Finger on the pulse

Finger on the pulse

A presence in Canada is part of HealthLink's plans for 2011

Local company HealthLink processes 50 million electronic messages in this country every year. The electronic patient information is exchanged daily between GPs, hospitals and other health facilities in New Zealand.

This year, HealthLink is setting up an office in British Columbia, Canada, and says the United States has expressed interest in the systems it developed. HealthLink is already in Australia, where over 70 percent of general practices use the company’s services.

“New Zealand is our lab where we get things right and then roll them out further,” says HealthLink CEO Tom Bowden. “It is very gratifying to have the intelligence we have developed both acknowledged and directly sought by other OECD nations.

“That a country the size of the US is seeking intellectual property created in New Zealand helps build our reputation as a nation of innovators and thinkers.”

Currently 75 people work in the Auckland office, with another 10 staff in Australia and Bowden hopes to have 10 staff in Canada later this year. Bowden’s latest project is the new system for electronic referrals to specialists between GPs and hospitals. “By August this year, a GP will be able to select a referral and make a submission,” he says.

A pilot program is underway for a system to order laboratory tests electronically, eLab. The pilot cost more than a million dollars and has taken two years to implement in four sites in the Wellington region.

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