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Friday February 23rd, 2024

DIMO’s Roadmap to Shaping the Future of Healthcare in Sri Lanka

Wijith Pushpawela, Executive Director of DIMO

DIMO Healthcare is a leading player in the medical equipment sector, offering cutting-edge innovations and collaborating with globally renowned industry leaders. Expanding its horizons beyond medical equipment, DIMO Healthcare has diversified into consumables, contrast mediums and devices and has recently forayed into the pharmaceutical industry, broadening its portfolio and impact. In this interview, Wijith Pushpawela, Executive Director of DIMO, sheds light on the role of DIMO Healthcare in building a healthier nation.

Could you take us through the key milestones in DIMO’s journey into the medical field?
DIMO’s venture into healthcare commenced in 1960 through a pivotal partnership with Siemens, a prominent radiology equipment manufacturer. Expanding on this foundation, DIMO incorporated premium medical equipment sourced mainly from Germany in subsequent years.

Throughout the 1980s, DIMO bolstered its medical equipment portfolio with significant collaborations with renowned brands like Carl Zeiss & Dräger. This diversification covered diverse medical specialities, encompassing radiology, cardiology, ophthalmology, and critical care. DIMO’s comprehensive services, including equipment supply, maintenance, servicing, and upgrades, have been facilitated by a dedicated engineering team.

Recognizing the need for further diversification, DIMO extended its reach into medical implants, prioritizing cardiac-focused products like stents, heart valves, and pacemakers. DIMO emerged as a leading supplier in the country with the introduction of contrast media and broadened diagnostic imaging possibilities from brands like Guerbet.

Aligning with their long-term strategy, DIMO made a strategic foray into the pharmaceutical sector, emphasizing the transition from equipment to implants and, ultimately, pharmaceuticals. With its diversified product portfolio, DIMO realigned all its healthcare operations under the new identity of “DIMO Healthcare”. This progression underscores DIMO’s commitment to delivering comprehensive healthcare solutions.

How does your strategic roadmap influence your efforts in diagnostics, treatments, and pharmaceutical collaboration?
Our strategic roadmap has been carefully thought out to align with our corporate purpose, which is to fuel the dreams and aspirations of the communities we serve.

The core of our purpose revolves around the importance of good health as a fundamental dream for anyone. Our commitment to healthcare is centred on the objective of building a healthier nation. With this in mind, we’ve made substantial efforts to enhance our diagnostic capabilities, specifically in radiology and advanced scanning techniques, which are instrumental in diagnosing various diseases.

Additionally, we’ve ventured into medical treatments, such as radiotherapy for cancer and laser treatments for eyes. Our commitment to quality extends to our pharmaceutical offerings, where we collaborate with top-tier pharmaceutical brands like Medochemie, Grifols, Tabros and Hovid to name a few.

Our plans include exploring potential pharmaceutical manufacturing partnerships, not only catering to Sri Lanka but also expanding our reach beyond its borders. This strategic move aligns with our ongoing efforts to grow both vertically and horizontally within the sector.

How does DIMO Healthcare contribute to providing top-notch healthcare solutions to the country?
In the field of medical equipment, our position is undeniably a leading one. Our predominant presence can be attributed to our partnerships with renowned brands, specifically Siemens and Carl Zeiss, which have conferred us with a substantial market share, particularly in radiology and ophthalmology. To illustrate, we hold approximately 32% of the market share in radiology equipment, while for Carl Zeiss medical equipment, we have an impressive market share of over 80%.

As part of our ongoing commitment to excellence, we aspire to attain a prominent position in the field of oncology. To address this, we have partnered with the global leader in radiotherapy M/S Varian, USA. This is the most recent partnership that we have entered into and Varian maintains a predominant global market share in cancer treatment.

We have installed the highest number of PET scanners in the country and are the sole importer of FDG (Fluorodeoxyglucose) which is used as a radiopharmaceutical for PET/CT scans. With the addition of Varian to our oncology portfolio, we can cover the detection and treatment of cancer. Our goal is to elevate the quality of cancer treatment and impact the communities we serve, given the escalating prevalence of cancer cases each year.

What is the latest Zeiss innovation introduced by DIMO Healthcare for cataract surgeries?
Zeiss is renowned for being at the forefront of microscope technology and is a global leader in lenses and vision-related products. Representing Zeiss in Sri Lanka for over 40 years recently we introduced a groundbreaking technology for cataract surgeries, known as CT Lucia 621P which is a “preload lens.”

The significant innovation here is that with Zeiss’s preloaded lens, the patient only receives a single component – the syringe. This syringe contains all the necessary elements: the lens is already in position within the cartridge, correctly butterfly-folded, and ready for implantation in the patient’s eye. Consequently, this assures 100% precision in the implant procedure.

How is DIMO Healthcare ensuring the integration of the latest technological advancements into its offerings?
DIMO Healthcare places a strong emphasis on the training and development of its people. We maintain a dedicated team of product specialists who consistently undergo training provided by our principals.

Additionally, we’ve established a team of application specialists who play a crucial role in our operations. These specialists visit hospitals regularly and collaborate with medical professionals, actively engaging in educating healthcare personnel on changes, new protocols, and the operation of sophisticated medical equipment, especially in the critical care range.

Our commitment to disseminating cutting-edge technologies to medical professionals is evident in our approach. We conduct extensive awareness sessions, often in collaboration with specialized institutions like the College of Radiology, College of Ophthalmology, College of Oncology, and College of Cardiology, which serve as primary knowledge hubs for their respective specialties. These institutions regularly organize annual sessions, and we actively participate by bringing in global experts to share their knowledge.

Furthermore, our partner brands are known for their wealth of patents and their pioneering spirit in inventing new technologies. They engage in continuous research and development. This allows us to introduce the latest advancements and ensure that our medical professionals stay updated with the most current global standards in healthcare.

How do you pursue your ESG goals, particularly in sustainability and environmental responsibility?
DIMO has set clear ESG goals with its sustainability agenda for 2030, particularly in reducing carbon emissions. In DIMO’s healthcare domain, we partnered with industry leaders such as Siemens, Zeiss, Boston Scientific, Dräger, and Abbott, all of whom share our commitment to sustainability and often exceed our standards. For example, we prioritize Siemens equipment in radiology for its lower radiation emissions, ensuring patient safety and the safety of medical professionals.

We also emphasize energy efficiency, endorsing equipment that aligns with our sustainability goals to reduce power consumption. Our foremost objective is to ensure that the products we provide consistently meet the required quality and safety standards. Furthermore, in addition to our product quality assurance, we actively engage in educational initiatives, particularly within the government sector and medical institutions.

Additionally, we are dedicated to promoting eye care. We’ve organized eye camps and collaborated with our partners from around the world to provide high-end medical equipment to the national eye hospital at no cost to the institution.

Our dedication to sustainability spans various facets of our operations, reflecting our commitment to a more sustainable future.

How is DIMO Healthcare helping to address the rising challenges in healthcare?
DIMO Healthcare recognizes the immense potential within the rapidly expanding healthcare sector. As Sri Lanka’s population ages at an unprecedented rate, the local healthcare industry must adapt swiftly to meet the escalating demand. The elderly demographic, in particular, requires special attention, considering their reduced agility and lower tolerance of rigorous medical diagnostic procedures.

 In this evolving landscape, technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have emerged as formidable allies. The integration of AI into medical equipment promises not only significantly reduced scan times but also heightened diagnostic precision.
This technological leap not only enhances the efficiency of healthcare processes but also places patient comfort at the forefront. In envisioning the future, we anticipate a healthcare experience that alleviates the stress associated with medical examinations, ultimately culminating in an overall improved patient journey.

In our overarching role within the healthcare sector, our mission is clear: to introduce the latest medical technology, advance early disease detection, and offer advanced treatments, whether they involve radiotherapy or pharmaceuticals. Ultimately, our objective is to foster a healthier nation through these efforts.