'We're showing that it can be done, even as a relatively small player’
This summer, Alphatron Medical in Rotterdam will be delivering the portal that will enable all hospitals in the Netherlands to exchange radiology images and reports safely and quickly online. It's a major breakthrough, and not just because it will finally put an end to the endless stream of DVDs being sent between healthcare institutions.
While the team from Alphatron Medical, which is distributed in hospitals throughout the Netherlands, is currently working hard on the implementation of their portal, CEO Harald Verloop explains what 'winning' the Twiin national tender means for the Rotterdam company. ‘For us, this is the icing on the cake, after years of perseverance,' he says. ‘We've had this technology available for ten years. It's been used very successfully in various parts of Germany. We tried to get all the Dutch hospitals connected at that time. But as a relatively small player, you're not readily received at management level. We simply couldn't get a foot in the door.’
According to Verloop, what also didn't help was that the Netherlands had, for a long time, employed a pull-model, in which healthcare institutions would receive all the relevant patient information from other healthcare institutions at the push of a button. ‘It’s the holy grail, and we also recognise that this is the ideal manner. Technically feasible, but very difficult to achieve due to other factors such as privacy and system variances. At Alphatron, we are fairly pragmatic: How can you achieve maximum efficiency gains as quickly and easily as possible? In this case, by employing a push-model: Sending patient information in a secure environment ‘along with’ the referred patients. Our portal solves up to 80% of the traffic between healthcare institutions.’
Intuitive, simple and secure
Through the Alphatron portal, all the hospitals in the Netherlands can upload and download medical images and reports to and from other healthcare institutions. It includes a national address book. Verloop: ‘It's hard to imagine, but the transfer of this data is often still done by DVD. In hospitals, this logistic process employs many discs. It’s time consuming and there’s the risk of losing confidential medical information; after all, a DVD can easily be misplaced or lost. For emergency transfers, they sometimes even have to switch on the sirens. With our application, it's just a matter of selecting documents and the recipient and then sending them online. It’s very intuitive, simple and secure. The portal makes healthcare far more efficient and cheaper.’
Honest and achievable
Alphatron had been working on a second introduction of the portal in the Netherlands since 2017. This time, the company was bigger, XDM Netwerk Nederland has 60 employees. ‘That worked,' says Verloop. ‘We soon had about fifteen hospitals participating. Although, nothing had yet been arranged nationwide. This changed in 2019, when several parties came together and launched the Twiin tender. That was our chance. And we seized it both hands. Our advantage is that everyone on our team knows what we can do. And, conversely, they also know what isn’t yet possible. Being honest about that and thinking in achievable steps really helps hospitals make progress. First the technology, then the sales.’
Dare to look locally
It is hoped that the award of the tender to Alphatron will open the door for more SME's in large health care projects. ‘We're showing that it can be done, even as a relatively small player,’ he says. ‘We aim to surprise the hospitals in the coming period with our effective solutions and enthusiasm for its implementation. SMEs in med- and healthtech can switch quickly thanks to short lines of communication, but don't have the enormous marketing and sales power that the major players on the international market do. They don't need to, however. So long as large hospitals and collaborative ventures dare to look locally. That's exactly what's now happened to us. It's up to us to make it happen. And it's going to work. The technology has already been proving itself for the past ten years.’
Alphatron Medical is a medical ICT company that has been providing healthcare institutions with hardware/software interface solutions for over twenty years. The company has sixty employees and is based in Rotterdam. Would you like to know more, set up a meeting or work together? Click on alphatronmedical.com.