Health technology firms score high on BRW innovators' list

Health IT firms, health insurers and iconic Australian firm Hills have all scored highly on BRW magazine's list of 50 most innovative companies.

While Kiwi cloud-based accounting software firm Xero took first place for its payroll module, there were a number of healthcare companies and healthcare-related technologies in the top 50, including online appointment booking and directory service HealthEngine at number 22, and pharmacy IT specialist Fred IT at number 23.

HealthEngine was cited for the overhaul of the site and its functionality over the last 12 months, which has seen a mobile version of the platform launched and appointment numbers increasing by 57 per cent. HealthEngine says its iPhone app is consistently in the top 20 medical app downloads in Australia and has seen more than 25 per cent of bookings now being made via a mobile device.

Fred IT is the market leader in dispensing systems in Australia and also owns the eRx electronic script exchange, also the market leader. It has also launched the eRx Express app, which is integrated with Fred and allows patients to order their prescription drugs and set a time to pick them up.

The company is now set to launch Fred NXT, the first full function, cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) offering for Australian pharmacies. Fred NXT is an integrated system for dispense, point of sale, professional services and retail management, hosted in the cloud with some locally installed proprietary and third-party software.

Fred CEO Paul Naismith said the company was born out of the vision of innovating as a means of making things easier for pharmacy.

“Investing in and nurturing innovation is the key to finding better ways for health professionals and their patients to connect,” Mr Naismith said. “For pharmacy, this means freeing pharmacists up to spend more time with their patients, rather than trying to become IT experts.”

Health solution provider UHG was named at number 15 for its medEbridge information exchange, which is integrated into MedicalDirector and Best Practice and enables the extraction of patient data from the clinical software for secure transfer to insurance companies so they can assess claims faster and more efficiently.

Online private health insurance firm health.com.au was named at number 11 on the list. It has done away with the traditional shopfront and conducts all of its customer processes online, from application to support. health.com.au claims to have passed 20 insurance companies in market share, and is currently providing health coverage to more than 80,000 Australians.

Hills, which over the last few years has divested itself of its heavy manufacturing background and entered new markets in home security systems and healthcare delivery technology, was named at number 20.

Hills is currently putting together a portfolio of solutions for the healthcare industry, including IP and wireless nurse call systems, patient infotainment systems and aged care home monitoring solutions. It was cited for the development of the Hills Innovation Centre in Adelaide, which is currently developing a nurse call handset for aged care residents with arthritis in association with the University of South Australia.

Pharma company AbbVie Australia, which was spun out of Abbott Pharmaceuticals last year, secured the 21st spot for the development of OnTrack, a patient adherence program for people with Crohn's disease using one of its injectable biologics.

OnTrack is run in two phases over a 12-month period. For the first four months, patients are provided with in-home and over the phone nursing support and then a pharmacy liaison service for a further eight months. The pharmacy liaison service allows script pick-up data to be collected and reported via an online portal.

Product development firm Planet Innovation scored highly at number 3 on the list for the development of a new incubator for IVF, while Bayer ANZ rounded out the top 50 for a radiology contrast media dosage algorithm and associated Protocol Assistance Tool Support (PATS) it has developed. The software provides a recommended dosage to achieve the best image resolution and can be used by non-medically qualified technicians.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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