Martin and Audrey Wood founded Oxford Instruments (OI), the first spin-off from Oxford University, in 1959. In 1961, OI developed the first superconducting magnet. In 1983, OI was floated on the London Stock Exchange. Over the years, OI has been received numerous honors. Co-founder Martin Wood was knighted by the Queen and OI has won numerous Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.
In 1989 OI entered into a 15-year joint venture with Siemens to manufacture human MRI machines, under the name Oxford Magnet Technology. OI’s primary role in the joint venture was to manufacture superconducting magnets and service the refrigeration portion (cold heads, lines, adsorbers and compressors) of MRI machines. The Siemens joint venture was the start of what now is OI Healthcare (OIHC). In 2004, Siemens purchased the OI shares in Oxford Magnet Technology. As part of the purchase agreement, OI retained a refrigeration service arrangement which continues today.
In 2011, OI acquired Platinum Medical Imaging (PMI) to augment their refrigeration service offerings. At the time of acquisition, PMI was focused on the delivery of refurbished General Electric (GE) CT and MRI systems, service of GE CT and MRI systems and component repair and parts sales for GE CT & MRI systems. Part of the motivation for the acquisition was the recognition that the Siemens service business was ebbing and OI desired to have a more robust offering in this market space.
OIHC operates in four business sectors: GE and Siemens CT and MRI maintenance service; GE and Siemens refurbished CT and MRI equipment sales; Mobile CT, MRI, PET/CT and nuclear medicine mobile rentals (multiple manufacturers); and GE and Siemens CT and MRI parts sales.
ICE magazine recently interviewed Oxford Instruments Healthcare National Sales and Marketing Manager, Rex Lindsey, to find out more about the company and its plans for the future.
Q: What are some advantages that your company has over the competition?
A: Oxford Instruments Healthcare is truly in a class by itself. On the one hand, we have a strong research and development background coupled with having been a manufacturer of high-field superconducting magnets for several OEMs. Oxford Instruments had a decades’ long partnership with Siemens to supply them magnets for their MRI systems. To this day, you can still pull off the cover of most Siemens MRI systems and see our logo on the magnet. On the other hand, we have a tremendous amount of autonomy and flexibility in our healthcare division to grow and adapt to the rapid changes we are seeing in today’s healthcare market. Our MRI and CT leadership teams have been “in the trenches” for 25+ years and know what it takes to develop long-term partnership with healthcare providers. I believe this is a key advantage in today’s mergers and acquisitions environment where private equity and venture capital investments bring leadership teams along with them that struggle to understand the nuances of how independent service organizations find success in healthcare. Our culture still embraces the entrepreneurial “do whatever it takes” attitude to thrive in today’s market, but we also have the financial backing of a $500 million publicly traded company that empowers us to make strategic investments that benefit our customers. We are able to customize our solutions to each healthcare provider and scale them nationwide. It truly is the best of both worlds.
Q: Can you explain your company’s core competencies and unique selling points?
A: Since starting out as a research and development company, Oxford Instruments has always viewed quality as being paramount to our long-term success. Whether it’s providing onsite repair service, providing a refurbished MRI coil, changing out a CT tube, delivering onsite clinical applications training or replacing a coldhead; we understand high-quality results must be consistent, reliable, reproducible and scalable. Quality is engrained into our culture, and it starts from the top down with President, Jeff Fall and COO, Mark Bringholf. It is of the upmost importance to them, and their laser focus on quality is reflected throughout our organization’s behavior. That’s why Oxford was one of the first MRI and CT independent service organizations to achieve ISO 13485:2016 certification. This fosters the confidence our customers have in us. They know from first-hand experience that we deliver on our commitments.
Healthcare providers have diverse needs and requirements when it comes to MRI and CT imaging equipment, and we have a complete portfolio of solutions available to them. Does your hospital have a strong in-house service team that just needs magnet monitoring and cryo-refrigeration services? We have the solution. Is your hospital planning on upgrading the scanners in your diagnostic imaging department and need to lease mobile CT and MRI systems to scan patients while the imaging suites are remodeled? We have the solution. Are you a free-standing cancer center who can’t take the financial risk of losing a CT tube and need full service coverage? Whatever the situation, we can help.
Q: Can you share some company success stories with our readers – a time that you “saved the day” for a customer?
A: Yes, there are two recent situations that come to mind. The first is we had a customer who experienced a horrible electrical storm. Lightning struck the building causing a power surge so strong that it rendered the CT gantry inoperable. We had engineers onsite quickly, and after extensive troubleshooting and multiple part replacements, it was determined that the gantry couldn’t be restored. We had a replacement gantry in stock, so we decided to quickly ship and install the gantry reducing further down time and impact to patient care. This happened to a refurbished CT system we sold with a one-year warranty, and this event occurred during the warranty period. This experience demonstrated to our customer the lengths we would go to to stand behind our product and support them.
We also had a recent situation where one of our customer’s MRI systems experienced a spontaneous quench in the middle of the night, and over the weekend. Our remote monitoring technology, OiVision, alerted us to the event immediately. We were able to get engineering onsite within the hour to replace the burst disc and stop further damage and helium loss. Within 48 hours of the quench, we had the magnet helium filled, ramped, shimmed and turned over to the customer for clinical use.
Q: Can you please describe your company’s facility?
A: Yes, I feel this is another unique advantage we have. Oxford Instruments Healthcare has three Centers of Excellence nationwide dedicated to various aspects of our business. Our MRI hub of operations is based in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Our mobile fleet is stationed in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And our CT operation is headquartered in Vacaville, California. There is a combined total of 75,000 square feet across these locations. Each is ISO 13485:2016 certified, and I believe it is this unique blend of infrastructure, resources and expertise comparable to the OEMs combined with our flexible and entrepreneurial independent service organization culture that allows us to provide a customer experience second to none in the industry.
Q: What is on the horizon for your company?
A: With declining reimbursements, we understand that healthcare providers are under extreme pressure to do more with less, and to squeeze the most value out of every penny they can. We are dedicated to being first-to-market on newer MRI and CT technologies whether it be quality refurbished systems, maintenance options, replacement parts or mobile leasing solutions. We will continue to be well positioned to empower our customers to maximize their patient care, efficiency and revenue potential.
For more information, visit www.oxinst.com/healthcare.