionals are seeing growing investor interest in the European healthcare IT market. This short Q&A shares key insights on that trend from Managing Directors Sam Hendler and Thierry Monjauze and Directors Dan Linsalata and Julien Oussadon.

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Q. What’s so exciting about the European healthcare IT market to private equity investors?

Monjauze: “One important factor is the role of healthcare IT in solving a range of important healthcare challenges and accelerating key initiatives, such as value-based care. That important role will drive growth, which captures investor attention. Another interesting facet of global healthcare IT is the relatively small number of participants. Reaching global scale can be a challenge due to varying regulations and requirements across geographies.”

Hendler: “When we think about healthcare IT, we think about a few key categories. There are healthcare IT platforms that help providers deliver care more efficiently, manage staff more effectively, ensure the right resources are in the right places, and keep digital records safe and secure. Those are all technologies that can accelerate the adoption of the value-based care model.

“What we’ve observed, and what’s exciting, is that while adoption of value-based care in Europe has been widespread, use of these technologies has been more limited. In fact, I’d say that Europe is roughly five to ten years behind the U.S. in terms of technology adoption, while being five to ten years ahead of the U.S. on the path toward value-based care. That dynamic creates a substantial growth opportunity for many of these technologies, since we have the ability to look around the corner, so to speak, in terms of how technology adoption will spread.”

Q. Which specific technologies have the most growth potential?

Linsalata: “In a value-based care world, the goal is to deliver the best care to a large proportion of the population at the lowest possible cost. There are a number of tools that help control costs on the administrative side. Some systems, for example, can help shift patients to the lowest-cost care for their specific needs. You don't need an M.D. to do a blood draw when a nurse can do it, for example. Some systems can also help providers minimize overtime costs, hire more effectively, and optimize supply chain costs. Those are universal problems against which providers can use technology and analytics to deliver the best possible outcome at an optimized cost.”

Hendler: “It’s important to play the clinical side of the coin as well. Fundamental to value-based care is seamless coordination and alignment across the continuum of care. If you have an acute episode, when you show up at the hospital, it's a lot easier for doctors to treat you effectively if they know your full medical history. What have you talked about with your primary care physician? What prescriptions have been written for you? Which prescriptions have actually been filled? Those are all questions that can be addressed through a comprehensive patient record that can incorporate data sources from numerous care settings across the healthcare continuum.”

Linsalata: “In a single-payer system, which most countries in Europe are to a greater or lesser extent, there's ultimately a single entity seeking a more holistic view of you as a patient. Having that longitudinal, holistic patient record is fundamental to value-based care, and single-payer systems are inherently more conducive toward achieving that goal. That’s driving growth and innovation for companies in the space.”

Oussadon: “We’re also seeing some innovative artificial intelligence and internet of things–based technologies that enable real-time patient monitoring for chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular conditions, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and others. These solutions capture patient data and integrate it with hospital systems to drive efficiency and cost savings. They also can improve clinical decision making by providing patient-specific insights, such as earlier and better diagnoses and treatments. Some also use clinical and genomic data to make predictions, such as identifying at-risk patients. All of those capabilities advance the pursuit of value-based care.”

Hendler: “We have met with a number of very interesting European healthcare IT companies poised to take full advantage of this opportunity. We’re excited about what we’re seeing in the industry, and looking forward to continuing to play a role in its growth.”