Exploring our backyard: Baroque Medical brings world class educational institute and medical devices to SA
Some gambles are worth taking; buying a lotto ticket, for instance. But there are a great many things one should never take a risk on, and your health is at the top of that list. South Africans may not know it, but one of the leading world medical training facilities is in our own backyard, providing world-class medical devices and training to minimise risk and better the lives of their patients.
South African-based supplier of medical devices and pharmaceutical products Baroque Medical supplies medical equipment for cardiology and neurosurgery departments to South Africa, the Indian Ocean region and certain countries in Africa. For this company, headed by CEO Albert Denoon, training, testing and trials are the core of the business. Denoon’s stalwart dedication to the three ‘T’s’ have made Baroque Medical the single-most respected brand within the industry.
As distributors of medical equipment, Baroque Medical has aligned itself with only world-class companies such as Abbott Vascular and Integra Life Science. The Baroque Medical objective is to provide customers with relevant and innovative products that will improve (and prolong) quality of life. Denoon credits the success of Baroque Medical to focusing in on the best providers and being extremely selective. “In many ways, I think that has been the key reason for our success—having been able to focus and be selected rather than take all comers.”
“I have always sought to work with recognized, reputable companies that have products which are FDA approved and which have obviously passed all their testing and trial periods to make sure they are safe and effective to perform the operation they are designed to do,” Denoon continues.
In an industry where technological advancement makes the computer industry look slow in comparison, Baroque Medical is perpetually upgrading its equipment. To keep up with the rapid pace of advancement in the area, Denoon took the great initiative to set up a world-class training facility right in Johannesburg.
Crossroads is one of three world-class institutes of its kind. The institution (a joint initiative between Baroque Medical and Abbott Vascular) was started 10 years ago in Brussels and set out to be a didactic, peer-to-peer, hands-on training facility which enable physicians to keep up with the magnitude of new clinical data and surgical techniques. Crossroads’ primary purpose is to provide ongoing continuing medical education of an international standard to interventional cardiologists, especially those just starting out in the discipline.
Denoon was impressed by the quality and thoroughness of the training at Crossroads and was instrumental in establishing the facility in South Africa. “After attending Crossroads in Brussels for a number of years, I felt there would be an opportunity to create a centre like this in SA. We set up a Crossroads Institute in Johannesburg to have international and well as local experts training in cardiology.”
The foundation of Crossroads is education, and physicians are exposed to a four-tiered educational program that incorporates theory, discussion, practise, apprenticing and then, eventually, operating. “For example,” explains Denoon, “We televise live cases being done in a hospital, and stream it into our auditorium. This allows us to have two-way discussions between the surgeons and the audience.”
The doctor performing the operation can, in real-time, explain the techniques he or she is using, and give tips and tricks on how to perform the procedures when they go back to their own institution. “It is a multi-faceted centre that offers didactic lectures, peer-to-peer interaction and a virtual reality facility where one is able to practise a new procedure on the simulator. And you can do it over and over again until you get it right, because the simulator will tell you what mistakes you have made or how well you have completed the procedure,” says Denoon. It virtually takes the risk out of the operation, and gives doctors virtual experience in the field.
Love of South Africa
Baroque Medical is planning on expanding its borders to bring excellent medical care to more Africans. Denoon expressed great pride and enthusiasm when detailing the company’s plans to reach out and expand past their niche and really delve into generic pharmaceuticals as well. The Baroque Medical by-line is “Affordable, safe medicine for Africa.”
“We are using our Crossroads Institute and will be taking that facility on the road, so to speak,” says Denoon. “We will do training locally in hospitals in the African continent where we can bring experts not only from SA, but from around the world, to improve the expertise and the knowledge of the local physicians.”
You can hear the passion Denoon has for this educational project in his voice. “This is certainly one way that one is able to give something back to the medical fraternity. By upgrading skills and teaching people and imparting knowledge, we are able to make a difference to people’s lives. That, to me, is the most the rewarding part of everything that we do,” he says.
This local, wholly-owned SA company has used their experience to take training, education and supply of medical equipment to the Africa continent. It is a world class facility, right in our backyard, and growing a new generation of highly skilled professionals and top class medical devices.