E-commerce solution provider Pacific Commerce will attempt to create a paperless supply chain management system for regional hospitals through its newly launched vertical trading hub, Pacific Health ExChange.
The $2 million business exchange went live yesterday after a year of testing from early business users South Western Sydney Hospital and Central Sydney and Ballarat (Victoria) Area Health.
Among 40 new clients, Epworth Private Hospital in Victoria and the Hunter Area Health Service in NSW have signed as launch customers. 3M, Baxter Healthcare and Ansell have signed on as wholesale suppliers to the community.
The exchange will allow hospitals to integrate and automate the ordering, distribution, payment and reconciliation processes between hospitals and their suppliers online.
"The exchange has been designed to connect health trading partners regardless of their size or the complexity of their IT systems. It is based on open industry document standards to ensure industry-wide compatibility and is supported by a help desk," said Colin Kempter, Pacific Commerce's marketing director.
Turnover time for purchase orders made via the exchange will be cut by up to 50 per cent, according to Kempter. Procurement transactions for most hospitals take from two days to one week to process, he said.
Kempter said the Pacific Health ExChange was a "sophisticated" supply chain solution for hospitals, cutting the need for what would now seem archaic fax machines for member-organisations.
The hub will process 10,000 transactions -- worth around $10 million in orders -- in the first month of trading, he estimated.
Pacific Commerce, the sole IT partner implementing the back-end integration for the exchange, is confident it will capture a 25 per cent share of the local healthcare market through the venture. The national health industry has an annual expenditure of $40 billion, according to Kempter.
While Kempter's vision for the exchange is to keep things "small and simple", his company plans to expand the hub nationally in the next few years, followed by New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific ventures, he said.
Meanwhile, ANZ which has 34 per cent ownership of Pacific Commerce, will partner with the company later this year to provide a full suite of online financial services through a financial trading exchange, according to Kempter.