As part of our interview series we were delighted to have the opportunity to speak to Jonathan Wogel – Managing Director of Healthcare Solutions (HCS) at Synergy Health. This great company is going from strength to strength and we wanted to know more about the background to the business and its vision for the future.
Synergy Health Managing Director – Jonathan Wogel
SD – Hi, could you please introduce yourself?
JW – Good morning, my name is Jonathan Wogel, I’m the Managing Director for the Healthcare Solutions division of Synergy Health.
SD – Where are you based?
JW – We’re based in Chorley, Lancashire where we have a production facility and manufacture a large proportion of our products. From here we supply a broad range of medical devices and cosmetics products globally.
SD – What is your background?
JW – I studied Economics in the United States. My first role in the world of commerce was a pharmaceutical rep for Glaxo. I then moved to Baxter, managing the product and marketing strategy for their peritoneal dialysis and haemodialysis products. From there I’ve worked in various business strategy and commercial roles and joined Synergy Health in 2014 as managing director. So, really, I’ve seen this business from all angles.
I’ve had the good fortune to work for some big multinational healthcare companies including Medtronic and Danone in both the product therapies side and the commercial and operations side of the business. My career has taken me across an array of markets including North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia in the biotech, medical device, pharmaceutical and FMCG industries.
Currently I’m based in the North West of England but originally I’m from Cornwall.
SD – How are Synergy embracing technology?
JW – We operate in a very price sensitive market right now that’s increasingly being commoditised. However value for money must not be taken out of the equation, without this, customers will get what they pay for. We’re very much focussing on providing true value for money and this means using technologies to adapt and improve our products rather than engineering them down further and further simply to reduce cost.
The reason we’re so successful in our market is that we’re moving forward alongside healthcare professionals and adapting with them at their pace. We’re working on a number of projects to take our products to the next phase of their life cycle which we’ll be introducing to the market over the next 12 months.
Right now, we’re also examining Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology and how this can integrate with our products and services within the operating theatre. We’re seeing that health systems are keen to explore how RFID can support clinician’s roles in operating theatres and create sustainable efficiencies whilst improving patient care. Surgical counting and product traceability have always been a critical factor in improving operational efficiency within the surgical environment. If we can add real value to this endeavour whilst at the same time delivering a simple way to optimise the instruments used in each procedure, we will have created a true process improvement and cost savings opportunity to our health system.
SD – How does this benefit the NHS?
The reason we’re looking at RFID is because it will radicalise the way in which information on the life of a medical device is stored and recorded. We will quickly be able to automate surgical counting, track the lifespan of each instrument and record each item used on each patient. And this all contributes to both reducing the cost within the system – hospitals will use and buy instruments more efficiently –whilst reducing risks associated with surgical interventions thus improving patient safety.
SD – How does Synergy HCS differ from other companies in this space?
We’re uniquely positioned in the marketplace having a long history in managing medical devices both within the operating theatre through to the Sterile Services Department (SSD). We provide outsourced contract sterilisation services, processing more than 100 million instruments each year in conjunction with our proprietary track and trace software, SynergyTrak. Alongside our expertise in the supply of medical devices, RFID technology will eventually become fully integrated into the products and services we offer.
In addition, we have a great reputation within the industry and we’re working with our key industry partners to ensure the technology is designed with operating theatre personnel in mind and tailored around the activities within theatres. We’re experienced in launching new products and services to the healthcare market. Most recently, we introduced x-ray sterilisation commercially to the healthcare market, the first company to do so globally.
SD – What do you see as your biggest challenges for Synergy HCS?
As with any new product or technology, there is a well-established, regulated process that all companies need to follow to develop and test any new product for performance, safety and reliability. We’re confident in RFID technology, but there are a number of steps between taking this proven technology and turning it into a working, commercially viable proposition that’s fit for a clinical setting. At the end of the day, any new product or technology must be able to provide clear and measurable benefits for the customer and that’s why it’s critically important to involve them in the entire process.
SD – What do you see the Healthcare Technology landscape being in 2020?
Wearable technologies are taking prominence right now and the big software companies are actively developing this area. Wearable biometric devices will quickly radicalise the way in which long term conditions such as diabetes are managed putting information directly into the hands of the patient and enabling them to take control of their health and lifestyle choices.
The concept of monitoring and tracking medical devices is similarly a priority at present. It’s important for the operating theatre to know the history of the medical device it’s journey in and around the operating theatre as well as before it arrived there.
SD – How do people find our more information?
We’re active on the web, either through our website www.synergyhealthplc.com where you can find out about new developments within Synergy, or via Twitter for the most up-to-date information. We’re also present at a number of healthcare industry events, so anyone interested in our products or technology can come and chat to us there.
SD – thanks for your time
It’s been a pleasure, thank you.