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Every year, we assume responsibility for the well-being of millions of patients. We offer lifesaving products and therapies. In their development, we consider different social and regulatory requirements and adapt them to different healthcare systems. This enables us to meet the growing global demand for innovative, high-quality and affordable therapies. Numerous research projects and studies are carried out in our business segments. In this way, we investigate and develop new treatment standards, improve current standards, e. g., by studying side effects by biological sex or age group, and facilitate best practice exchange between our healthcare professionals. Further, in our hospitals in Spain and Germany, various approval studies for pharmaceuticals are conducted. We report on our clinical study management in the Innovation chapter.

Our range of products and services includes the services of a comprehensive network of hospitals, post-acute care solutions – such as rehabilitation – and high-quality drugs and medical products. We also embrace digitalization and develop advanced therapies, and measures designed to expand primary care in emerging and developed countries.

Our goals and ambitions

Our products are often used to treat people with serious or chronic diseases. Our task is to ensure the safety and quality of our products and services and to meet the highest safety and quality standards for all processes and therapies. In 2023, we treated nearly 26 million patients at our hospitals, of which more than 23 million were outpatients and more than 2 million were inpatients. We achieved our quality targets. Further details can be in the Patient and product safety section.

We want to simplify access to healthcare and medicine through, for example, digital processes and applications. In this way, we aim to reduce long waiting times for appointments in our facilities. Fresenius Helios in Spain, for example, is pursuing the ambition of providing 70% of patients with an initial consultation within seven days. In the reporting year, we surpassed this goal with a rate of 78%. In addition, more patients are to be treated in less time in future. In order to achieve this, Helios Spain places diagnostic examinations before medical consultations whenever possible. Further details can be found in the Digital transformation chapter.

All people should be able to benefit from our healthcare services – and not experience any disadvantage due to a lack of financial resources or their geographical location. The goal of our healthcare services market segment is therefore to improve access to medical care, for example, by expanding the medical infrastructure and collaborating with organizations and initiatives.

Our approach

Fresenius’ long-term goal is to further develop its position as one of the leading international providers of healthcare products and services. In recent years, we have expanded our company along our value chain – increasing the global availability of our products and services. The #FutureFresenius transformation was launched in February 2023 with the aim of positioning the company with a clear focus for future growth.

With our comprehensive range of products, which also includes generics and biosimilars, we provide access to modern, high-quality, and affordable therapies for patients. Generics and biosimilars are cost-effective alternatives to originator drugs. They help to lower the price of treatments and thus reduce the burden on healthcare systems. To promote accessibility and affordability of healthcare products in a resilient way, we support various programs and work together with other companies in industry associations.

As many people as possible worldwide should have the chance to participate in this progress. We therefore want to help make access to health services more equitable worldwide and support the development of stable health systems. This means we want to make treatment and health education available to everyone who needs them, irrespective of age, income, race or ethnicity, or education. This ambition is particularly reflected in our commitment to society. In January 2024, Fresenius signed the Zero Health Gaps Pledge to promote equal opportunities in healthcare. Further information can be found in the chapter Strategy and management.

Among others, we cooperate with international organizations such as Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders). A collaboration with Friedensdorf International, for example, makes it possible for Helios Germany to treat children from crisis regions free of charge in its clinics. In 2023, more than 40 children benefited from this engagement in our German hospitals and received either inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Ensuring the availability of our products and access to our services is an important concern for us, including beyond crisis areas: avoiding bottlenecks in the supply of important medications is also a priority. This also includes our own facilities.

Integrated healthcare concepts

In recent years, healthcare providers, regulatory authorities, and insurance companies around the world have been working to improve treatment outcomes for patients while simultaneously reducing healthcare costs. This benefits- and results-oriented concept is known as value-based healthcare.

This scientific approach confirms our long-standing strategy: systematic establishment of regional care clusters and interdisciplinary knowledge sharing among experts, from which all hospitals in our network can benefit. Patients should benefit from the focus on technological advances, innovative treatment options, and our investments in high-level healthcare infrastructure and technical equipment. With this approach, we want to help to tackle the increasing cost pressure for insurers and relieve the burden on healthcare systems.

We firmly believe that combining healthcare facilities, known as cluster formation, can prove beneficial both for the quality of healthcare and when it comes to the potential for reducing costs. In the hospital sector, one of the ways we are pursuing this approach is through our choice of acquisitions in recent years. The aim with these choices is to link together the special care offerings of the individual hospitals, and to jointly improve quality, e. g., in oncology care or stroke treatment, through cluster conferences. This type of networking makes it possible to offer expensive and labor-intensive treatments within a hospital cluster without having to provide them at every location.

Helios Germany, for example, supports certain projects that involve deploying multidisciplinary teams following surgical interventions in order to help speed up and improve patients’ recovery. One focus is on rapid mobilization after operations. This includes, for example, the Ortho-Campus model, in which surgery and rehabilitation are brought closer together. Further examples include Helios Germany’s Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) initiatives and the certification of endoprosthetic centers in accordance with the ENDO-Klinik standards.

Another consequence of demographic change is the shortage of skilled workers. The ageing of society requires extensive, longer-lasting medical care for the population. This poses major challenges for the limited resources on the market for medical professionals.

In order to counter the specific effects on healthcare, Helios Spain is pursuing the goal of significantly optimizing care processes. For example, the structured medical information already obtained with the help of digitalized processes is to be linked to a newly generated healthcare model. This should give doctors more capacity to provide valuable care to an increasing number of patients. Further details can be found in the Digital transformation chapter.

Patient support in crisis and emergency situations

As a healthcare Group, we have to be crisis-proof in all areas and respond flexibly to unforeseeable challenges: it is our task to provide patients with unrestricted access to our services and seamless care even under difficult conditions. To ensure this, we have established high-performance and resilient emergency systems and programs in our business segments.

Crisis situations are unforeseen events that may have an impact on the company or society, for example. In the healthcare products market segment, we have a crisis team for emergency situations that is summoned immediately after an event that could lead to a crisis. The crisis team comprises members of the Fresenius Kabi Management Board, key staff units, and other relevant functions of the business segment. It coordinates the activities to maintain business operations and monitors the measures specifically defined and initiated to deal with a crisis. Members of the crisis team and representatives of the business units are also responsible for coordinating product donations if these are requested by affected countries, e. g., in the event of a natural disaster or war.

Fresenius Kabi has a long-standing partnership with action medeor e. V. This non-governmental organization transports our product donations to crisis areas and delivers them on-site. In the reporting year, one truck with vital medical supplies drove to Syria to support the medical treatment and care for patients after the earthquake in February 2023.

In the healthcare services market segment, there are legal requirements for how care is to be organized in the event of an emergency. Accordingly, we have dedicated emergency plans to respond immediately to incidents that might be critical for patients. They encompass, among other aspects, evacuation plans, emergency systems in case of interruption of power or water supply, and plans to respond to impacts on local infrastructure, e. g., due to flooding. Emergency power generators ensure that operations or vital therapies, such as artificial respiration, can continue even in the event of a power failure.