Scots IT company acquires telehealth firm for ‘undisclosed sum’

A Scottish IT firm has acquired a leading telehealth provider for an ‘undisclosed sum’, as a sign of the growing confidence in the e-Health market and closer integration between health and social care in Scotland.

Microtech, a Kilmarnock-based IT and telecoms support firm, bought TeleHealth Solutions from healthcare investor Moonray Healthcare as it seeks to expand its range of remote patient monitoring and ‘self-care’ solutions.

The deal sees Microtech – which already provides web and TV-based telecare services to the care sector – take on a number of new customers across Scotland and England, including NHS Ayrshire and Arran and Surrey County Council. Telehealth Solutions will continue to be the brand name but will operate as part of the Microtech Group.

Amongst the products within the TeleHealth Solution’s portfolio is HomePod, an intuitive touchscreen device which enables people to be monitored for health changes from where they live, and SurgeryPod, a touchscreen device for patients to record information such as weight, height, blood pressure prior to their GP or hospital appointment.

The telecare products provided by Microtech are Care Messenger – a system that allows clinicians and family members to communicate with older people in a sheltered housing setting and iPlato, a web-based text messaging service.

Chris McMail, managing director at Microtech Group, said: “We are continuing to enhance upon our core competencies, and by TeleHealth Solutions joining our group, we are developing huge opportunities to make a real difference for patients looking to take control of their conditions. The technologies we have inherited will also help busy clinicians and give GPs more time to care.”

Last year the then Health Secretary Alex Neil announced that the Scottish Government’s Technology Enabled Care programme will double the number of people receiving technology-enabled clinical consultations and home health monitoring by 2016. A £10million fund was established to reduce hospital admissions and to allow greater coordination between health and social care.

“With economic pressures continuing to increase across health and social care budgets, technology is playing an ever-important role to help drive efficiency and improve care,” said Pete Kerly, managing director at TeleHealth Solutions.

“Demand for out-of-hospital care and the rise in technology adoption has seen telehealth and telecare become a popular choice for many providers. I believe that our expertise and experience within these fields, coupled with Microtech’s IT support and delivery capabilities, provides a strong offering for commissioners looking to help health populations manage long-term conditions and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases,” continued Kerly.

Approximately 30 per cent of the existing workforce based in England are to be relocated to Kilmarnock following the completion of the reconstruction of the Telehealth Division.

Micro tech already has contracts with Glasgow City, and Argyll and Bute District Council. It says the proposition has generated much interest and that it ‘expects considerable growth over the next five years’.

The company said in a statement: “The new business potential is beyond Scotland and the rest of the UK. Microtech has 14 projects nationally across the UK, a project with the Spanish Red Cross and strong interest from other European countries. These and future projects will be supported from the offices in Scotland.”

Microtech already works with health boards in Scotland on solutions including Docman – an electronic document transfer portal between hospitals and GPs – and an e-Casenotes system for patients in Lanarkshire.