Siemens Healthineers and MFT: improving patient outcomes
MFT, one of the largest hospital trusts in the UK, has signed a 15-year deal with Siemens Healthineers that will see them upgrading and maintaining all the trust's imaging equipment. Nancy West, Head of Enterprise Services at Siemens Healthineers in Great Britain and Ireland, explains that they’ll be supporting the Trust in delivering best in-class clinical outcomes and safety, in an environment that will help to enhance patients’ experience as well as improve staff satisfaction.
"At the core of partnership is the provision of access to innovative technologies. Over the next 15 years, we'll support the imaging team with a technology-refresh programme, and we'll manage all of the imaging equipment which will help them solve that continual challenge of how to keep pace with innovations that transform care delivery” West says.
This will include around 350 installations, covering the selection of equipment, comprehensive training, and world class maintenance support through Siemens Healthineers' onsite team.
"Working together, we'll be embracing the opportunity to change and improve care delivery to help improve the health and lives of many people across the area" West says. "The Value Partnership will see us really very deeply engaged with the team to improve patient pathways from referral right through to reporting, helping to improve diagnostic wait times, which is really important when we consider the impact that COVID has had on cancer and elective operation wait times"
Catherine Walsh, Divisional Director of Imaging for MFT, says: "In terms of innovation in pathways we absolutely want to work with Siemens Healthineers to provide for patients in response to the local health care plan, making sure that we've got equity of access for patients, and that we've got parity of services across all the sites."
"We are very excited to have this partnership in place. We've been working on it for a number of years and to see it come to fruition is absolutely wonderful. All our staff are awaiting the go live date - it just consolidates all the effort we put into developing the contract over the last few years. We don't see it as a transaction, it's a relationship that can only go from strength to strength.”
West emphasises that they work in an environment that is continuously changing. "Our goal is to continually support the trust in this environment, working right alongside them to support them through the challenges of delivering healthcare. At Siemens Healthineers we talk a lot about how change creates opportunity.”
"Healthcare has really reached something of a turning point in this country. As an organisation, we're excited about that future - and with these kinds of new partnership models, we're absolutely ready to play our part."
Who Will Be the Next Tech Giant to Back Bitcoin?
PayPal was the first truly major tech giant to throw its weight behind Bitcoin, unveiling a cryptocurrency buying-and-selling service in October. Next was Tesla, which shocked onlookers in February by announcing the purchase of $1.5 billion in bitcoin, as well as plans to accept the cryptocurrency as payment.
Since then, things have calmed down as far as Big Tech and Bitcoin are concerned (although a number of banks have rolled out cryptocurrency investment services for their wealthier clients). This raises the question: when will another significant tech firm take the plunge and back bitcoin?
This is a difficult question to answer, if only because the bitcoin market is in something of a funk right now. At the same time, regulators worldwide are looking to restrict crypto in the name of curbing money laundering and other illicit activities. Nonetheless, rumours continue to swirl through the sector that a few other important names in the tech industry may be on the cusp of embracing bitcoin, with Apple being the most notable.
Is Apple Buying Bitcoin?
If you tend to spend any amount of time on Crypto Twitter, you may be aware of rumours to the effect that Apple has recently bought something in the region of $2.5 billion in bitcoin.
Such rumours were almost certainly a desperate attempt to boost the price of bitcoin. And given that the market didn’t witness a sudden, dramatic rise (but rather a steep loss), it seems pretty clear that Apple didn’t buy a substantial quantity of bitcoin in the past few weeks or so.
That said, there remains a good chance that Apple will enter the cryptocurrency sector at some point, even if it won’t be adventurous enough to buy crypto for itself. Back in May, it placed a job ad for a business development manager for “alternative payments.”
Such a manager would be tasked with cultivating partnerships with “strategic alternative payment providers,” implying that Apple may be weighing up the possibility of launching its own cryptocurrency-purchasing service (à la PayPal) via Apple Pay.
Needless to say, it would be huge for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency if the Cupertino company were to follow through with this.
Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook?
Rumours have also revolved around possible bitcoin interest from Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, although there’s a little less substance to most of these rumours.
Back in October former Goldman Sachs hedge fund manager Raoul Pal predicted that Microsoft (along with Apple) would buy bitcoin in five years. Unfortunately, a CNN interview with Microsoft’s Brad Smith in February (shortly after Tesla’s bitcoin purchase) revealed that the company had no plans to purchase crypto, although Smith vaguely hinted that it might one day change its collective mind.
More interestingly, Amazon purchased three cryptocurrency-related domain names back in 2017: amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, amazoncryptocurrencies.com. Nothing has been heard since then, while a job listing from February of this year revealed that the retail giant may be planning to launch its very own digital currency.
Facebook is another tech firm with plans for its own digital currency (Diem, formerly known as Libra). As for whether it’s likely to turn to bitcoin, a few relatively respected figures within the cryptocurrency industry (e.g. Alistair Milne) did spread rumours in April that the social media company would disclose bitcoin holdings on its Q1 financial statement. This didn’t happen, although Mark Zuckerberg did reveal in May that one of his pet goats is called “Bitcoin,” fuelling further speculation as to his and his firm’s interest in the cryptocurrency.
Risks and Rewards of Cryptocurrency
Again, it’s arguable that some or most of the rumours are generated largely to pump crypto prices. But if bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies do continue to appreciate in value and attract more adoption, it will become increasingly harder for large tech companies to ignore them.
But at the moment, it’s likely that most major tech firms will shy away from actually buying bitcoin, if only because it remains highly volatile and unpredictable as an asset. And as we saw with Tesla, buying a massive chunk of the cryptocurrency effectively turns you into a hedge fund overnight, something which can adversely affect your stock price if bitcoin goes down.
Even so, there’s clearly a considerable amount of money tied up in the cryptocurrency market. And with numbers of holders growing every year, it’s only a matter of time before other big tech firms attempt to siphon off some of this value for themselves.