Software-as-a-Service scales up Concordia health system

Former US CIO and Microsoft exec hired to head NZ firm

The Software-as-a-Service model has proved successful for Auckland-based healthcare software provider Healthphone and its Concordia product.

Healthphone has quadrupled its number of staff in the last 12 months, says Matt Hector-Taylor, founder and current CEO of Healthphone. The company now employs 40 staff in New Zealand, Australia, the US, Canada and Singapore. All of the international offices have opened in the last year, and offices in the UK and Hong Kong are expected to be established in June, says Hector-Taylor.

Last week, Healthphone appointed Debbie Gillotti, a former Microsoft, Redmond, senior director as its new CEO. Gillotti, who will take up her new role in June, has been with Microsoft for six years. Before that she was CIO at Starbucks and at Duracell. She plans to establish Healthphone’s global headquarters in Seattle, where she is based, but the company’s presence in New Zealand will still be strong, she says.

Research and development is to remain in New Zealand, and Hector-Taylor expects the Auckland-based R&D team to grow from 20 to 35 in the near future.

Concordia is designed for healthcare providers in the community care, long-term care, home-care, hospice and mental health sectors, says Hector-Taylor. The core functionalities include patient administration; care delivery at different locations; workforce management; financial management and reporting.

The Concordia PDA client allows care providers to access this information on a mobile device, enabling them to serve patients in the community without requiring a permanent connection to the Concordia server.

Hector-Taylor initiated the Microsoft Collaborative Health Showcase project which began in July 2005 and was undertaken by a number of New Zealand health IT companies all members of the Health IT Cluster. The purpose was to show how a collaborative approach was possible and how it could improve patient care, he says.

The project uses Microsoft services architecture to create a virtual patient record and that is how Healthphone crossed paths with Gillotti, then Microsoft’s senior director of partner strategy for the worldwide public sector.

“I got to know Matt and some of his colleagues very well and, having been continually impressed with the quality of delivery, it became a natural evolution that I could lend my collective management experience to this situation and work with people that I really enjoyed. That is a rare combination out there sometimes,” says Gillotti.

Gillotti says she sees tremendous potential for software-as-a-service, as many organisations, for example local and or regional government, have limited IT infrastructures and don’t have the resources to manage this type of environment themselves.

“Having a model that allows them to — with a minimum of overhead and cycle time — invest in a solution that is easy to learn and works with Microsoft’s basic office products and is something we think has good appeal,” she says.

One opportunity that the company will explore is extending the connectivity around Concordia’s core application so that it really lends itself to downstream services architecture capability, she says.

“We are also looking to expand the functionality,” she says.

Hector-Taylor puts the success of the product down to thorough research.

“We spent a long time looking at the target market, a long time looking at the technology strategy that we should adopt, and an even longer time analysing the business model,” he says.

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