Hospitals Leap at Promised ExChange Gains

A new online trading exchange for the health industry has been launched with more than 40 hospitals and some major medical suppliers already signed up.

The Pacific Health ExChange, developed by Pacific Commerce with backing from the ANZ Bank and Citadel Pooled Development Fund, lists its customers as including the area health services for South Western Sydney, Central Sydney, Hunter (NSW) and Ballarat (Victoria). According to a statement, these organisations have already trialled the exchange as part of an "extensive pilot" study. Representatives were unavailable for comment at the time of going to press, because they were "locked up in a plane" on their way to a customer/partner launch event in Sydney, according to Colin Kempter, the Pacific Commerce marketing director.

In a written statement, Pacific Commerce says the NSW hospitals represent more than 35 per cent of the purchasing power of the state's public health system.

Payments through the exchange will be automated through ANZ Bank facilities.

A private sector customer includes the Epworth Private Hospital, Victoria.

Supporting suppliers at the time of launch included 3M, Baxter Healthcare and Ansell. Kempter expressed confidence that Pacific Health ExChange would have most of the leading suppliers "signed up" in the near term. Kempter says the benefits to the hospitals include substantial streamlining of their supply chain management.

"We're talking about organisations that are taking faxes and rekeying them [into various systems]. In some cases complex transactions with a large number of line items were taking two weeks, and this has been reduced to a day. This is a worst case, but generally customers can expect a 50 per cent improvement in their transaction times," Kempter said.

The Health ExChange will charge on a subscription plus transaction fee basis, and expects to earn a return on its "in the millions" investment within 12 to 18 months, Kempter says. He added that Pacific Commerce will also earn revenue by providing various e-commerce integration and implementation services.

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