Telstra inks deal for Medibank's Anywhere Healthcare business

Telstra has added another notch to its healthcare division's expanding portfolio, entering an agreement for the purchase of the business assets of Medibank's telehealth service Anywhere Healthcare.

Telstra's healthcare division Telstra Health has inked a deal to purchase the business assets of telehealth service Anywhere Healthcare.

Anywhere Healthcare was established by Medibank Health Solutions in 2013 in a bid to give people in regional and remote areas of Australia, or those with physical constraints, access to specialist medical and allied health professionals via video conference.

Telstra said that Anywhere Healthcare has an established reputation for delivering high-quality clinical care through a network of more than 1,600 general practitioners and aged care referral partners, along with a panel of 26 specialists who provide services across a range of specialities.

Under the terms of the deal, announced on Wednesday, it is expected that the Anywhere Healthcare business will transfer to Telstra Health ownership in early May.

Telstra group executive of retail Gordon Ballantyne said the integration of Anywhere Healthcare is a logical fit with Telstra Health, and would result in a more comprehensive approach to telemedicine.

"It aligns perfectly with our aim to overcome the challenges of distance and availability to help provide greater levels of access to medicine, especially for those in regional and remote areas," said Ballantyne. "Medibank has developed a wonderful service, and we are delighted to be able to assume responsibility for this going forward."

The deal follows hot on the heels of Telstra Health's acquisition of UK-based health analytics company Dr Foster, announced on March 27.

Telstra Health had previously secured the exclusive rights to provide Dr Foster products and services in Australia in December 2013, with agreements now in place with 15 health services in Australia.

Dr Foster is a provider of health analytics, and works with healthcare organisations to enable improvements in their performance through the better use of data.

Telstra said at the time that its acquisition of Dr Foster is consistent with its health division's strategy to create a more connected healthcare system and become a leading provider of integrated e-health solutions.

Telstra Health's managing director Shane Solomon said that the Dr Foster acquisition would provide Telstra Health with cutting-edge analytical capability, and is a natural addition to its health analytics stream.

"We're committed to building the business, both in the established markets in Australia and the UK, but also to explore more global opportunities and ways we can integrate the products with other e-health solutions to create a connected system," he said at the time.

Telstra launched its healthcare division in October last year, along with three new telehealth services aimed at connecting patients with doctors, including a joint venture with Swiss-based telehealth company Medgate called Telstra ReadyCare.