When Antoine Hubert checks his smart watch, he doesn’t only read the time or looks up who is calling him. The device on his wrist also monitors his heartbeat and all his fitness activities. It is something like an insurance against health issues for the 51-year-old who has been incorporating, purchasing and selling companies for 30 years and is constantly travelling for his job. However, he also carries it because he sees it as a symbol for the new technologies that are going to change our relationship with medicine and health.
“In the next five to ten years, we will witness two major developments in the healthcare sector that will have far-reaching consequences: digitisation and global service providers,” says Hubert. Already today he sees Google, Apple and Swisscom as future competition. In Switzerland, it is service providers such as Migros that invest in the healthcare sector and envisage new digital activities.
Focusing on an extended lifespan
“Algorithms help enhance diagnoses. And digital monitoring, for example in radiology, is much more precise than traditional methods,” says Hubert. This is why financially sound US corporates have already stated entering healthcare markets.
“For small clinics, it will become more difficult to survive on their own.”
In the 1990s, Hubert acted as a real estate investor and bought a private hospital in the Vaudois viticultural village of Genolier high above Lake Geneva. He restructured it successfully, which was the spark for his interest in this field. From this one venture, he grew Swiss Medical Network, a network of 16 clinics and the second-largest on the market. As an example, the group is involved in the better-aging sector, providing products and services under the brand of Nescens.
Consolidation in the hospital market
“For small clinics, it will become more difficult to survive on their own,” says the delegate of the Swiss Medical Network. According to him, it will be essential to specialise in certain medical areas, also as a regional service provider. He thinks it is likely that in the near future, five to ten additional hospitals will join the group. This would give the network the necessary size to expand internationally.
Introducing new technologies to the medical sector is part of Hubert’s mission. He has also reactivated a foundation which supports doctors in applying efficient therapies that have not been accepted into the regulated compensation scheme and thus provide little incentive to use them. “We were the first to use the intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) for treating breast cancer. Thanks to administering a radiation dosage during operation, this therapy is faster and more efficient than traditional methods,” says Hubert. He is convinced that digitisation will trigger an efficiency boost in the healthcare sector.