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ISO consolidation matters, and it won’t stop soon

Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | August 07, 2015
Business Affairs CT MRI X-Ray
From the August 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Personal connections may be exchanged for 24/7 centralized customer service, and a back end that is driven by documenting customer queries. “If the company that is doing the acquiring is strong and communicates well, and the acquired company or individual had a good relationship with the company, it will strengthen the relationship and bring more skill sets and faster response to the table,” says Biddle.

“The downside is if you have a small company that does a great job for the customer and they’re acquired by a company that is bottom-line driven and lacks the same mindset for customer care.” Alvarez says hospitals are often very happy with their small ISO, but may not realize the limited supply of resources at their disposal. “These companies have a few engineers, they have small buildings, they have limited quality processes, many are not ISO certified, and many don’t have a lot of parts,” Alvarez said.

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He believes these highly capable engineers — as well as the hospitals they serve — only benefit from the added resources of a larger company. With few exceptions, Alvarez says those engineers acquired by BC Technical remain contracted with the hospitals they already have relationships with. “Part of our integration plan involves making sure we communicate with all customers and vendors of the target entity we’ve acquired,” says Fall, “to communicate what the change means for them.

”For key customers and vendors, Oxford sometimes arranges face-to-face meetings with those entities to make sure they understand how valued their business is. Fall points to the size and stability of Oxford as the ultimate selling point to the customers of his newly acquired companies. “We tell people that with Oxford Instruments they’ve got a publicly traded company that’s been in business since 1959 and invented the superconducting magnet, while retaining the third-party pricing advantage.”

The situation in Europe

According to Sloan, European ISOs are going through a growth pattern that mirrors the one taking place in the U.S. — except they are a few years behind, and trying to manage additional challenges. “In Europe you’ve got multiple countries and currencies, language barriers, customs, lots of nuances with those issues. How you conduct business is altogether different,” says Sloan.

But the demands are similar. The European health care industry is facing “lower reimbursement and tighter margins, so providers are looking for cost-effective ways to service and upgrade,” says Sloan. Some companies based overseas have started tapping into the U.S. market.

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