This blog is totally independent, unpaid and has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
Telstra Is At It Again! Buying More Companies and Applications In The E-Health Domain. Interesting Purchase This Time.
Telstra notched up its 15th investment for its growing Health division after the telco acquired British-based health analytics business Dr Foster in the latest step towards turning its stand-alone health unit into a billion-dollar-a-year business.
The company paid about $15 million to acquire the Dr Foster business, which works with public and private healthcare organisations to improve internal care processes by measuring variations in hospital errors.
“It can be used to identify areas where patient mortality or patient length of stay or patient readmission is more than it should be given the complexity of the individual patient,” Telstra Health managing director Shane Solomon told The Australian.
“It identifies areas of strength and weakness adjusting for the risk of the patients. Hospitals use this to look at areas where they are doing better than average … and conversely they can identify where they are doing badly and identify which areas they need to pay attention to.”
In Britain, where Dr Foster was established in 1999 by two journalists, the service is also used as a tool of accountability to publish information on the quality of UK National Health Service hospitals.
But Dr Solomon said there were no such plans to use the tool in a similar way in Australia. “In Australia, so far, our customers have preferred to use it as a quality improvement tool within hospitals rather than a public tool,” he said.
“If you have a blame culture people go to ground, they won’t own up to things. The real public good here is that people who survive in hospitals are those that should survive.”
Under the acquisition, Telstra will pick up 100 staff and two offices, one in London and an analytics unit in the Imperial College London, which is a highly respected medical research institute in Britain.
Telstra has acquired a health analytics company in a deal reportedly worth $40-50 million as it builds out its health tech division.
UK-based Dr Foster was snapped up by Telstra Health after it previously secured distribution rights to the company’s software, which is used by healthcare providers to rank and compare performance of hospitals and staff.
Telstra has not disclosed the terms of the deal but the AFR reported industry sources indicated the telco had paid between $40 million and $50 million for the company.
Part-owned by the UK Department of Health, Telstra Health will continue to build out the Dr Foster business in Australia and the UK, as well as pursue international opportunities. The company already has contracts in place at 15 hospital services in Australia.
In October 2014, Telstra launched its new healthcare unit. It expects health spending to grow to $200 billion by 2020 and sees Australia struggling to provide reliable services in the face of an ageing population and a rising instance of chronic diseases.
This story (from their website) explains what Dr Foster is and does:
Operating in England, continental Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia we work with a wide range of organisations and clients, including healthcare providers and commissioners/payors, clinicians and managers. Our products, people and services provide actionable insights and inform decision-making by leadership teams.
Health systems in most countries today face significant challenges, of which one of the greatest is to “do more with less”. They need better information to identify the changes that are required to ensure that they are sustainable, and to really engage doctors and managers on the change journey. Understanding variation is one key aspect of this; reducing unwarranted variation by improving performance will deliver better care for patients and save money.
We work across health economies to monitor and benchmark performance – nationally and globally – against key indicators of quality and efficiency, drawing on multiple datasets (including administrative data and hospital theatre data) in innovative and pioneering ways. We work closely with the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial College London and all our metrics, methodologies and models are published in full. We adhere to a Code of Conduct that prohibits political bias and requires us to act in the public interest. The code is monitored by the Dr Foster Ethics Committee.