by Divina Paredes

CIO 100: Fisher and Paykel Healthcare

Mar 24, 2016
Technology Industry

INTERNATIONAL GROWTH AND the rise of digital technologies are central themes for the ICT team at Fisher Paykel Healthcare.

The organisation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of products and systems for use in respiratory care, acute care, and the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Its products and systems are sold in more than 120 countries.

Winston Fong, vice president ICT, says the ICT budget, staff numbers and projects will increase this year, hand in hand with the expansion of the company.

This year, the ICT team of 114, which include 18 based overseas, are rolling out SAP to their global sales office. This project is a revamp of the company’s digital core, says Fong.

He says over the past year, the ICT team worked on the rollout of a new SAP ERP in New Zealand and Mexico.

The systems spanned sales, manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, purchasing, supply chain, regulatory and finance.

Another key focus is to apply Lean principles across sales operations, as well as process management and collaboration tools. Fong says these are critical as the company continues to grow globally, and even locally in the Auckland campus.

Fong says other major ICT investments this year will be across big data and analytics, security and risk management, machine to machine and Internet of Things.

Fong says moving to digital platforms is one of the key challenges the team will face in upcoming months. But this shift also provides companies like Fisher Paykel Healthcare with opportunities to improve health system efficiencies and overall population wellness.

He says this is exemplifi ed by its work on sleep apnea treatment which traditionally had been very manual and costly.

“We saw we could take what was a very costly, reactive and manual follow-up process, and replace it with a cloud based informatics solution that would automatically analyse and remotely manage patient populations. We saw the opportunity to provide proactive feedback to customers focusing them on just the patients that most needed their attention.

“The business case was built on efficiency and risk reduction for our customers, through much more efficient patient management processes and lower reimbursement risk.”

Over the last six years Fisher Paykel Healthcare’s sleep apnea business has completely transformed, from historically selling physical devices, to one of selling sleep apnea therapy solutions, talking about solutions for sleep businesses to support outcomes management and increase patient engagement, Fong states.

He says a key lesson from this program was giving priority to removing pain points for customers: “To be careful not to get bogged down in an arms race of features, but focus on the things users do every day and make that an excellent experience.”