Medtech builds integrated personal health portal

Portal allows patients to make online appointments, deliver secure email, and access lab results

New Zealand health software developer Medtech Global is building a personal health portal to help patients manage their own health.

The portal will allow patients to make online appointments, deliver secure email, access to lab results and deliver appointment reminders among other benefits.

One of the big advantages of such a portal, however, is in making communications between the doctor and the patient part of the patient’s electronic health record (EHR), says Auckland-based Medtech’s chief operating officer, Sanjeewa Samaraweera.

The portal, called Manage My Health, will also allow patients to add their own entries to medical records, set health objectives and calendar key medical dates, such as dates for immunisations.

Samaraweera says tailorable access to the patient’s portal can also be granted to careegivers through a trustlist.

There has even been talk of “break-glass” functionality being built into a later release of the system to allow emergency access to the record.

Samaraweera says the system can save doctors, nurses and patients time and improve the efficiency of medical practices at a time when qualified staff are hard to find. He says the system has six key areas: access to the EHR; online appointment booking with a shared online calendar; access to lab results with alerts to the patient of any updates or changes; prescription ordering; recall and follow-up and; secure email that is part of the EHR.

Manage My Health is being built for New Zealand practices and is going into beta soon, he says. It is tightly integrated with Medtech’s practice management system, Medtech 32, but is built on Microsoft’s .Net architecture to allow it to integrate with other similar systems as well.

Samaraweera says pricing is licence-based, but at the moment that is commercially sensitive. He says each practice will charge for actions completed or services delivered on the system in their own way as practices are businesses in their own right. “It’s up to the practices how they incorporate it into their workflow,” he says, describing the system a “CRM for doctors”, to help them manage their patients.

Medtech has been working on the project for two years. A proof of concept was sponsored by Microsoft.

Medtech Global was founded in New Zealand 25 years ago. It is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and reported revenue for the quarter ended June of A$2.2 million (NZ$2.4 million). For the year ended March 2008 it reported revenue of A$8.4 million, up from A$4.6 million in 2007. However, it made a loss in 2008 of nearly A$5 million after taking an impariment charge on trademarks and licences acquired over seven years ago of A$4.4 million.

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