Christchurch healthcare firm sold to US giant

American healthcare giant McKesson has bought Christchurch-based Emendo Ltd for its CapPlan software, which helps predict patient demand.

McKesson – which is listed on the NYSE, NASDAQ and S&P 500, and is 14th on the Fortune 500 – has a turnover of about $US122 billion and employs more than 37,000 people.

It is described by Bloomberg as the largest US drug distributor, but also produces IT systems for use in the healthcare sector.

Emendo is known for its CapPlan "predictive analyitcs" service, which helps healthcare providers predict patient demand.

The system "accurately forecasts future patient activity, and identifies potential congestion or overcapacity in the care process," according to its website.

The system is made up of a combination of software and "capacity planning and advisory services."

Emendo ceo Dave Tinkler says the CapPlan programme is used in 40 hospitals globally, but the scope for growth is "spectacular" as a result of the McKesson acquisition.

"The genesis of this is that we went to the market to raise capital, and in going through that process a couple of the US 'Goliath's' had a look at us.

"They indicated they would be interested in an acquisition rather than an investment, and the one that fitted  best was McKesson."

Emendo Ltd has four directors which also all serve on its management team.

They are ceo Mr Tinkler, sales and marketing manager Nick Burns, chief financial officer Phil Holliday, and operations director Bart Visscher.

According to its website, Messrs Burns and Visscher founded the company in 2002 having both had experience in operations research in the healthcare industry.

It was originally a consulting firm specialising in operational efficiency in hospitals.

An early version of CapPlan was implemented in the 650-bed Christchurch hospital in 2005, when the co-owners of Holliday Corporation, Messrs Tinkler and Holiday, bought into the company.

According to a press release, McKesson believes CapPlan is "unique in its ability to forecast future patient activity," and sees it as a way to capitalise on $700 billion of waste in the US healthcare system.

It claims a 450-bed hospital saved $1 million in its first year of use from using the system.

Mr Tinkler says the costs to hospitals of employing CapPlan vary widely depending on the type of programme they get and the size of the hospital.

"At the high end, such as Vancouver Coastal Health in Canada which used CapPlan across six or seven hospitals, it costs in the millions of dollars.

"But a 200-bed hospital in Australia or New Zealand might cost $200,000 over a three-year period."

Mr Tinkler says all of Emendo's 30 staff would be retained in the acquisition. 

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