TrakHealth targets NZ

Consolidation may lead to competition opportunities

Opportunities for more competition in the health ICT market in New Zealand may paradoxically grow following Sydney-based IBA Health’s takeover of British competitor iSoft last year.

So says Darren Jones, now director of worldwide markets for Melbourne-based TrakHealth. Jones was formerly in charge of sales for the Australia/NZ region at TrakHealth.

“I can’t read the minds of government or [other] public-sector bodies on this,” he says, “but it’s my impression the [NZ] government wants to keep a competitive market.”

Advice may therefore be discreetly given to local buyers to help deter a situation where the new larger player can achieve a virtual monopoly.

This, TrakHealth hopes, may raise its chances of getting a foothold in the NZ public-sector health market, especially as it is now itself owned and backed by a strong multinational. TrakHealth was taken over in May last year by Boston headquartered InterSystems, which supplied the integration platform and database system on which TrakHealth’s TrakCare software runs.

The InterSystems database system, Caché, is also used by other major health systems providers, including iSoft and IBA.

TrakCare implements what it calls “connected health” — following a patient through one or more episodes of admission, diagnosis, treatment and discharge with various providers and keeping a permanent record of their interactions with the health system to help future management of that patient.

TrakHealth has not penetrated the public-sector health market in New Zealand yet, but its software has been installed at St George’s private hospital in Christchurch for a few years and Mercy Hospital in Dunedin for about 18 months. Its latest NZ private-sector customer is Wakefield Health, covering Wellington and Hawkes Bay, which signed up late last year.

The company is definitely pushing hard with the Ministry of Health and local DHBs for a foothold in the NZ public health sector. The closer relationship with InterSystems should improve confidence in the company towards this end, its spokespeople say.

All has not been happy with TrakHealth in this part of the world, however. In 2005, Queensland Health scrapped a $A30m contract for a patient administration system and clinical system from the company.

TrakHealth and Intersystems spokespeople say legal proceedings were still pending over the affair and they could not comment any further.

Despite ownership by an overseas company, TrakHealth’s research and development will still be done in Australia, says Denis Turbett, managing director of InterSystems’ Sydney-based subsidiary.

• Bell travelled to Sydney as a guest of TrakHealth

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