On the eve of its acquisition by Australian rival IBA Health, UK-headquartered e-health software supplier iSoft has revealed plans to launch its controversial Lorenzo application in Australia.
The software is at the heart of the UK National Health Service’s troubled £12.4 billion (NZ$33.4 billion) Connecting for Health technology overhaul, which has run into high-profile problems in the past five years involving conflicts with the suppliers — now CSC and iSoft — after global services group Accenture walked away from its role last year.
ISoft Australia and New Zealand managing director Nigel Lutton told the Australian Financial Review recently his company was planning to launch Lorenzo locally in the second half of 2008.
Mr Lutton says iSoft had not launched the software here yet because it had felt the local market’s needs had been served by the company’s existing product suite. This situation has changed because iSoft has begun to use the NHS example to sell Lorenzo in countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. iSoft views Lorenzo as its next-generation platform to provide customers with more flexible and pragmatic e-health solutions than had previously been available.
The e-health supplier’s move comes as iSoft’s primary public sector market in Australia starts to heat up. State health departments were poised to splurge more than A$1 billion on new technology in the next few years as they ramp up plans to replace and link core patient and clinical information systems.
Technology research groups such as Gartner has warned customers to be careful in their dealings with iSoft and local rival IBA Health as the pair finalised their plans to merge via a scheme of arrangement to be voted on by shareholders late this month.
Gartner research director Jonathan Edwards points out in a May 23 research note that Lorenzo is still under development.
“IBA has grown through acquisition (as did iSoft), and has no experience in managing a software development project of the scale and sophistication of Lorenzo,” he wrote.
Lutton says iSoft’s local customer base had not expressed any concerns about the IBA deal as iSoft had been through a number of acquisitions.
He was part of the management buy-out that separated iSoft from its then-parent, CSC Australia, in 1999.
— Australian Financial Review