We want to empower our end-users!
2017 was an exciting year for Atos Medical. This year, we expanded our global field sales force, invested aggressively in our Direct to Consumer setup, launched an entirely new product category with Provox Luna, and completed six acquisitions of local distributors.
As a result, we delivered results that once again position Atos Medical as one of the fastest growing Medtech companies in the world. I am proud of this accomplishment, but even more proud of the Atos team, which continues to diligently execute our strategy – Empowering our end-users.
Our efforts revolved around our four strategic themes:
Deliver on our end-user commitment
The laryngectomy patient population is fragmented and often underserved. Many patients do not receive the care and attention they need. We wish to address this by interacting with all patients, wherever they are: At the hospitals, ENT clinics, speech and language therapists, patient clubs, and, increasingly, at our own community events and via our own call-centers.
To do so, we have significantly expanded our field sales force and Direct to Consumer (DtC) setups, with a focus on the US, Southern Europe, UK and Germany. Our new colleagues have allowed us to dramatically increase our activity level in the market. During 2017, we completed 3,500 end-user events, with 9,000 patient participants. This is more than 50 times as many events as we did in 2016. Through our call centers, we completed around 170,000 outbound calls to our end-user, up from 35,000 calls in 2016.
These activities are all aimed at providing the education, service and products required for each patient to live their life to the fullest. As such, our end-user commitment is simple, but powerful: We will leave no patient behind!
Serve all end-users directly
Atos has unparalleled knowledge and experience within the field of laryngectomy. We wish to apply this as widely as possible, by serving all end-users directly, through our DtC setups.
I am very pleased with our growth in the DtC channel during 2017. Growth was strong across the board, but particularly so in the US. Our in-market end-user activities allowed us to further grow our large and unique patient database across countries. This helped us expand our active patient base by 14% and convert them into recurring users.
We continued our forward integration in 2017 as well, by completing six acquisitions of distributors in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, Poland and Hungary. Most recently, in January 2018, we completed the acquisition of Heimomed, a leading German homecare company.
The acquisition of Heimomed is our largest to date and strengthens our leadership position in Germany. It also gives Atos a direct presence in Austria and a full product portfolio and production setup within tracheostomy.
Connect with our end-users to drive innovation
At Atos Medical, we pride ourselves by our ability to turn end-user insights into strong and effective products that truly give our patients a voice. And 2017 was no exception.
This year, we launched a brand new product category with Provox Luna. Designed specifically for night time use, Provox Luna is an HME and adhesive solution that gives patients better quality of sleep, helps their skin heal and recover, reduces skin irritation, and increases overall well-being. Initial results of the launch are very encouraging, and Luna will remain a top priority in 2018.
In addition to Luna, we launched Provox Vega Insertion System, a product helping clinicians who are responsible for changing the voice prosthesis. The product provides a simple insertion method, which both saves time and improves patient comfort when fitting, inserting, and removing the voice prosthesis. Also here, feedback is very positive and results are encouraging.
Inspire our people
Our strong performance and high ambitions require talented and dedicated employees that are inspired by our vision and values. It is critical for us to provide our people with a stimulating work environment, exciting roles and opportunities to develop, both professionally and personally, especially when we expand our organization as much as we do.
In 2017, we have added more than 125 employees to our team. Globally, Atos Medical is now approaching 700 FTEs. This has been a major recruiting and onboarding task for the entire organization, and I am very impressed by the quality of our new colleagues. Through this process, we have added numerous consumer profiles to our team, with new competences that allow us to engage and service the patient even better. We will continue to strengthen this effort going forward.
I am proud of what Atos Medical has achieved in 2017. We are changing our company and our offering for the better by Empowering our end-users. Our results show that our strategy is working, and that we have a great team! I am confident that we will deliver great results yet again, in 2018!
CEO Atos Medical