Wednesday, 08 May 2013 14:55

Telstra and Seven West Media invest $10 million in HealthEngine Featured

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Telstra and Seven West Media (owner of the Seven Network) have entered into a $10.4 million partnership with online consumer health marketplace HealthEngine.

Telstra and Seven West Media will each invest $5.2 million through a combination of cash and value-in-kind to secure an undisclosed but “significant” stake in HealthEngine

HealthEngine is Australia’s largest online health directory, with more than 450,000 unique visitors each month. It includes appointment booking service Open Appointments, which has offered 600,000 health appointments with more than 2,000 practitioners at 400 health practices across Australia. Patients are able to make appointments 24/7 online or via HealthEngine's mobile app.

“We believe HealthEngine is well-placed to capitalise on the growing demand for healthcare in Australia,” said Telstra Media Group Managing Director Rick Ellis. “The sector generates annual revenue of over $100 billion. This demand is highlighted in a recent Roy Morgan survey of Australians which found that 27% (or more than five million Australians) had paid for a doctor’s visit in the last four weeks and 3% (or more than six million Australians) considered the Internet the most useful source for health-related information.”

Ellis said the HealthEngine investment aligned with Telstra’s strategy of developing new growth businesses and providing and growing capability in mHeath and eHealth. “This investment fits with both our Sensis digital marketing business and Telstra Health, our new health business unit. It will be an important asset as we build capability in this area.

“The partnership will help HealthEngine accelerate its growth and take a clear leadership position at a time when consumers look to online and mobile booking solutions.”

Seven West Media Group Chief Operating Officer Rohan Lund said the investment aligned with its strategy of building an audience company and investing in adjacent verticals relevant to Seven West Media’s audiences. “We see a tremendous opportunity to partner with Telstra to build Australia’s biggest patient and practitioner marketplace. This is an exciting space and the combination with Telstra and Seven West Media presents a formidable alliance,” Lund said.

HealthEngine CEO Dr Marcus Tan welcomed the investment by Telstra and Seven West Media and said it would enable the company to grow more quickly.  “Our current customer focus is GPs and dentists and we have plans to expand into the allied health and medical specialist sectors. This partnership will position us strongly for growth into the emerging electronic health records, online health transactions and telehealth markets."

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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