Retirement villages a healthy market for software vendors

Australia's ageing population is providing a boon for software vendors targetting nursing homes and other niche opportunities in the health sector. Uptake is also being driven by a Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) mandate to purchase new IT systems. An estimated $68 million has been made available to aged care providers to update systems over the next 12 months.

One provider, Epicor, posted a13 percent profit increase in Q3 in part due to the uptake of end-to-end services within the aged care sector over the past year.

While there was across-the-board sales growth in manufacturing, retail distribution and professional services, the greatest success has come from the healthcare sector, particularly aged care.

Epicor regional director, Charles Hamilton, said the federal government mandate has kick-started efforts to implement IT systems in nursing homes. "DoHA wants to professionalize the industry and we are benefiting," he said.

But it has also increased competition with all the major providers making a play in this sector.

Last week Masonic Homes Incorporated rolled out the Epicor Senior Living Solution (SLS) in two locations in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Masonic Homes' chief executive officer, Doug Strain, said the system had previously been deployed across 40 sites nationally, but the implementation puts Masonic Homes between six and 12 months ahead of its competitors in both states in terms of ICT capabilities.

"SLS will streamline our business process, improve efficiencies, automate administrative tasks and reduce our workload by providing our teams with timely management information," Strain said.

Masonic Homes will install the community services and day therapy ICT management components by June, with the final system, line purchasing, installed by July.

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