March 2009

NEWS REVIEW – BUSINESS

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Microsoft and HIMSS launch Health Users Group in APAC

Microsoft Corp and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) have announced the launch of the Microsoft Health Users Group (MS-HUG) in Asia-Pacific.

MS-HUG forum is for influencers and developers of healthcare technology solutions to collaborate and contribute to aspects of solutions built on Microsoft software platforms. It allows the healthcare technology community to discover new uses for existing technology, provide development support, network with peers, and to discuss needs and desires arising from the current use of healthcare IT. It is currently accessible to healthcare organisations and technology partners in North America, Europe, Middle-East and Africa (EMEA).

The forum is designed to allow technology partners to gain insight into healthcare specific requirements, improve their ability to target technology innovation, help health organisations improve service delivery, and achieve a stronger return on technology investments. After several successful years of collaboration, MS-HUG’s diverse membership has grown to include more than 5,000 members and 31 corporate supporters across North America, Europe, Middle-East and Africa (EMEA). This community is united by a shared interest in implementing vendor- and user-developed software based on Microsoft technology to improve healthcare quality and efficiency, while reducing complexity and cost.

GTI plans to invest INR 250 cr in healthcare

New York-based private equity (PE) firm GTI Group is setting up a wholly-owned subsidiary, India Management Company, to invest INR 250 crore into Indian healthcare sector. GTI will pick equity stakes of up to 10% in healthcare service firms in the country.

GTI will route the investment in India through its Mauritius arm GTI Mediventures. It will acquire shares in Indian companies in lieu of providing technical know-how to healthcare and medical services firms. India Management Company will also charge a license fee of 2% on the gross revenue of its partner companies.

The company has got the nod from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), the nodal body to clear foreign investment into India.

The firm provides equity capital for early stage venture, growth equity and middle market buyout opportunities in media, telecom, aviation, IT and software and industrial technologies sectors. Typically it invests in the range of USD 5-100 million in each of its target companies.

Trivitron JV Chennai facility commences production

Aloka Trivitron Medical Technologies, a medical equipment manufacturing joint venture of Aloka, Japan and Trivitron healthcare recently commenced production of Aloka SSD 500, a portable black and white ultrasound scanner from its facility at Poonamallee in Chennai. It aims to roll out world-class medical equipment at most effective costs to national and international customers.

Trivitron MD, Dr G.S.K. Velu said the JV’s aim is to offer products of high quality suited to the needs of developing countries on a most cost effective basis. Apart from tapping the domestic market, the products will be exported to developing/developed countries across the world.

The core vision of Trivitron healthcare is to bring world-class medical technology within the reach of medical professionals all over the world. It also aims to set up advanced facilities for the manufacture of laboratory reagents for routine and special diagnostics testing in JV with Bio-systems, Spain and operation theatre Lights in tie up with Brandon Medical, U.K.

He said Chennai facility will adhere to international standards such as ISO 9000-2001, ISO 13485 for medical product manufacturing and will also be compliant with requirements for CE, US FDA and Japan MITI certifications. An array of indigenous products from electronic equipment to consumables will be introduced under Pride series.

iSOFT launches ‘Lorenzo’ in Asia

IT health provider iSOFT launched its next generation healthcare solution to the Asian market during the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMMS) AsiaPac09 conference, held 24-27 February, Kuala Lumpur.

iSoft Asia president and chief executive officer, Dr Wim Botermans, says, “LORENZO was developed as a unique innovation that will transform the way healthcare is delivered to the patient, boosting services by enhancing the quality of documentation and improving response times.”

According to Dr Botermans, the LORENZO platform, developed using a service-orientated architecture, delivers the flexibility necessary to connect people and processes throughout the healthcare supply chain.

iSOFT, an IBA Health Group company, is one of the largest specialist health information technology providers in the world. iSOFT designs, develops and delivers healthcare IT platforms and applications that address the administrative, clinical and connectivity requirements of healthcare organisations around the world, optimising patient and financial outcomes.

LORENZO was a key solution for the UK’s USD 30 billion National Programme for IT (NPfIT)�the world’s biggest civilian IT project. The NPfIT is transforming the UK’s National Health Service by connecting the records of its 50 million patients. Following several years of development and testing at early adopter sites in the England, the Netherlands, Germany and Australia, LORENZO has now been launched in the Asian healthcare industry.

Star Health bullish on retail segment, to foray overseas

Star Health and Allied Insurance, a standalone health insurance firm, is banking on retail spend on insurance to drive up its premium income, at a time when companies are trimming health insurance covers to cut costs.

The two-year-old company has collected premium of INR 487 crore so far and is targeting a premium income of INR 520 crore by the end of the current financial year. Star Health on Sunday launched a health magazine, to educate its customers about various illnesses and preventive measures for the same.

Star Health, which is implementing a medical insurance scheme for people below poverty line in Andhra Pradesh with the support of State Government said it recently reached an agreement with Haryana Government to provide the cover in five districts.

The company has also signed an agreement with Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB), through which the bank’s existing deposit holders would get a personal accident insurance cover free if their deposits are in the range of INR 1-2 lac. The company expects to earn INR 40 lac of premium income through the LVB tie up.

The company is also planning overseas branches in a few months in locations such as Muscat and Maldives.

BI key to improving NHS management

Business intelligence tools will play a central role in improving NHS management and meeting the goals of the Darzi report, according to Ardentia. Responding to the House of Commons healthcare committee’s comments on the quality of local NHS management, the healthcare intelligence specialist advises that having the right business intelligence tools will help to meet the aims set out by the report.

Lord Darzi’s year-long review of the NHS resulted in a blueprint that has the potential to radically transform healthcare delivery over the next decade. This blueprint paves the way for a more person-centred NHS, empowering patients with greater choice, better information and more control over services they receive.

One Trust which has the right tools in place to support management processes is Southampton University Hospital Trust, which has deployed Ardentia’s patient-level information and costing system, to deliver sound and controlled financial management and consequently to make the best use of healthcare resources.

The solution enables finance staff to work with more accurate costings based on actual interactions and events related to individual patients. It supports more accurate, tighter financial management and by ensuring that financial managers are working with information about individual patients, it provides a tool for engaging clinicians more directly in management decisions. Moving towards a much more clinician-led approach to healthcare is a central concern of the Darzi review, and Patient Level Information and Costing Systems are central in supporting this initiative.

Germany invests EUR 125m in ambient care

The German national ministry of research will be investing EUR 125 million on ambient assisted living (AAL) projects over the next year.
The goal is to develop IT-solutions that help elderly and chronically ill people to stay in their own flat or house as long as possible. It is estimated that there are some 16 million people in Germany now who are older than 65, and this figure will touch 23 million in the year 2050.

The first 17 projects that are being funded have been announced. The projects involve companies from the IT industry as well as social service providers, home care providers, public and private house builders, health insurance companies and care insurance companies.

Altogether, the 17 projects will receive EUR 45m, out of the total amount of EUR 125m, of state funding. The rest will be spent in other areas, such as basic technological research and on improving the social care infrastructure. It is hoped that the project partners will also engage financially, so that in the end there will be more than EUR 200m available.

The biggest project to be funded is SmartSenior, led by Deutsche Telekom and Charit� University Hospital Berlin, who are developing an automatic emergency wristband that is equipped with GPS positioning. It was pointed out that if AAL helps 10% of the elderly people with dementia to stay at home for one year longer than they would have stayed at home without AAL, this alone will mean cost savings for the social security system of EUR 3 billion per year.

Barco sells advanced visualisation to Toshiba

Belgian medical imaging specialist Barco has announced the closing of the divestment operation of its Advanced Visualisation (AVIS) activities to Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation, Tokyo, Japan.Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, the AVIS group specialises in 3D clinical software, marketed worldwide under the product names ‘Voxar 3D’ and ‘Voxar 3D Enterprise’. Toshiba now owns all AVIS assets, including its full product portfolio. Barco says it has sold its AVIS activities to concentrate all resources on the development and marketing of medical display systems for diagnostic, surgical and clinical imaging. The price of the deal was not disclosed.

Barco is active in more than 90 countries with about 3,600 employees worldwide. Barco posted sales of EUR 747 million in 2007.

Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation, a subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation, is a leading global provider of diagnostic imaging systems and comprehensive medical solutions. Toshiba is the market leader in diagnostic imaging systems in Japan and operates in over 120 countries around the world.

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