Let the cloud games begin!

5 minute read

Medical Director has declared itself a starter in the race for the future of the connected health ecosystem


Medical Director has declared itself a starter in the race for the future of the connected health ecosystem

The company, one of the country’s major patient management system providers, announced today that they are going to launch a “cloud” version of their iconic desktop management system – Medical Director Helix.

If it is a properly architected cloud version they intend to launch – truly non-device dependent, mobile and with seamless communication and data exchange features though a secure cloud environment – then Medical Director is putting a stake in the ground that indicates an intent to take on disruptive cloud patient-management start-ups head on, and in the very near future.

The timing of the announcement, at the precise date of the formal launch of much mooted cloud based start-up, MediRecords, at GPCE today, is not likely to be a co-incidence. It looks targeted directly at their customer base to at least put some doubt in the minds of anyone who is thinking of switching to the MediRecords system in the near term.

MediRecords, which has had been secretly building their system with a development team of over 30 people for the past three years, has a sophisticated cloud offering which they claim has all the functionality of both Medical Director and Best Practice, plus a swathe of new features associated with its key differentiating feature – it’s connectivity. It also has a fully integrated back-office billing system.

It’s a high-risk strategy on the part of Medical Director to announce they, too, have a cloud version, but one that they probably needed to pursue. By declaring they have a cloud version, they are going to need to deliver that product quickly to their customers or face the sort of cynicism and backlash that affected the long-standing market leader in the SME accounting software market MYOB, when they were caught off guard by the launch of XERO, a fully functional cloud offering for small business.

Soon after XERO launched, MYOB posted a spoiler announcement that they had a cloud version but they had a hacked together a VPN version of their old software. The market responded and XERO experienced exponential growth, and when MYOB did eventually launch a proper cloud version two years later the market for cloud was owned by XERO and Australia had a new major provider in the space.

Industry commentators had felt that Medical Director and Best Practice were leaving their run too late to get their outdated desktop software into a reliable and modern architected cloud version so doctors, patients and allied health professionals could be released from their desks and talk seamlessly to one another and external agencies as they saw fit. Medical Director had until now given no clear indication that they had such a version of their software under serious development.

Best Practice, which lays claim to more than 50% of the GP market and was developed by Dr Frank Pyefinch, is so far silent in where they sit in this race. Pyefinch recently told TMR, however, that cloud-based patient management systems were inevitable and it was just a matter of timing and doctor acceptance.

Medical Director chief executive Phil Offer told TMR the cloud offering had been in development for more than 20 months in Australia and a working version of the software would be available at GPCE in Sydney over the next few days.

“We are continuing to test, refine and add new functionality before we roll out to sites later this year,” Offer said, adding that today’s announcement was about letting practices see the program in action and to sign-up early adopters.

Offer said the software was a “brand new piece of code” built in house using a Microsoft stack with Angular JS front end.

The descriptions of MD Helix certainly make it seem like it will be a serious potential alternative to MediRecords. The advantages of an MD cloud software version would be that this is a very well established brand and company with a clear track record of delivery in the past, lots of available capital and also with clear intent, especially after its recent acquisition by private equity group Affinity.

But MediRecords works now. On today’s TMR newsletter they have a sponsored content piece offering the first 20 practice owners that sign up a free 12-month subscription, starting immediately.

MediRecords CEO Jon Marshall told TMR: “For any practices that ready to go, they can start today. We are fully functional and through all our testing. We do data transfer for these clients over the cloud and for those that ready, we can have them fully operational within a few days.”

Marshall said of the Medical Director announcement:

“Medical Director is a great old company with a good track record. Having them pushing us in this manner is fantastic for everyone in the market, most especially for our doctors. It’s always good to have someone pushing you. If they truly have a cloud version for release soon then I can only see that being a good thing for everyone. If they are just hedging then the market will judge them.”

Both Medical Director and MediRecords will be at GPCE in Sydney and will be displaying their new wares. Best Practice will be there as well.

Let the games begin.


The author is a minor shareholder of MediRecords and a past director of  a Medical Director JV. Both MediRecords and Medical Director are paid advertisers with The Medical Republic.


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