Best Practice is generally thought to be the market share leader in practice management software across the country with something north of 45% share of all GPs. Not that far behind, and once a market behemoth with nearly 90% share (before the days of BP), Medical Director has staked much of its evolving market and brand position around being the only major brand to release a cloud version of its software, called Helix.
Deadlines have come and gone for BP and the mooted release of its cloud product, called Titanium, and each time the release date has shifted. Initially some analysts feared that might turn out to be a critical strategic error for the BP group. But at no point in the last few years, while Helix has entered the market, and two new cloud players, MediRecords and Clinic-to-Cloud (CTC), started up, did enigmatic BP founder Dr Frank Pyefinch seem to flinch about how long BP was going to take. Not in public nor in interviews anyway.
Dr Pyefinch and BP instead concentrated first on making sure there was good uptake of their core desktop product, and then on the development of a patient-side app, which in theory would give BP, and any other group that wanted to be on their app, access to nearly 12 million patients around the country. And it feels like that wasn’t such a bad decision.
The GP welcome party for Helix and MediRecords turned out to be more like a posse for the bleeding edge. Both products hit the market with core cloud functionality, but, in true web development style, both were not fully formed, especially in terms of the many pernickity, complex and legacy based integrations that both MedicalDirector and BP desktop versions had over decades, built out.
Helix, according to some past employees of MedicalDirector, also had other problems associated with its original specification being to deliver a purpose built system for Primary Healthcare (now Healius) which focussed almost entirely on workflows which were based around bulk billing.
CTC entered at the specialist end of the market and lays claim to capturing a decent proportion of that market against dominant incumbent Genie Solutions. The specialist end of the market is divided into a lot of verticals, and if you pick the right one, cloud functionality is much easier to deliver to a specialist practice than it is to a GP practice. GP patient management is laced with strange and legacy bound intergration issues. And some politics around which upstream providers – mostly pathology businesses- will talk to you easily.
Only recently has CTC said it wants to sell to GPs and when questioned on the clear differences and complexities, CEO Rafic Habib told The Medical Republic, he is only starting with practices which have very specific and forward leaning requirements.
In the meantime, MedicalDirector says that Helix is bounding along now, and MediRecords has gained a lot of traction with groups that are specifically after the “futureproof” architecture that its product offers. As well as large contract with the Queensland government to talk to hospital specialists, MediRecords is now the PMS in one of the front-running integration contracts to deliver a future proofed healthcare delivery system for the Department of Defence. It’s also picking up on the GP side now, too, especially with new practices, and practices contemplating more flexible delivery models.
But the idea that BP may have missed the boat, and we could end up with a Xero versus MYOB situation – where Xero trumped the incumbent MYOB desktop accounting software to become a major local and global player in accounting software – has not played out.
All of this should make the upcoming BP software summit one of the most interesting to date. There’s a lot on Titanium in the agenda, including specific sessions on when and why you’d move to cloud, and how you’d do it within the BP suite. There’s also a bit of doctor brainstorming on cloud for GPs, specifically around the when and why issues.
The other important play for BP is it’s patient-side app. Until now this product has been in beta and hasn’t made a huge impact. But insiders talk of functionality in development which might be game changing if the app took. With access to 12 million patients, and with a cloud version on the way, if it just has working appointments, reminders, and a few other cool thing, like pre-consultation patient prep, it would represent a major beach head in connecting patients with their primary care practice.
As we move forward in connected health, distribution footprint will be king. BP has that in spades for primary care, and if it can extend into the appointment engine footprints of Hotdoc and HealthEngine, it feels like it might morph into something much more important in healthcare delivery.
Beyond these key themes the BP summit will also have sessions on optimising data to improve practice and patient outcomes, digital marketing for practices, optimising back end financial management to create big savings using third party partners, business continuity planning, making the most of MBS changes, and much more.
Speakers include: David Hansen (CEO, CSRIO eHealth Research Centre) Emma Hossack (MSIA CEO), Loryn Einstein (billing) , Marcus Wilson (frictionless payments), Dr Pyefinch, various high level technical team and members in discussions on patient engagement, the app and the cloud, and many more.
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