Telstra enters acute phase with Emerging Systems buy-out

Telstra Health has made another investment to add to its growing portfolio of health IT companies, announcing today it had purchased acute care EMR specialist Emerging Systems.

Emerging Systems has developed and markets the EHS clinical information system, elements of which were first designed by clinicians at St Vincent's Private Hospital in Sydney in 1992.

Known as deLacy at St Vincent's, it has since been developed into a web-based application and is used in both the public and private hospitals. It covers all clinical areas from pre-admission through to post-discharge as well as electronic pathology and radiology ordering, results viewing, multi-disciplinary progress notes and specialist referrals, and recording admission and discharge medications.

EHS is now being installed throughout the St Vincent's Health Australia (SVHA) group, which includes four public hospitals, seven private hospitals and 10 aged care facilities in NSW, Queensland and Victoria. Earlier this year, EHS was chosen as the preferred vendor for St John of God Health Care, beginning with the new 367-bed St John of God Midland public and private hospitals in Perth. In total, EHS has been chosen by 29 hospitals across Australia.

Telstra Health managing director Shane Solomon said Emerging Systems was selected because of the company's focus on communicating with other systems, ease of use, and a pragmatic implementation approach that delivers quick wins in a hospital’s EMR journey.

“Emerging Systems are a dynamic company and both their team and their software solutions are aligned to our ambitions,” Mr Solomon said. “One of their strengths is that we feel their system can more easily enable a patient to share their hospital information with their doctor, specialist, residential or community carer.

“Strategically this is an important acquisition and capability for us. We are building a more connected health system and hospital records obviously play a key role in that. I think Emerging Systems help us further address that need and better integrate that information across the health system.

“I also look forward to working with their management team who bring a strong skill set, commitment and innovative approach to eHealth.”

Emerging Systems CEO Russel Duncan said that the sale to Telstra Health will provide greater scope and funding to be able to expose the company to new possibilities.

“Our values and vision have always been on innovation, partnerships and delivering for our customers and we feel that these are shared by Telstra Health, in particular our commitment to interoperability of systems,” Mr Duncan said.

The acquisition of Emerging Systems signals a major move by Telstra Health into acute care when added to its recent $20 million investment in Orion Health. Last year, Telstra also took a significant stake in Verdi, the Melbourne-based firm formerly known as IP Health, which has developed a suite of products in association with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and used by the Mater group in Brisbane.

Telstra also has the Australian licence for the Dr Foster risk-adjusted quality measurement tool for hospitals.

Most recently, Telstra purchased the market leader in residential and community aged care software, iCareHealth, and is developing a portfolio of products and services across all healthcare settings, including pharmacy through its investment in Fred IT and in primary care.

It owns HealthConnex and its suite of products, which include Argus secure messaging, Communicare clinical software, and aged and community care software package TCM. HealthConnex also manages the National Health Services Directory (NHSD) on behalf of Healthdirect Australia.

Telstra also plans to launch a direct-to-GP, 24-hour telehealth service called ReadyCare next year.

Emerging Systems was heavily involved in the Wave 2 project for the implementation of the PCEHR led by St Vincent's, which concentrated on developing electronic discharge summaries that are now being sent up to the PCEHR and out to local GPs by secure messaging.

It has also developed the capability to send and receive eReferrals, specialist letters and event summaries to and from GPs through its GP Connect module. EHS has a full mobility solution for iPad and iPhones and Emerging Systems and St Vincent's Sydney are also developing a patient administration system together.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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