Telstra buys DCA's healthcare division

Telstra has acquired the healthcare division of Database Consultants Australia (DCA), which markets the Argus secure messaging service and the tcm and Communicare clinical software packages.

DCA Health has a diverse portfolio and has made a few purchases of its own, including last year's acquisition of Aboriginal healthcare software specialist Communicare and the recent purchase of CSC's residential aged and community care assets.

DCA Health general manager Peter Young said the company would continue as normal and it would not be consumed into Telstra's internal structure.

“DCA has taken its health assets and around 80 staff and we have created our own company, DCA Health,” Mr Young said.

“Shares in that company have been sold to Telstra as a fully operational entity. We will continue [as usual], all the staff and the customers, will continue."

Telstra's head of healthcare Shane Solomon said the acquisition was part of building capability in Telstra’s growing health portfolio.

Earlier this year, Telstra made a substantial investment in online health directory and appointment booking service HealthEngine and in IP Health, which markets the Verdi electronic health record software used at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Mater Hospital in Queensland.

DCA CEO Declan Ryan said in a statement that the process of selling off DCA's health division was “carefully conducted with the aim of providing the best possible outcome for all parties involved”.

“DCA Health is a recognised leader in the health technology industry that has sound financial performance, unique expertise, and a strong growth perspective,” Mr Ryan said.

“This is a great opportunity for our experienced and motivated management team to implement an ambitious business plan through its new owner, Telstra, to deliver an extended suite of ICT services to the eHealth and community health sectors across Australia.”

Mr Young said that "having Telstra with us and supporting us means that we can expand into markets where there is a need. We wouldn't have otherwise been able to have that.”

One of DCA Health's assets is its Human Services Directory (HSD), which it built and manages for the Victorian government. The HSD has since been used as the basis to build the National Health Services Directory (NHSD), which DCA Health is contracted to develop and maintain on behalf of Healthdirect Australia.

The NHSD not only allows consumers to search for local health services such as GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals and their associated opening hours and accessibility, but it also contains an endpoint locator service (ELS) to enable secure messaging of encrypted health data.

Mr Young said DCA Health has the right to commercialise the HSD overseas, which the company plans to do. DCA's solutions architect Brian Postlethwaite has led international work on developing a standard for health services directories based on the ServD specification in association with HL7 and the international standards body Object Management Group (OMG).

DCA Health also bought the Argus secure messaging service in 2010 and also owns an SMD-compliant messaging service gateway called ConnectingCare, which is interoperable with Argus and the HSD.

In 2012, DCA acquired WA-based Communicare, which is widely used by Aboriginal healthcare organisations and some general practices. Communicare was a member of NEHTA's GP desktop vendors panel - DCA's tcm is also a member of its aged care vendors panel - and both are fully PCEHR compliant.

Telstra Health's Mr Solomon said the future of healthcare will see more patients cared for at home and that technology will play a critical role.

“As technology evolves and our demography changes our hospitals, medical centres, pharmacies and health professionals will need better ways of serving patients and we are looking to play a part in enabling this,” he said.

"Our acquisition of DCA Health is an important foundation asset for Telstra Health. It will enable Telstra to play a significant role in care co-ordination for people receiving health care at home, improve connectivity of health services through its national Health Service Directory, and ensure the secure transfer of confidential patient information between hospitals, doctors and other community health service providers."

Posted in Australian eHealth

Comments   

# NeeKer 2013-08-29 12:10
Telco getting serious in healthcare delivery

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