Will Romania’s Imaging-Center Consolidation Improve Care?

Affidea’s big acquisition draws scrutiny, but the company predicts patient benefits.

Radu Gorduza, CEO at Affidea Group Romania, pictured here, guarantees that the Affidea-Hiperdia merger will mean wider access to higher-quality diagnostic imaging services to patients.
Radu Gorduza, CEO at Affidea Romania, guarantees that the Affidea-Hiperdia merger will mean wider access to higher-quality diagnostic imaging services to patients. Photo courtesy of Radu Gorduza

In June 2017, Romania’s antitrust regulatory agency gave the green light to a merger of the country’s two diagnostic imaging giants, Affidea and Hiperdia. But the approval came with conditions, including the divestiture of four imaging centers.

That divestiture recommendation suggests the merger has raised some questions about whether there will be sufficient post-merger competition in the country’s imaging industry. Prior to the recommendation from the regulatory agency, called the Competition Council, the acquisition would have left Affidea with 40 centers across Romania. The council called for the divesting of four of those imaging centers in the cities of Cluj, Orăștie and Arag.

The acquisition, first announced in October 2016, marries Romania’s two biggest players in the diagnostic imaging business, who have a collective 37 years of experience. Affidea Romania CEO Radu Gorduza notes that the Competition Council usually weighs in with recommendations in the face of significant company mergers. The combined company will have a presence in nearly half of Romania’s counties.

But while the required divestiture suggests competition concerns, Gorduza contends the acquisition will mean broader access to higher-quality diagnostic imaging services. “To date, there are maybe still 10 to 20 small players which are working based on their own rules, so there is no quality protocol to be standardized for everybody,” he says. “This is the first time that 19 counties in this country can have a golden standard, and we hope this can soon be benchmarked by other private and public players.” Gorduza also notes that the information technology infrastructure of the joint operations will be improved to allow remote access to imaging services via telemedicine systems, a first for Romania. Affidea employs more than 5,000 professionals across over a dozen countries in Europe.

Affidea Romania is also planning a massive redesign of its centers that will make the waiting areas more inviting and patient-friendly, and says it will bring in receptionists and other personnel with soft skills to promote a culture of empathy. “There is so much room for improvement here,” says Gorduza.

 

— Sony Salzman

Sony Salzman is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York.

 

Update: The article originally titled Mr. Radu Gorduza as the CEO at Affidea Group. He is actually CEO at Affidea Romania, which now includes operations from Hiperdia.

 

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