An ASP a day keeps the doctor au fait

An online healthcare solution for doctors to achieve greater cost savings and productivity is the result of a joint venture between B2B.net Technology and Medweb.

The solution, an ASP version of software developed for medical practice administration, will be marketed throughout the Asia-Pacific region by the joint venture, which will develop an Internet-based portal to support the product.

B2B.net brings to the deal an exclusive Asia-Pacific licence for online healthcare solutions developed by e-MedSoft in Canada and the UK, in addition to a more general e-commerce product, "esparto". Medweb owns Rx Healthcare Practice Management software, which is claimed to be -- in its stand-alone form -- the most widely used practice management package in Australia, installed in some 1300 practices.

The value of the joint venture is in the offer of the Rx software -- or an online version of it -- in an ASP model. Targeting middle-sized and larger organisations, the new service is claimed to reduce costs and improve medical practice productivity. Other aspects of medical practice management such as procurement and sales may be handled via the "esparto" e-commerce systems.

The new offering will be marketed to doctors by the Bongiorno Group, which has a client base of about 6000 healthcare professionals.

With medical and insurance records being transmitted online, privacy will obviously be a major consideration. According to B2B.net's Tamryn Barker, the Rx software is engineered to comply with the highest levels of security. It has proprietary encryption over and above the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) standards.

The Java-based system will be deployed in Sun/Solaris server platforms. (B2B.net has strategic partnerships with Sun, Oracle and Cisco.) At the doctor's end, it will be very much a thin-client configuration, usable via an ordinary PC and modem. Although the recommended method will be via DSL lines where available.

While pricing of the service has not yet been announced, the structure will involve a small up-front fee and an ongoing subscription.

According to Barker, no timetable for rolling out the new service has yet been released.

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