Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Telstra Buys Into The Aged Care Health IT Space Takes Out A Key Player. Times They Are Changing.

This appeared this week:

Aged care providers want scale in vendors too

By Natasha Egan on November 21, 2014 in Industry, Technology
Just as Australian aged care providers are undertaking mergers and acquisitions to achieve economies of scale, they are also looking for scale and stability in their suppliers, says iCareHealth managing director Chris Gray.
Mr Gray was commenting after this week’s announcement that Telstra Health has acquired the Australian arm of iCareHealth as part of its broader e-health vision to create a better system for patients, providers and funders.
iCareHealth is the only aged care software provider to offer a single person electronic health record across the continuum of aged care. Its software is used in the provision of care to 50,000 residents for clinical care management and 30,000 of those residents for medication management.
Mr Gray, who co-founded the organisation in 2002 and has been at the helm since 2007, said such transactions were a sign of things to come as Australia’s ICT aged care sector comes of age.
“The needs of the aged care providers will be for more scale and more stability within the vendor so you would have to think naturally there will be consolidation of IT providers within the aged care sector,” Mr Gray told Australian Ageing Agenda.
“That is not just in the clinical and medication side; that’s anybody that is supplying information or IT systems into the aged care industry.”
For providers it is about their financial stability as well as getting the IT they need to support their operations and for iCareHealth it is about making wider healthcare connections, he said.
“Being part of the Telstra Health vision, our role is to play the aged care part of that, particularly in residential aged care and how we connect into the pharmacy and the GP and provide all of that healthcare information about a resident to the nursing and care staff on the floor.”
While the business has a new shareholder Mr Gray said his and the rest of the management team’s roles remain the same and iCareHealth would continue to deliver the same service to its clients.
“People’s roles don’t change. It is more about connecting into the other pieces of the software puzzle that Telstra Health is bringing to it and being part of that,” he said.
Lots more here:
This is a very interesting move and certainly again indicates that Telstra is on a mission to become a major player in the e-Health domain.
It is seeming as if things continue at the present pace we will see very few significant e-Health system providers left in the private sector in only a few years’ time.
It is of note that iCareHealth provides both an electronic patient record as well as medication management in its domain as well as connectivity to GPs and Pharmacy.
By becoming a cloud based EHR provider, serviced by Telstra and Microsoft, and offering medication management as well as a clinical record for those patients it becomes a total, more advanced and nationally accessible replacement for the PCEHR as far as clinicians are concerned and facilitates clinical information sharing in what has to be a much more live and curated fashion.
I wonder how long it is before we see similar replacements for the PCEHR in other domains (chronically ill, indigenous etc.) and we can see a large $1.0B Government investment just go down the drain - with Telstra collecting a clip along the way?
Oh dear - Government picks another possible looser I fear.


Anonymous said...

Local EMR requires power, network across the facility and no disasters. Cloud based EMR requires that plus a reliance on wired or wireless internet access and a reliable host. As seen by several other cloud services they are either unreliable (0.5+ day outage due to server/network/power failures) or cost 4x more to have mirrored copies and better SLA. What happens when all that falls and you have patients needing medications ?

Dr David More MB PhD FACHI said...

I have to say, my experience of using a range of cloud services - including this blog - that the cloud seems very reliable and to perform pretty well.

I wonder just what is the motivation for suggesting otherwise?


Anonymous said...

"What happens when all that falls and you have patients needing medications ?"

The answer is the same whether the system in local or in the cloud. There need to be procedures for when the technology fails.