Over 20 companies join Medtech marketplace

NEWS - eHealthNews.nz editor Rebecca McBeth

More than 20 partners have signed up for Medtech’s FHIR API Integration Program, due to launch this month.

Called ALEX (Application Layer EXchange), the program uses Microsoft’s Azure FHIR software to enable secure integration into the Medtech 32 and Medtech Evolution patient management systems.

Medtech has 80-85 percent of the PMS market in New Zealand (around 870 practices) and most use at least one third party application, such as a patient portal or telehealth platform.

The providers of these systems can now join the Medtech marketplace, by agreeing to adhere to a code of conduct, in order to sell their services to GPs.

Geoff Sayer, managing director Medtech Global, says this gives GPs confidence that vendors have been properly vetted against industry standards and means GPs will not be locked into using particular suppliers, which will encourage innovation.

“We’re creating a marketplace where people can choose, as opposed to Medtech choosing a winner,” Sayer says.

Some of those signed up as partners are competitors of Medtech in the PMS market, such as Health365, which is a patient portal owned by MyPractice. Other partners include Healthlink, Toniq and Celo.

MedTech currently supports multiple ways for third parties to access Medtech practice data, so making it standards based makes it easier for Medtech to manage and easier for third parties to develop against.

“The big strength of what we're doing here is that it’s based on standards, so it allows both Medtech and its partners to scale because we're not making it proprietary,” Sayer explains.

“And when we take this into Australia all those partners who integrated with us in New Zealand can, theoretically, go to Australia as they've already done the development work.”

Holly Hodgson, product integration manager, says the new model is moving away from centralised data collection, or storage, towards an “event-driven consent model whereby vendors that are transacting with patient health data from practices, only take what they need when they need it for the purpose for which they've got their contract and agreement”.

She says the marketplace has a range of mature partners alongside a number of startups, which is beneficial for practices as they are open to customisable solutions.

“It’s not a complicated process anymore as it's not a collaboration between Medtech and the vendor to create a solution for you, it's an open market for those vendors,” says Hodgson.

Sayer says getting more than 20 companies signed up already, including all current partners, shows everyone is committed to a new way forward.

“This will allow us to focus on what we want to be good at which is patient and practice management systems,” he tells eHealthNews.nz.

“If you want to work in general practice, you have to be open to be able to work well with others as you can't be everything to everyone.”

He says there will be several releases over the next couple of years that will enable more capability for third party vendors.

“People will be able to get genuine choice, where in the past, I'd argue choice has been stifled, because of an inability to innovate and the cost to innovate and the way to innovate, was a barrier.”

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