A few weeks ago, Stryker, an international powerhouse in medical technology and one of the largest players in the $35.6 billion global orthopedic market, acquired Ascent Healthcare Solutions, the leading provider of medical device reprocessing and remanufacturing services for hospitals and surgery centers across North America.
It’s an acquisition that underscores the delicate balance the health care sector must strike between three seemingly disparate elements: quality care, cost and sustainability.
Ascent helps customers reprocess and recycle medical products—such as reusable blood pressure cuffs, compression sleeves, and orthopedic external fixation devices—that they would otherwise needlessly throw away. In fact, according to the Ascent website, in 2007, the company saved hospitals and their patients in excess of $100 million dollars in supply expenses, while diverting 3.4 million pounds from community landfills (an estimated $1.6 million in waste savings).
Triple Pundit asked Patrick Anderson, Vice President, Corporate Affairs of Stryker, to fill us in on the details of this new acquisition and what it says about the growing importance of sustainability in the health care sector.
Stryker’s products include: implants used in joint replacement, trauma, and spinal surgeries; endoscopic, surgical navigation, communications and digital imaging systems; and patient handling and emergency medical equipment.
Triple Pundit: “The acquisition of Ascent Healthcare Solutions with its talented team will enhance our value proposition to hospitals and healthcare providers,” Stephen P. MacMillan, Stryker’s Chief Executive Officer, said in press release. Why? What value does Ascent Healthcare Solutions offer?
Patrick Anderson: Ascent Healthcare Solutions presents a compelling proposition in an era of strict cost containment and allows Stryker to be part of the solution for reducing hospital costs. With the acquisition of Ascent Healthcare Solutions, Stryker will create new supply chain strategies to better serve physicians and hospitals in an industry that is under increased pressure to safely control costs while reducing their impact on the environment.
The reprocessing and remanufacturing industry presents us with a large market opportunity with strong prospects for future market expansion. We believe that the partnership between Ascent and Stryker signifies the wave of the future for medical device companies.
3p: What does this acquisition say about Stryker’s commitment to sustainability?
PA: Our move into the reprocessing and remanufacturing market underscores our commitment to preserving the environment. Reprocessing and remanufacturing saves hospitals money and reduces medical waste.
3p: Are there other sustainability initiatives underway at Stryker?
PA: Yes. We are in the process of modifying several of our facilities to reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency, and we are constantly evaluating our business in order to identify areas where we can reduce the waste stream and recycle materials.
3p: In general, how do you think the issue of sustainability is perceived in the health care sector? Obviously, the health care field presents unique challenges to ‘going green.’ How are hospitals and other health care providers working to meet those challenges?
PA: We believe that those in the health care sector understand that environmental sustainability must be part of their business strategy in order to enhance the efficiency and lower the environmental impact of health care delivery. While patient safety and health are the top priorities for hospitals and other providers, they are also looking for ways to operate their facilities in a more cost effective manner while reducing their impact on the environment wherever possible.