26 January 2019

MedicalDirector axes jobs, ex staff not happy


GP patient management software giant MedicalDirector has restructured its business significantly, letting go as many  14 staff members, according to sources.

Staff who left had been variously employed in sales, development, integrations, patient engagement, e-referrals and enterprise contract opportunities.

According to sources, the redundancies mean some departments, which together once consisted of up to 40 employees, have dwindled to between six and eight members.

MedicalDirector has denied these claims, however earlier last week the following post appeared on social media networking site LinkedIn.

“A clinical PMS in my network has recently made a large number of redundancies across a range of functions. If you’re currently looking for candidates in business development, QA/testing, design, data science, software engineering, and PM, please reach out! Some dedicated very talented people.”

A spokesperson for MedicalDirector told The Medical Republic that the redundancies were to: “To better align ourselves with market opportunities and continue on the growth we’ve already seen, we’re making some changes. … We’re an innovative company and through this innovation, we iterate. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the MedicalDirector staff past, present and future for helping to guide us towards our purpose of ‘Together, making people healthier around the world’.”

In February last year, MedicalDirector shut down its Perth research and development office, laying off around 30 people, most of whom were developers for the cloud-based patient management system called Helix. Other rounds of redundancies also occurred last year, according to sources.

MedicalDirector is owned by Affinity Equity Partners, a private equity group, that bought the business from Primary Health Care (now called Healius), for $155 million, in March 2016. At the time there was market speculation about whether the acquirer had paid the right price. Prior to the Affinity deal, Telstra had offered significantly less for 50% of the business.

Part of the Affinity deal involved Healius committing to keep using MedicalDirector software in its bulk billing clinics, and, in particular, taking on Helix.

Helix, launched in late 2017, was lauded by MedicalDirector as a cloud-based version of its popular desktop software product MD3.

However, ex-employees of the company told The Medical Republic they felt that Helix was not meeting market expectations and the push for senior executives to sell the product prematurely has created unrealistic sales targets.

“It is not ready, it never was ready,” one former staff member said.

Another former employee said they thought Helix might need to be entirely re-written as it was originally designed to meet the needs of Primary Health Care only.

When TMR put the possibility of issues with Helix to MedicalDirector, a spokesman said: “Helix has continued to grow in market share as we’ve continued to innovate. Helix now has nationwide coverage and we’re excited to continue building on this success.”

One large customer of MedicalDirector told TMR last year that it was very unhappy with the performance of Helix compared with what had been promised, and that there was tension with MedicalDirector as a result.

Two other large practices, one in Melbourne, and one in Western Australia, both pulled out of Helix installation last year. It is also believed that Healius does not want to use Helix in its current iteration.

The PMS market for GPs is dominated by MedicalDirector and Best Practice, with industry analysts saying that in the last two years Best Practice has likely overtaken MedicalDirector in market share. MedicalDirector has denied this.

Both dominate with their desktop products.

Best Practice does not have a cloud solution in market yet, but has indicated it is building one. Best Practice is 30% owned by Sonic.

MediRecords is the only other significant cloud player in the GP market. It started offering a cloud product in late 2016.

MediRecords won a contract with the Queensland department of health last year to deliver back-end PMS services via the cloud to all of its hospitals.


The Medical Republic’s publisher, Jeremy Knibbs, is a non-executive director and minor shareholder of MediRecords.