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Home healthcare

Lasting responses for the chronic diseases’ challenge

The healthcare industry is experiencing some major shifts, including aging populations, accelerated urban growth, technological progress, sedentary lifestyles, and the increase of chronic illnesses. Healthcare systems, which are often organized around hospitals, do not always encourage support for chronic diseases that require regular, long ­ term monitoring.

A key partner of home healthcare

A leading player in home healthcare for the last 30 years, Air Liquide is a key partner for addressing these changes. The Group aims, in particular, to provide lasting responses to the challenges posed by the global increase in chronic diseases. Thanks to its recognized expertise and its close relationships with doctors and patients, the Group has acquired a strong legitimacy in the field of home healthcare by helping preserve the quality of life and independence of patients, while helping control healthcare spendings.

Recognized expertise in home healthcare born in Europe

In recent decades, Air Liquide has developed recognized expertise in home healthcare. Capitalizing on its experience in supplying medical gases to hospitals, the Group started by supplying medical oxygen to the homes of patients suffering from respiratory failure. It then extended its services to other respiratory conditions, such as sleep apnea, and other chronic diseases, including diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, which call for highly technical support and regular monitoring.

Improving patient adherence and encouraging effective coordination between healthcare professionals to avoid hospital readmission are two of the main challenges facing home healthcare.

Today, Air Liquide sets itself apart through its ability to ensure comprehensive patient care, combining the implementation of technological equipment with support from multidisciplinary teams made up of pharmacists, nurses, nutritionists, healthcare professionals, and technicians working with the medical community.

The Group also relies on digital technologies to offer innovative e-health solutions, ensuring better patient monitoring and facilitating coordination between stakeholders at the various stages of the healthcare journey.

It also collaborates with start-ups to offer a wider range of value-added services. For instance, in June 2018, Air Liquide purchased EOVE, a French company that has developed a portable connected ventilator that takes into account patients’ mobility needs and helps doctors in their daily work.

This strategy of targeted acquisitions, combined with its scientific expertise, knowledge of the medical world, and proximity with patients, now makes Air Liquide the European leader in home healthcare.

Opening up new markets in home healthcare

Building on its positioning in Europe, Air Liquide has been developing its home healthcare business for around fifteen years in other areas of the world, such as Asia, the Middle East, and South America. With a presence in 35 countries already, the Group is seeking to diversify its activities by offering value-added services in regions where it already operates. It also targets new countries where it generally makes targeted acquisitions to grow quickly.

Regarding healthcare, the Group is present in 35 countries

South Korea is one example of this strategy. Eight years after it moved into the country, the Group has tripled its sales in home healthcare and is now the ventilation leader in the local market. This success is primarily explained by the Group’s ability to make valuable acquisitions to ensure its long-term growth. After its 2010 acquisition of the South Korean firm, Medions, which specializes in care for heavily ventilated patients in their homes, the Group gradually added to its offering by making three acquisitions to help patients suffering from other chronic diseases.

Each time, the Group makes sure the company it is purchasing shares its values. It focuses on integrating the new teams and encourages expertise pooling. This strategy of targeted acquisitions has allowed it to develop a solid position in the country in just a few years, where it is now a real partner of the healthcare systems. Feedback from the teams at its VitalAire Korea subsidiary was taken into account, contributing to add new rebates to the national healthcare system, including a service designed for patients suffering from sleep apnea.

Air Liquide consolidates its position in Saudi Arabia

Air Liquide, which already operates in the Saudi Arabian healthcare sector by supplying medical gases to hospitals, expanded its activities in the country in 2018 with the acquisition of the respiratory division of Thimar Al Jazirah Company (TAC), a key local player in the pharmaceutical, medical, and dental industries, that provides home healthcare to more than 1,400 patients throughout the country. With this acquisition, the Group has managed to consolidate its position in a region that boasts significant potential. With more than 32 million inhabitants, growing healthcare needs – in particular due to the prevalence of diabetes – and a pledge from the public authorities to improve the quality of services, the home healthcare sector in Saudi Arabia has significant growth potential.

Article published on May 24, 2019