Orion in good health after Singapore deal

By Helen Twose

Orion Health founder Ian McCrae. Photo / Kenny Rodger
Orion Health founder Ian McCrae. Photo / Kenny Rodger

Orion Health is on track to turn over $100 million of business and says it has the potential to build a billion-dollar company from its Mt Eden headquarters.

The latest rung on the ladder to reaching that goal - chief executive Ian McCrae has previously given it a 2016 deadline - is a successful bid as part of a consortium led by Accenture for a S$200 million ($205 million) national health records system in Singapore.

Beating off competition from an IBM-led bid, Orion Health will be running out its software products - healthcare records portal Concerto and records integration system Rhapsody - to create a single health record database across all Singapore's health services.

McCrae credits the input from Trade Minister Tim Groser for helping secure the deal.

The government support is hugely helpful, particularly in health when you are selling to other governments, said McCrae.

He said the 18-month tender process was a tough, expensive contest involving 10 people on site in Singapore.

"We had to build the entire system, just about, prior to winning the actual bid, so it was a very hard fought tender," McCrae said.

The rigorous nature of the tender process means other countries in the hunt for a health records system take a keen interest in the winning bid.

"Other regions will make decisions far more quickly and one of the key factors will be often what other regions, other countries have done and in particular a lot of weight is given to what the Singaporeans have done."

Globally, the company has the biggest footprint of electronic health records systems. "There are a couple of vendors who will have more sites in America but globally we will be the leader. One day we hope to have one in New Zealand," said McCrae.

While Orion Health has sold its records management software to a number of New Zealand's district health boards, McCrae said we are missing out on the efficiencies of running a health information system on a national basis.

"I think we're getting held back here by fragmentation," said McCrae. "We have 20 hospital boards, all making decisions separately. New Zealand is not very big. We should just have one national set of applications served out of a datacentre that all hospitals access."

He said such a vision "is as close or far away as we want it to be".

"We could be well progressed by Christmas or it could be 2015."

While a national health records system may be elusive in New Zealand the company is winning practically every bid it goes after, at a rate of one or two a month.

Six months ago North America was driving business growth but today every developed country has a programme of work in the health records area.

The company is looking to bank $100 million worth of orders - 95 per cent of which is overseas earnings - a significant jump from the $60 million in revenue in the last financial year.

"The market is pretty big and there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to grow much, much bigger - hundreds of millions, if not billions."

Orion Health has offices in the US, Canada, Australia, Britain and Spain in addition to the New Zealand headquarters. It plans to open more in Singapore, Tokyo, Atlanta, Paris, Oslo, Canberra and either Abu Dhabi or Dubai.

- NZ Herald

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