It came as a bit of a surprise this week to see that Hills Ltd, formerly of hoist fame and for some time now a player in nurse call, patient infotainment and security IT solutions, had taken a majority share in Extensia, the small Brisbane firm that developed the RecordPoint shared care record. We haven’t heard from Extensia in years and thought they’d gone out of business, but up they popped in an industry survey on Tuesday as a case study for medical software’s value during the COVID pandemic in Australia.
Hills actually took the stake back in November 2021 but is only promoting it publicly now, new Hills CEO David Clarke tells us. The move is part of a renewed focus on the health sector for Hills, which is planning to divest itself of the security IT business, its most profitable asset. Hills has some quality contracts for its patient infotainment, hospital TV and nurse call systems in both hospitals and aged care, as well as a distribution agreement with US firm GetWell for its patient engagement products, but clinical software is a new venture for the company. The company has also cleared two long-standing, multi-million dollar legal actions against it, one dismissed by the Federal Court and the other resolved to everyone’s mutual relief.
The devastation inflicted on northern NSW and Queensland during the floods over the last fortnight has been heartbreaking to watch. Having spent some time in Kyogle and the northern rivers of NSW as well as southern Queensland, Pulse+IT is finding it hard to imagine the horror that the people and animals of the region have gone through.
While tertiary health services seem to have survived quite well, the same can’t be said for the fate of many primary healthcare providers, who are after all the lifeblood of regional communities. General practices, pharmacies, community and Aboriginal health centres and allied health have had their premises and their businesses swamped and destroyed. The pictures of elderly people from residential aged care facilities still dressed in their pyjamas being rescued in dinghies and carried to safety by locals and Pacific Island seasonal workers is reassuring. The images of the total destruction of the town of Lismore is not.
The big news in health IT this week was the proposed sale of EMR vendor Allscripts’ hospital assets to Harris Computer, a subsidiary of Canadian software company Constellation Software. Harris has been buying up a few interesting companies recently, including Sydney-based obstetric and maternity software developer Meridian Health Informatics.
Meridian’s software is used by NSW Health, Queensland Health and Tasmania’s Department of Health, and Harris also added in the UK’s K2 Medical Systems to the mix last year, with a view perhaps to hoovering up the hospital-based maternity market. But Allscripts is a much bigger kettle of fish, with EMRs implemented around the world and a healthy enough listing on the NASDAQ index.