RealTime IT News

Defiance Gets Pulse on Medical Market

SYDNEY -- Kalgoorlie-based resources explorer Defiance Mining has undergone a career shift into the health industry, after acquiring Sydney IT specialist Medical Monitors as part of a broader plan to bring health care to homes.

Defiance, which will change its name to Medical Monitors, has celebrated its formation by cementing a deal with US blood pressure monitoring equipment provider A&D. The companies will form a local joint venture to market the BPfone, a technology that enables patients to monitor their own blood pressure at home and send recordings by phone or the Internet for analysis.

The BPfone is based on an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring device that Medical Monitors has developed, that allows users to take readings of heart activity at home. The device transmits recordings via the telephone to the WELLness Monitoring Service for analysis, and results are either emailed or faxed to the patient's doctor.

Medical Monitors is also utilising a venture it has established with Australian e-health company Health Communication Network (HCN), which provides medical software to GPs and some hospitals. Through this alliance, BPfone's ECG analyses can be imported directly into HCN's Medical Director software, which is used by 14,000 GPs nationally, to inform the doctor regarding appropriate future action for the patient.

The BPfone has been developed as a potential boon to preventative medicine, with Medical Monitors managing director Dr Allan Shell saying the technology can reduce the estimated $3.7 billion cost of cardiovascular disease in Australia, through early diagnosis and improved medical management.

Shell said that one of the current impediments to effective management of blood pressure has been the inability to generate regular, reliable readings. BPfone enables up to 20 measurements to be taken and stored over a period of days for analysis, compared with a doctor9s visit from which a patient may have one or two readings that may not reflect irregular heart activity.

While the move into medical technology is a step away from Australian Stock Exchange-listed Defiance's previous livelihood, chairman Brian Hurley said the company9s shareholders had realised the potential of Medical Monitors' business here and overseas. "We conservatively estimate revenues of $7 million by June 2003," he said.

Four million of the monitors have already been sold in the US last year, and Shell expects to see rapid uptake continue there and begin in the local market.


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