Seizing the opportunity – now is the time to piece together the information 'jigsaw puzzle’ and solve the interoperability challenge.

By Judith Smith, Managing Director, Dedalus UK

The NHS has been facing one of the most challenging times in its history. Quite rightly, every ounce of energy, money and effort has been invested in fighting COVID-19, with medical interventions and digital services being implemented to provide vital care to everyone that needs it.

It’s at times like this, that interoperability and the ability to be able to access accurate information quickly, easily and with efficiency, is of utmost importance.

It not only ensures an individual healthcare organisation can identify, triage and treat vulnerable patients effectively, but on a regional and national level, it can help the NHS and government monitor and manage occupancy levels, A&E capacity, waittimes, and lengths of stay.

The information jigsaw puzzle
The benefits of linking different health systems, and having software talk to each other and share information, is a precious commodity in today’s healthcare environment. And some good progress has been made in recent years. For example, technology suppliers, including Dedalus, have come together with service providers and the central NHS bodies through action groups such as INTEROPen, to encourage the adoption of interoperability standards and prioritise the development of use cases.

However, one of the biggest remaining challenges is completing the information ‘jigsaw puzzle’, so that all of the patient’s data can follow them wherever they are, and whenever they need healthcare. And professionals across the care continuum can access and share this information quickly and easily.

To achieve this, the analogue services that feed into this puzzle – such as pathology - have to start incorporating digital processes and subsequently, contributing to the much needed holistic view of the patient. To move away from the current set-up, where a team of clinicians can only access certain information about a patient’s biopsies by visiting an on-site laboratory.

The virtues of digital pathology
There has never been greater pressure on pathologists to deliver their services, as they continue to face the challenge of an increasing workload and case complexity. This comes at a time when there is already a chronic shortage of pathologists working in the NHS, and the service as a whole is being consolidated into 29 regional networks in a bid to release £200m of cost savings.

Albeit a service that many wouldn’t consider easy to digitise due to the very nature of the anatomical process, the complete end-to-end tracking and workflow management of samples (from biopsy registrations to diagnosis, reporting and cloud storage) can be transformed. The onset of high resolution imagery and digital connectivity means that samples and glass slides no longer need to leave the lab. Similarly, collaborative diagnoses and second opinions from clinicians can be sought remotely using ‘virtual slides’ and effective online multi-disciplinary pathology platforms.

Rolling out these remote services will enable hospitals to share scarce specialist pathologists across a region. The well-documented virtues of digitising traditional, analogue processes will also deliver significant service improvements. This includes improving diagnostic accuracy and time efficiencies, which is particularly important at the moment, when resources are stretched and the need to share data is more important than ever, particularly with virologists.

By digitising elements of the pathway – which will hopefully be energised by the commitment of £168 million for digital pathology - the NHS will also be adding a significant piece to the jigsaw puzzle that hasn’t been possible before. Meaning a team of clinicians responsible can easily access and share information (including tissue samples and biopsies) on a single platform with multiple colleagues in different locations, in order to efficiently and safely plan the care of the patient.

Interpreting the data
Equally important as completing this jigsaw puzzle is interpreting the data, or more so, the picture it represents as a whole. The NHS needs to understand the information that sits across the care continuum, to allow for better and faster exchanges of knowledge, and for providers to respond to patient needs and improve the care pathway. This is particularly true at the moment, when it’s clear that healthcare is not local.

It’s why the steps taken recently by NHS Improvement, NHS England and NHSX to link-up health data for better reporting and analysis, to manage and plan for the unprecedented demand across the country, must be applauded.

Accessing and interpreting the right data at the right time will save lives. And the advancements that are being made in response to COVID-19 will hopefully accelerate the step-change in integration (underpinned by digitisation) that’s been needed for so long.

Changing for the future
One thing is for certain and that’s healthcare systems need to adapt, to ensure the learnings from the pandemic are taken forward. And with the government initiatives already in place to encourage digital transformation, pathology is primed to start using remote solutions and collaboration platforms to integrate into the information jigsaw puzzle. As standards of care evolve, this knowledge can be shared across multiple systems, on a local, regional and national level.

Now is the time to seize the opportunity, and change for the future.

Dedalus UK response to COVID-19

With the rapid development of COVID-19 in the UK, Dedalus believe it’s important to be open about how we’re responding.  With family values and people at the heart of our business, we have taken the following precautions to protect our employees as well as those with whom we work.

The below information reflects our guidelines at 16th March 2020.  As the situation progresses we will update relevant points accordingly:

Remote Working

Dedalus UK has long been an advocate of providing the flexibility for employees to achieve the most relevant and efficient working balance suited to their role.  In light of current developments, the welfare of our staff and those nearest to them must comes first and as such, all employees have been asked to work remotely with effect from 12th March 2020.

Company Travel

We believe that limiting travel by shared-access transport is a sensible option to help reduce risk of infection.

Employees have been asked to cancel any pre-existing international trips, and refrain form booking future trips until further notice.  Our policy for travel within the UK advises against all but essential travel.

We ask employees returning from international travel or who have had confirmed or suspected exposure to infection at any time, to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Meetings and Events 

Whilst working on a case-by-case basis, the standard current Dedalus policy is to use audio-visual platforms for meetings, events and marketing as a default, and limit any meetings in person to no more than four people where absolutely essential.


Dedalus HR and leadership team are updating employees on the latest developments and strive to address concerns and questions where possible to provide the support needed.  All employees working with external Partners, suppliers and third parties will be communicating and working to Dedalus policies and Coronavirus guidance issued by Public Health England.

Business Continuity

In spite of the restrictions created by COVID-19, Dedalus UK is committed to maintaining the level and high standard of business support to our Customers and Partners, through

  • 24/7 call assistance
  • On-site assistance team (using protective measures)
  • Solutions which pioneer shared knowledge and collaboration, without the need for face-to-face meetings

Please email, should you have any enquiries related to the above.

We appreciate your continued support and wish to extend a heartfelt Thank You to all NHS hospitals, Customers and Partners who are all going above and beyond to help patients at this crucial time.

Dedalus Holding, controlled by Ardian, submits a firm offer to Agfa-Gevaert Group to buy of its healthcare software business and enters into an exclusivity agreement for the acquisition

London, 5th December 2019 – Dedalus Holding, a company 60% majority-owned by the independent private investment company Ardian, has submitted a firm offer and entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire part of Agfa-Gevaert’s healthcare software business (the “Business”).

The Business, which generates around 260 million Euro of full-year revenues, is made up of Agfa’s Healthcare Information Solutions and Integrated Care activities, as well as associated Imaging IT activities integrated into these units.

With a total turnover of 470 million Euro, the acquisition of Agfa-Gevaert’s healthcare software business will firmly establish the Dedalus Group as the European leader in the healthcare software sector, with a presence in over 30 countries and leadership positions in Italy, Germany and France.

Commenting on the news, Judy Smith, Managing Director of Dedalus Healthcare UK, said: “We are tremendously excited to be in acquisition talks with AGFA Healthcare IT.

“As the largest European provider of health information systems, we are committed to delivering integrated clinical solutions that truly revolutionise patient care. The acquisition of Agfa’s healthcare software business will ensure that we are able to further fulfil that commitment and continue to transform patient lives and ease clinical workloads.

“This development is just a taste of what is to come next year for the UK. Following the lead of our European parents, we will be launching the UK roadmap in early 2020 with an eye on growth, more intuitive solutions and, above all, a focus on our customers, providing even easier and more efficient deployment.”

Yann Chareton, Managing Director of Ardian Buyout, said: “We invested in Dedalus in 2016 to accelerate the growth of the company in Europe, as we knew that the group had all the characteristics to be able to compete successfully in its sector on a global scale.

“This acquisition in the healthcare technology space underpins ARDIAN’s strategy to support transitions of companies into undisputed leaders in their respective markets, widening their offering and geographic reach with transformational build-ups.”


Dedalus – Advisors

M&A Advisor: BNP Paribas, UBS, Banca IMI
Legal Advisor: Clifford Chance
Commercial Due Diligence: EY Parthenon
Financial, Tax, Operational Due Diligence: KPMG
Technology Due Diligence: Tech Economy
Debt Advisor: Rothschild



Dedalus Healthcare Ltd is part of the Dedalus Group, which is the largest European provider of healthcare information systems, with implementations on 5 continents, in 25 countries and a multi-million Euro R&D budget. Dedalus covers the full spectrum of healthcare solutions from digital anatomical pathology, LIMS
integration, laboratory automation, digital storage, asset tracking, population health management, e-prescribing and powerful interoperability capabilities.



The Agfa-Gevaert Group develops, manufactures and distributes an extensive range of analogue and digital imaging systems and IT solutions, mainly for the printing industry and the healthcare sector, as well as for specific industrial applications.

Agfa’s headquarters and parent company are located in Mortsel, Belgium. The Agfa-Gevaert Group achieved a turnover of 2,247 million Euro in 2018.



Ardian is a world-leading private investment house with assets of US$96bn managed or advised in Europe, the Americas and Asia. The company is majority-owned by its employees. It keeps entrepreneurship at its heart and focuses on delivering excellent investment performance to its global investor base.

Through its commitment to shared outcomes for all stakeholders, Ardian’s activities fuel individual, corporate and economic growth around the world.

Holding close its core values of excellence, loyalty and entrepreneurship, Ardian maintains a truly global network, with more than 640 employees working from fifteen offices across Europe (Frankfurt, Jersey, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Paris and Zurich), the Americas (New York, San Francisco and Santiago) and Asia (Beijing, Singapore, Tokyo and Seoul). It manages funds on behalf of more than 1,000 clients through five pillars of investment expertise: Fund of Funds, Direct Funds, Infrastructure, Real Estate and Private Debt.