IBA forms Chinese joint venture to deliver health care through the internet and TV

Sydney 09 November 2006IBA Health Limited, Australia's largest ASX listed eHealth company has signed a Heads of Agreement to establish a joint venture to enable the delivery of health care throughout China through the internet and television. The joint venture, with Shanghai-based Huashan Information Technology Co. Ltd. will enable the delivery of health care through a private network linking doctors and patients and enabling consultations over the internet; and a national interactive health channel on China's only internet protocol television (IPTV) service, BesTV. It will also provide advertising, e-purchasing and other content on the health channel.

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In addition, the joint venture will acquire from Huashan IT a contract to maintain health information systems in 180 hospitals, representing 90 percent of tier 1A hospitals and 20 percent of tier 2A hospitals in Shanghai and surrounding provinces. It will also have the rights to provide health information systems to eight planned Harvard Medical Centre hospitals, two of which are currently under construction.

IBA will own 51 percent of the joint venture and contribute up to $7 million, based on future earnings. Huashan IT will contribute its health information contracts, as well as:

  • A contract, initially valued at $700.000, to establish a private network linking 20.000 families with doctors through 11 hospitals and community centres in Shanghai's Changing Hospital District. Shanghai is regarded as a pacesetter in the Chinese market and this solution is expected to be adopted elsewhere in both Shanghai and other Chinese cities.
  • An exclusive contract with BesTV to provide a national health channel, called MyDoctor, and relevant media content, including paid advertising. BesTV - which is jointly owned by Shanghai Media Group, China’s second largest media company, and China Telecom, the largest fixed line telephone company - currently has 80.000 subscribers in Shanghai and this number is expected to reach 300.000 by the end of 2007. The joint venture will receive $1 per month from each subscriber to the health network, in addition to advertising revenue.

This new service is designed to bring the health professional into the consumer's living room and enable consultations involving both doctors and specialists, as well as access to patient records. It runs on an IPTV platform using full size MPEG-4 advanced video coding technology that provides vision quality that is superior to standard image compression, and can be used on television, laptop or handheld device.

IBA's joint venture partner is Huashan IT, a company controlled by Mr. Anthony Liu, and Huashan Medical Group, one of Shanghai's largest health care organisations. Mr. Liu is currently managing director of Huashan IT and will manage the joint venture.

"This is a very exciting opportunity for IBA", stated Gary Cohen executive chairman. "China currently has over 100 million internet users, a quarter of whom have broadband and industry analysts regard China as the world's largest growing IPTV market. BesTV has a national licence and plans to roll out its service across the country. This could revolutionise the way health care is delivered in China.

"The growth in subscriptions to the health care channel will lead to considerable opportunities for advertising, e-commerce and pharmacy services, and we expect substantial revenue from this, as well as from fees from private health networks and subscribers."

Steve Garrington, CEO, stated: "China has 65.000 hospitals and over 200.000 community centres, and the Government is committed to increasing access to health care through the internet and television. This joint venture will make IBA a pioneer in the market, with first mover advantage. The joint venture's contract to maintain health information systems for 180 hospitals and the exclusive contract with Harvard Medical Group will expand IBA's footprint in China, opening opportunities for our broader enterprise product."

IBA Health Limited provides information and communication solutions to connect providers, payers, patients and communities. IBA Health's range of systems are designed to support work flows across all health sectors including hospitals, clinics, aged and community care facilities, primary care as well as claims and payments processes.

IBA Health has a global team of over 400 health and technology professionals who work with health care providers to bring an unrivalled depth of experience to address all aspects of their partners' care delivery needs. IBA Health has over 500 hospital and clinic installations covering Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, China, India, the Middle East and South Africa. Industry leading customers include tertiary research and teaching facilities and multi-enterprise care delivery organisations.

In Australia IBA Health is a provider to over 5000 primary care providers, 300 aged and community care facilities, 50 percent of private hospitals, public hospitals and the Australian Defence Force. With the largest eHealth Network in the southern hemisphere IBA is at the forefront of transmitting both financial and clinical data to general, specialist and allied health professionals, Medicare Australia and Private Health Funds.


Leslie Versweyveld

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