A new locally-developed Web software package called i-Health could win more than $30 million in export sales over the next two years, according to Ernst & Young, which has signed an exclusive sale and distribution agreement for the product.
Ernst & Young's Health Practice manager for the South Pacific region, Roger Hatrick-Smith, says the software provides a Web-based environment ideally suited to the new models of care delivery which cross the traditional boundaries between primary healthcare in the community and secondary healthcare in hospitals.
I-Health is owned and developed by i-Health Software, a privately-owned Auckland-based company, whose chief executive, Brian Allen, is also a director of Galen Group, a well-established local health software company with applications in use by more than half of New Zealand's hospital and healthcare organisations.
i-Health has been formed as a separate company, Allen says, to concentrate on the development of wholly Web-based health solutions.
"We believe i-Health has the potential to dramatically increase the value that health organisations derive from their IT investment - I'm talking about a new product which costs thousands of dollars rather than millions of dollars," Hatrick-Smith says.
"Hospitals - in New Zealand and around the world - have invested heavily in traditional software applications that are expensive to buy and implement and invariably fail to deliver significant reduction in cost or improvement in healthcare outcomes.
"Instead of replacing existing systems, i-Health unifies and combines the data inside an easy-to-use Web environment within which clinicians and administrators can be more effective and patients can be given direct information access and self-service."
He says i-Health is now being offered to all major New Zealand healthcare organisations, with consultants carrying out demonstrations over the next three months.
Ernst & Young consultants in Australia will introduce the software to Australian healthcare clients over the same time period.
"Our forecasts indicate domestic and international sales in excess of $30 million over the next 24 months. This is a realistic forecast based on research to identify the level of demand for a Web-based solution within Healthcare organisations in the South Pacific region."
I-Health applications are being implemented at Lakeland Health, which has been involved as a development partner in trialling and developing key applications.