NZ Fry Up: Digital healthcare reform; Paperless patient records; SaaS student management; NZ e-commerce; 2degrees IPO?

New Zealand IT, tech, and telco news and views from our editor in Auckland.

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Digital healthcare reforms on the way

Ten months after the Health and Disability System Review was released in June 2020, it looks like its recommendations for overhauling the health system will be enacted—and digital transformation will be a major component of the changes.

In a speech this week, Minister of Health Andrew Little says the government will announce the new structure in April, describing it as the “blueprint for how the system will work in the future”.

Digital technologies are one of five “key shifts” taking place. Greater innovation and digital options will see New Zealanders being able to access virtual diagnostic service, access primary care, and have better access to specialist care wherever they live.

Little says the pandemic has been catalyst for change in the healthcare sector, noting that throughout COVID-19 health services have been able to use digital platforms without a reduction in the quality of care. “We achieved greater transformation of digital services in a matter of weeks than we did in many years.”

The healthcare sector has been a laggard in the adoption of digital channels, as was made clear in the review. It noted that 150 million Eftpos transactions can be processed monthly, and 60% of adult passport renewals can be processed online, but we still have a national healthcare system where people can’t do something as simple as update the address that’s linked to their National Health Index Number.

Paperless patient record in two years

There are, of course, pockets of change in the healthcare sector. Yesterday, Southern Cross Healthcare announced it has completed the rollout of an electronic clinical notes system, provided by Orion Health, across its network of 15 wholly owned and joint venture hospitals. Its goal is to have a paperless patient record by 2023.

Since the start of the rollout in December 2020, almost 200,000 notes have been logged electronically across its national network. Southern Cross’s director of nursing, Carey Campbell, says nurses, who generally write notes every two hours as part of their patient rounds are enthusiastic about the technology, reporting it is faster than the paper-based method.

“Implementing digital patient notes is just one part of the innovative end-to-end electronic patient record programme that we’re developing with Orion Health. The next phase will involve rolling out the paperless electronic vitals solution and developing a medication management solution,” Campbell says.

Whare Wanānga selects a SaaS studet management system

Meanwhile, over in education Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, a publicly own tertiary education institution in Whakatane with 6,000 students, has selected UK-based Tribal Group to replace its student management system. Phase one will go live in June 2022.

Awanuiārangi CEO Wiremu Doherty says after the current student management system plateaued, they looked for a system that would improve the student experience for initial enquiry to application and from enrolment to graduation. The core student management system will be hosted by Tribal Cloud and will include business intelligence reporting delivered via third party partner, Panintelligence.

As part of the offering, Awanuiārangi will adopt Tribal’s Student Engage mobile app as private social network to connect the Wānanga community.

NZ e-commerce rocking ahead

Earlier this week, we reported that HP, in an application to the Commerce Commission to enable it to have more control over online sales delivered via a third party, estimates the e-commerce market in New Zealand is worth $4 billion and is “experiencing accelerating growth”.

The evidence for this is again borne out by two major retailers that are listed on the NZX and that reported their half-year results. The Warehouse Group, whose digital strategy was profiled in CIO New Zealand this month, reported 50.3% growth in online sales and 106.3% growth in click-and-collect fulfilment. Online now makes up 11.9% of total group sales.

Meanwhile, Kathmandu (which includes the brands Rip Curl and Oboz) is seeing a “step change in group online penetration”, with online now representing 12.7% of direct-to-consumer sales.

This chimes with another major retailer, Briscoes, which last week reported a full-year result that showed online sales grew by almost 80% over the previous year, accounting for almost a fifth of all sales.

2degrees latest telco to tease an IPO

When NZX head of issuer relationships Sarah Minhinnick told Computerworld New Zealand last week that it is “seeing the most interest in listing that we have for some time”, we hadn’t expected a telco—but we’ll take it!

2degrees, which has 1.6 million subscribers in New Zealand, is the latest telco to announce it may list on the NZX and ASX. It is majority owned (73%) by Trilogy International Partners, a company listed on the Toronto stock exchange, which also owns a telco in Bolivia. Trilogy reported its full-year results at the same time as the announcement, breaking out its New Zealand business to show service revenues of $549 million and adjusted EBITDA of $171 million.

Trilogy CEO and chair of 2degrees board Brad Horwitz says the reasons for contemplating a partial IPO are “equity markets are strong globally, telecom valuations are attractive, and the New Zealand dollar is at a multiyear high. An equity event in New Zealand would raise primary capital to accelerate growth initiatives at 2degrees as well as enable Trilogy to reduce the debt it incurred while building the 2degrees business,” he says.

The listing could take place later this year or early next. But the market won’t be holding its breath after two other potential telco listings in recent times—Vodafone and Vocus—were snapped up by buyers ahead of an IPO.

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