Telstra Health sticks to Solomon strategy as rumours swirl

Telstra Health was back in the news this week, with Telstra's group executive for new businesses Cynthia Whelan keen to talk to Pulse+IT about her strategy for the coming year. The former investment banker and Barclays ANZ CEO has taken a real interest in the new division, which when compared to the rest of Telstra is so small that it doesn't yet trouble the balance sheet but is of deep and abiding interest to our readers.

Ms Whelan is set to continue the strategy laid out by inaugural MD Shane Solomon, who while he is retiring from the company is still going to be involved in the roll-out of the National Cancer Screening Register. Despite the dramas of last year, it appears that Telstra Health is on track to deliver the NCSR, and Ms Whelan is keen to go for more large, complex projects of this kind.

She is also keen to capitalise on what she calls the foundational capabilities that have been built during Telstra's buying spree and to bring these together to create new products. One that is in prototype phase is a smartphone-based platform for patients and providers that will allow them to access a range of information from disparate sources, and to drag in information from and send it up to the My Health Record.

We hear of other products in the pipeline, including one for diabetes patients taking part in shared care projects, but the main rumours we are hearing concern projects that haven't turned out so well. Ms Whelan didn’t answer questions about rumours that Telstra Health has been cut from the shortlist of four for the Northern Territory's massive tender for new clinical systems, but we hear that there are only two left in the running and Telstra is not one of them.

We haven't confirmed this as yet so if you know, let us know too. We also hear that Telstra Health may be about to offload the Dr Foster analytics firm it bought in 2015, which came armed with founder Tim Kelsey, who is now in a new, more high-profile job.

Also in a new, high-profile job is former environment and former industry minister Greg Hunt, who has now taken on health in a minimal front bench reshuffle. We'll give him a bit of time to get his head around one of the more complex portfolios before pestering him about his plans for eHealth, but if the results of last week's Pulse+IT poll are correct, you are a pessimistic lot.

We asked if you thought the new health minister would inherit an eHealth policy that is on the right or the wrong track. With 70 per cent of you opting for the latter, Mr Hunt has certainly got his work cut out for him.

Tags: Telstra Health, Shane Solomon, Tim Kelsey, Greg Hunt, Cynthia Whelan

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