The Business Year

Moritz Hartmann

General Manager Middle East, Roche

Bassam Shehadeh

Head of Diagnostics-Gulf Region, Roche

Roche is planning a change in its business. What will be the new focuses and key changes? Roche has already changed its business approach in that its focus is now […]

Roche is planning a change in its business. What will be the new focuses and key changes?

Roche has already changed its business approach in that its focus is now on the end customer and distributors with the introduction of several new services. The 1,000 sqm logistics hub in Jebel Ali with a permanent stock of reagents brings Roche closer to the distributors and customers, allowing for a timely and reliable supply of goods. We have also introduced the support function of the customer service center, which gives users of Roche equipment the opportunity to call and seek direct Roche expert advice on dealing in its equipment. With this service, we have had a success rate of over 70% out of all cases received solely via telephone. In 2014, a training facility in the region will be available to provide various educational support options regarding Roche products for users.

What is your strategy for 2014, and your view of the health sector in Abu Dhabi and the UAE?

MH The health sector in Abu Dhabi and the UAE will continue to multiply in services and expertise, while undergoing two major shifts in terms of health insurance and accreditation for hospitals and laboratories. These changes in the industry line up with our strategy for the year and the services and products that we provide. Ultimately, in 2014, we hope to maintain our position as the trusted In-Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) partner for the region, and we will accomplish this by directly addressing the customers’ and distributors’ needs. The customer support and training centers will feed their needs beyond any other company in the industry in this region. These services will be further complimented with the Roche Academy, a series of expert forums that will ensure the latest IVD developments are shared with end users. Roche Diagnostics Middle East will also contribute to improving health awareness in the UAE with more events focused on public attitude toward health issues. Each of these approaches for 2014 will raise the bar in the healthcare sector in terms of proficiency, standards, and quality.

Roche Professional Diagnostics (RPD) is the largest business area. How important is this part of the business in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, and how are you planning to improve it?

BASSAM SHEHADEH RPD, also known as the Core Laboratory, represents nearly two-thirds of the volume of work in laboratories. Roche is both the leader in consolidation and in the One Tube concept, where more than 140 different types of tests can be performed from the same serum tube. This concept can cover routine tests in general chemistry, hormones, and tumor markers, as well as highly specialized tests, such as human growth hormone, and critical emergency areas like cardiac tests. In the UAE specifically, RPD represents almost 65% of Roche diagnostics’ business, and it is growing at nearly double the rate of the market’s growth due to the Roche’s advanced technology, high-quality products, and reliable post-sale support. Currently, more and more laboratories and healthcare providers in the UAE are aiming to enhance testing efficiency and optimize costs with laboratory consolidation, such as that offered by Roche’s Total Laboratory Automation. It is no surprise then that RPD is the largest business area seeing that Roche offers a variety of solutions for Total Lab Automation. Roche’s unique options and various sizes of Total Laboratory Automation and Task Target Automation, such as cobas b 612, cobas b 512, and cobas b 312, put the organization in a position to meet the various needs and requirements of each customer. Almost all medical laboratories in the UAE already have one or more analytical solution from Roche, and one of the largest installations is in Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi, which has a capacity to process more than 3 million tests per year. In Abu Dhabi, the capital’s health authority SEHA has started a process of laboratory consolidation and other healthcare providers are expected to follow this trend. There will be new challenges for laboratories in the upcoming years that Roche will help to address. From improving efficiency, enabling higher test volumes, improving patient outcomes with medical value, and establishing greater personalized healthcare, Roche Diagnostics Middle East and our Gulf team are restructuring to meet customer needs. Other than Roche Diagnostics’ collaboration with Roche Pharma in the UAE, we will provide the industry with our expert teams, customer training, accreditation standards, and medical marketing. Roche will shift to a more service oriented organization, putting patient needs above all else.

Roche has strengthened its position as a leader in the growing market for Point of Care testing products. What new improvements are you planning in order to maintain this leadership?

BS The largest Point of Care installation worldwide is actually in Abu Dhabi’s Tawam Hospital, where more than 300 various devices for glucose, blood gas, coagulation, urine testing, and many other tests, are all connected to one server. The concept of the Point of Care testing is steadily gaining momentum, which has introduced new challenges to healthcare professionals and regulatory bodies. Questions regarding accuracy, documentation of results, and training in Point of Care testing were resolved with Roche’s cobas IT 1000. The product offered users and patients positive identification, remote management of the system’s performance, and connectivity to all Point of Care testing devices in a single piece of software. While these features secured the reputation of Roche’s cobas IT 1000 as the Point of Care system of choice, 2014 will see a number of improvements to maintain that position. There will be an expansion to the customer base, an introduction of the cobas bge link for more efficiency in the management of blood gas analyzers, and an expansion to the cobas academy to all customers for online training and proficiency testing.

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