Aston to work with healthcare technology leaders

Kimal plc
Aston University is working with innovative healthcare company Kimal plc to develop and implement a new business model and supporting business processes for the company.

Kimal develops, manufactures, markets and distributes innovative medical devices, capital equipment and customised procedural solutions globally. It has built an excellent reputation as a provider of renal haemodialysis products and services to the NHS. Technology and service delivery in this sector is rapidly changing, and at the same time the population of patients requiring this treatment is growing significantly year on year. Government policy is to migrate from “in-hospital” to “in-home” services wherever this can be identified as providing improved clinical outcomes for patients whilst generating cost savings and societal benefits. These have been demonstrated in the case of renal haemodialysis, and a seven-fold target increase in “in-home” treatments has been set.

To ensure that Kimal is positioned to respond to this changing service delivery model, the company has entered into a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership with academics at Aston Business School. The key outcome of this project will be a new business model and range of business processes which are based upon a solid understanding of how best to engage with the NHS and other commissioning groups. This will allow Kimal to confidently and successfully launch their branded “in-home” renal haemodialysis service.   

The project is being led by Dr Graham Leask, of the Economics and Strategy Research Group (ABS). Dr Leask said of the project, ‘A common issue with government policy is how to ensure effective implementation at the point of need. In this case clinicians and healthcare managers often lack the necessary comparative cost information. The aim of this project is to provide a reliable practical instrument that will facilitate effective measurement and provide locally generated comparative costs so that managers may make better informed decisions to the benefit of their patients. This will allow Kimal to maximize their opportunity and also provide a template for future commercial dealings with the NHS.’

The success of this partnership will enable Kimal plc to become a market leader in “in-home” renal care, and pave the way for the company to expand into other “in-home” care products and services. Kimal’s managing director, Mark Pettitt said, ‘Kimal is dedicated to providing innovative Customised Procedural Solutions that drive out cost for our customers in the NHS, whilst improving effectiveness of the service used. At the same time we recognise that there is a wealth of untapped knowledge and capability outside of the Kimal environment that could aid us in the successful delivery of these programmes. That is why we have partnered with Aston University through the KTP programme. This is allowing us to gain access to current thinking and knowledge that can then be transferred and embedded in to our business giving us a step change in our ability to drive these improvement activities forward. We shall also be able to copy and paste this approach to our renal service and adapt it to our plans for other “in  home” service models.’

This project sits within the EREBUS capacity building cluster, managed by Aston University. The EREBUS project is a business research partnership between Aston, Birmingham and Warwick universities. Its role is to assist in the development of West Midlands’ SMEs, operating in the Finance, Energy and Health Technologies sectors, to build innovation and improve business performance.

To find out more contact the Business Partnership Unit on ext 4242 or bpu@aston.ac.uk.

Words by Claire Hopkins
8 September 2011