ASX-listed MedAdvisor raises AU$9.5m from EBOS

The Australasian healthcare group will have a 14.1 percent stake in MedAdvisor.

Australian Securities Exchange-listed medication management software company MedAdvisor has announced raising AU$9.5 million in a deal with healthcare company EBOS Group.

Approximately 165 million ordinary shares were issued to EBOS at a per-share price of 5.75 cents. EBOS additionally purchased 20 million shares in an off-market transaction.

EBOS, a New Zealand and Australian-listed marketer, wholesaler, and distributor of healthcare, medical, and pharmaceutical products that owns brands such as TerryWhite Chemmart, will gain 14.1 percent ownership of MedAdvisor as a result of the deal.

The latest investment will be used by MedAdvisor, which has 950,000 users, to accelerate its customer acquisition efforts by leveraging EBOS' hospital and GP channels. It will also be used to explore opportunities in the US, the UK, and other markets in the Asia-Pacific region including New Zealand.

Founded in 2010, MedAdvisor CEO Rob Read previously told ZDNet that its cloud-based medication management solution delivers efficiency gains to patients by allowing them to register and track prescriptions over time, as well as to order refills from their preferred pharmacies.

In addition, by significantly reducing or eliminating administrative appointments altogether -- where patients come in for specialist referrals or repeat prescriptions for medicines they've been taking for years, with each appointment costing the government AU$37 -- there is less congestion in GP waiting rooms, and more time to focus on patients that require face-to-face engagement.

EBOS, which has a market capitalisation of more than NZ$2.6 billion and annual revenue of more than NZ$7 billion as of 2016, owns a range of businesses providing products and services to public and private hospitals in Australia and more than 6,000 GPs. These businesses include Australia's HPS, a provider of outsourced pharmacy services to hospitals, and Zest, a healthcare communications business that focuses on patient support programs, training, and digital engagement with doctors and patients.

MedAdvisor and EBOS-owned TerryWhite Chemmart have entered into an agreement that will see the former develop and roll out a customised version of its medication management application and PlusOne software to TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacies nationwide.

The company additionally announced signing a three-year agreement with HPS that will result in the "simplification and improvement of hospital admission and discharge processes in HPS-supported hospitals". MedAdvisor predicts more than 5,000 patients a week will be invited to sign up to MedAdvisor to help them provide accurate medication information through the admission process and, following their hospital stay, to better transition from hospital to home.

Read previously told ZDNet that one in two patients provide inaccurate medication information when they've been admitted into hospital, requiring hospital staff to have to go through a manual medicine reconciliation process where they call up pharmacies, GPs, and specialists. It would be easier if hospitals could retrieve medication lists directly from an electronic profile, and would also help reduce hospital readmissions related to medication misadventure, Read added.

"In the over-65 age group, something like 25 to 30 percent of hospital readmissions are related to medication misadventure, and it often happens within 28 days after discharge. This is because typically, you've got a new medication regime, you've been in hospital which is a fairly stressful situation, and you've had a quick briefing on your new medication regime that's potentially gone in one ear and out the other," Read said earlier this year.

"If we could provide that information on a tablet, on a phone, on the internet, just make it really easy for patients, they can refer back to it. They can find out more about their medication, when and how they should or shouldn't be taking it, such as with or without food."

For such a system to work in full capacity, it would require the introduction of electronic prescriptions, Read also said at the time.

"One area the government is keen to look at is electronic prescriptions, because in Australia you have to have a physical paper script. A lot of other markets have electronic prescribing and it's like an airline ticket. You can choose to print it out if you want, but if not, it's on the app ... I think having electronic prescriptions that is recognised as a legal record for a prescription would reduce effort and cost in the system," he said.

Another three-year agreement with Zest will see MedAdvisor provide a digital distribution channel for Zest's pharmaceutical manufacturer programs. MedAdvisor's health services marketplace currently connects over 6 million patients from a network of 50 percent of Australian pharmacies. MedAdvisor will additionally work with Zest to provide ongoing connected care to recently discharged hospital patients by distributing digital programs through the MedAdvisor consumer application.

The medication management company, which saw a 178 percent increase in revenue to AU$4.9 million in FY2016-17, expects to generate an additional AU$4 million in revenue over three years under these commercial arrangements.

MedAdvisor earlier this year launched its GP Link feature that connects patients with their doctor for medication management assistance including remote script renewal.

It had also acquired OzDocsOnline, which provides a doctor-patient communication platform, for AU$150,000; and Healthnotes, a communication, compliance, loyalty, and script management platform, for AU$5.5 million.

MedAdvisor had also announced partnering with American health management and monitoring company iHealth Labs, whose MyVitals app was integrated into Apple's HealthKit in late 2015.

The former company said the agreement would allow Australian patients to be able to view results and metrics from iHealth devices through the MedAdvisor app, making it easier for users to manage all their health data in one location.

The partnership between MedAdvisor and iHealth, which raised $25 million from Chinese venture capital firm Xiaomi Ventures back in 2014, allowed the latter company to foray into the Australian market.