InterSystems positions HealthShare for connectivity

InterSystems will release an upgrade of its HealthShare strategic integration platform this month, featuring a number of embedded international standards designed to encourage its use to connect to regional and national eHealth initiatives such as the PCEHR.

InterSystems' group commercial director Steve Garrington said the company had spent the last year working with existing customers in Australia and New Zealand to upgrade and standardise their versions of the technology to enable them to increase their connectivity to other emerging technologies.

The company is also increasing its emphasis on its laboratory information management systems (LIMS) business, hoping to win some new contracts in Australia following its 2010 deal to install its TrakCare Lab product throughout Wales and a more recent contract involving 200 laboratories in South Africa.

InterSystems, which last week won the 2012 Frost & Sullivan Asia-Pacific Healthcare IT Company of the Year Award, released a major upgrade of HealthShare in May, featuring patented new technology called iKnow that allows users to retrieve and use unstructured data such as dictated notes, images and free text as well as newActive Analytics technology that enables up-to-the-minute patient data to be analysed and acted upon.

It also recently won a contract with the Royal District Nursing Service in Victoria to integrate its rostering, client management, HL7 clinical messaging, human resources and finance functions.

“What we are doing on an ongoing and increasing basis is embedding international standards, including Australian, in the HealthShare product,” Mr Garrington said. “HealthShare is what we call a strategic informatics platform so if you are a HealthShare customer, you will be able to use it to connect to things, to hold information and to manage and analyse information accordingly.

“We are hoping to encourage some organisations whether they be state or private groups to use that technology to connect to the PCEHR, or generally just to use it to connect.”

Mr Garrington said the October release would be shipped as standard on the HealthShare platform for the first time. “Instead of just sending it out on a database we are going to send it out on an integration platform, so the standards will be built into the applications as well as into the HealthShare product,” he said.

“You'll end up with a much cleaner path to PCEHR connectivity or messaging standards, whatever it is.”

In addition to several new contracts InterSystems hopes to announce shortly, the company is working with some existing customers to assist them to integrate their technologies. In Western Australia, for example, InterSystems is assisting the state health department to connect to the My eHealth record, which has been expanded from its foundation in the Northern Territory to include indigenous populations in the Kimberley.

InterSystems is also working on the Fiona Stanley Hospital to integrate not just health applications but general infrastructure as well.

“The key for us looking forward will be winning new hospital and laboratory business, and there is some of that going on in the market – you have to be a bit patient but there is some,” Mr Garrington said. “In diagnostics, there are a few government organisations who are planning to come to market so we are going to bid for that.”

One of those is the NSW government, which is revising its pathology services to connect major laboratories in urban centres to some of the smaller labs in the regions to allow them to share work.

“Generally, the local business is beginning to pick up a bit of momentum. It has been a pretty quiet market – InterSystems has been focused understandably on geographies where the opportunities are and the Australian market is tough to crack because in the hospital space there are two or three suppliers who are absolutely entrenched, so you have to be patient.”

On the PCEHR and the government's wider eHealth plans, Mr Garrington said that like many government programs, it will take a while to gain momentum, but he gave credit to the government for the course of action it has taken.

“What they are trying to do is make the market decide what it needs and deliver on it. The amount of funding that they are applying – you read how people are complaining about the money being spent – in terms of what they are trying to achieve it isn't a drop in the ocean. I regard it as seed funding.

“If they can persuade individual health providers to purchase things that will drive suppliers to build things, which is what they are trying to do, then that will create a market on its own that is self-sustaining. The problem with any other approach is it becomes a constant and monumental drip out of treasury.

“If you look at things like the Obama money or the UK national program in its heyday, hundreds of hundreds of billions, it's not sustainable. The problems that you see emerging now I think are more fundamental issue of whether it is at federal or state level, how will governments get a grip on the health economy to prevent the circumstance of it consuming the whole budget.”

Frost & Sullivan's industry analyst for its Asia-Pacific healthcare practice, Natasha Gulati, said that in selecting InterSystems for its top award, it had employed both qualitative and quantitative benchmarking criteria in the areas of excellence in growth strategy and differentiation, degree of innovation in business process, and leadership in customer value and market penetration.

"InterSystems understands there is a significant trend towards high-volume, highly complex installations rather than incremental enhancements at isolated organisations," Ms Gulati said. "To capture growth from this trend, InterSystems is increasingly working with government agencies and large private healthcare groups.

"InterSystems has also innovated service delivery by offering country editions of its products, SaaS-based delivery models and its ARIES methodology for rapidly implementing complex, large-scale enterprise software systems. Together, these innovations help clients reduce cost and risk, improve business processes, and keep abreast of the latest technology and software.

"Frost & Sullivan believes that InterSystems has crafted its core competencies – product excellence, partnering with customers, and delivery in diverse geographies – with a lot of attention to detail and is adopting very specific programs to maintain and harness growth from these competencies. It has a well-defined business strategy, which will help it achieve its growth goals."

Posted in Australian eHealth

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