Battle for doctors desktops heats up

As part of the battle to win the desktops of general practictioners (GPs), IT provider IBA Health has created an information services company to push software to doctors.

The company NxtHealth is marketing software known as practiX (previously Medical Spectrum-Plexus), which blocks pop-up advertisements on the desktop, a growing problem for GPs inundated with pharmaceutical product pitches.

IBA Health executive chairman, Gary Cohen said NxtHealth was created to overcome the prevalence of drug advertising on computer screens and a distinct lack of independence by software providers.

The NxtHealth launch is IBA's first major initiative since losing a bid against Primary Health Care for control of the Health Communications Network.

IBA is also setting up an independent development committee for doctors to ensure products pitched to the GP community meet ethical standards.

Doctors who take part in the committee get 'doctors options certificates' that is shares in the NxtHealth company.

"We are offering GPs a stake in the business to ensure they have a say in steering development; we are offering 50 percent of the equity in NxtHealth," Cohen said.

"We know this will be portrayed as the battle for the doctor's desktop, but we are confident of increasing market share in the primary market."

PractiX is developed on Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and bundles clinical content, hardware, software, training and services.

PractiX includes a practice management system for waiting room and billing, a patient clinical system which is the basis of the electronic health record, a clinical messaging package which generates electronic radiology and pathology requests as well as general reporting and management tools.

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