Chief Executive, Inditherm PLC
Q: Who are you?
A: I’m Nick Bettles, I’m the Chief Executive, but in such a small company that’s a fancy title and I am actively involved in both the technical and clinical aspects of our products.
Q: What is your professional background?
A: I’m an electrical engineer and I started in hardware and software design. I later migrated towards applications and working with end-users and thus into marketing and general management.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: My goal is to make Inditherm the world leader in patient warming applications and I firmly believe that our technology makes that possible. Our lower cost and more convenient systems offer a better solution for the current healthcare climate.
Q: Do you find your job rewarding and if so how?
A: I find it very rewarding (and challenging) as we really do have something special to offer to our customers. The feedback we get both on the product and the company’s support always makes me feel proud of what we do as a team.
Q: Where is the company based?
A: We are based just outside Rotherham and all our products are manufactured here in the UK.
Q: Does your company have branches abroad?
A: We use independent distributors for the overseas markets and with over 60 distributors worldwide now, we have reasonable global coverage.
Q: What is the company focus and what do you offer the anaesthesia industry?
A: Our focus is primarily on heating and warming solutions and we feel we have the best solution now, thanks to our unique technology, and can therefore offer a better and more convenient clinical product at the same time as dramatically reducing costs and giving significant environmental advantages. We received specific and very positive guidance from NICE for our technology in 2011 after an exhaustive, comprehensive and independent review of the evidence and this really underlines both clinical and financial advantages.
Q: Who are your customers and what products/services do you offer them?
A: Our two biggest customers are the perioperative departments (and particularly anaesthetists) and neonatal and maternity units. We also have a growing interest in chemotherapy units, where our heat therapy product is used to facilitate venous access (cannulation) and to reduce patient discomfort and incidence of collapsed veins.
Q: What is your most popular product/service and why do you think that is?
A: Our intraoperative patient warming systems are the largest part of our business, but the neonatal warming systems have grown the fastest. We have diversified our neonatal range due to the wider opportunities and the enviable reputation we have achieved in that sector, but theatres remain the biggest opportunity for us.
Q: How do you keep up to date with changes in the market?
A: We have made improvements to our design over the years, but in reality we are probably driving the changes. The pressure on hospital budgets combined with demand to warm many more patients during anaesthesia make our technology the ideal solution for customers who want to cope with current and future trends in patient care.
Q: Do you foresee much expansion in the coming years?
A: Yes, we do and we have diversified our product ranges, whilst keeping to our core competences. We have seen a big increase in interest since the NICE guidance on Inditherm was released and this is starting to flow through to large orders as hospitals see the advantages we offer them in the current economic climate.
Q: What makes you different from your competitors?
A: I think we are very focussed and thus have a team who are true experts in our chosen fields, especially patient warming applications. We pride ourselves on giving unrivalled support to our customers, both from a technical and clinical perspective. Of course our technology is a big differentiator too, being patented, as is our ability to reduce costs dramatically at the same time as allowing all patients to be warmed automatically and easily.
Q: What technological innovations have you introduced?
A: All our patient warming systems are technological innovations, so I guess that has to be the simple answer. We have certainly given a true alternative to forced air warming, which has been the standard for over 20 years now. Ultimately that technology is probably nearing the end of its life-cycle and we believe Inditherm will become the standard for perioperative patient warming in coming years.
Q: How successful have you been to date?
A: We have seen continued business growth and uptake of our products, even during these difficult economic times. I think that reflects the quality of our products and their suitability for the clinical applications we focus on. Introducing a new technology into healthcare markets is never easy, but we have made good progress, with literally thousands of patient warming systems in daily use around the world and over 4,000,000 surgical patients now having been warmed by Inditherm systems. The enormous interest we have since the recent NICE guidance on Inditherm technology was released makes us optimistic that the growth will continue.
Q: How important is good customer relations?
A: Customer relations are key for us, both as individuals and as a business. We always try to form a true partnership with our users and often get involved in trying to find solutions for particularly demanding or unusual situations. We feel we have established a really good reputation with our users and many of them have supported us over the years in return.