4 July 2015
Front page feature on PHS Managing Director Patrick Power in The Advertiser Weekend Business Saturday.
ALMOST 1000 hospitals around the world use Adelaide’s PowerHealth Solutions for their billing, costing and revenue, and patient safety software.
It’s an excellent record of achievement built over the past 20 years but, energised from an ongoing, high-level management course at Harvard, founder Patrick Power is more focused on taking the business to the next level. PowerHealth started as a one-man band. Back in 1995 Mr Power decided to stay on in Adelaide after local hospitals asked him to do some work following a one-year contract with a multinational provider.
“I started with five hospitals as customers,” he said. “I’d go to one hospital a day. Within a couple of months I had eight hospitals – I hired a friend.’’ Then he hired other friends, and their friends.
By 1999 PowerHealth was a decent-sized consulting business with about a dozen consultants, but the market was crying out for more. Mr Power did some research, travelling around the world to see what the next generation of products were that the company could focus on. What he found instead was a gap in the market.
“So I applied to the Federal Government for a research development grant and in 2000 we wrote our first product. It was completed in 2002 and we got a million dollars in our first four months in sales. “It was a product that was crying out to be written.’’
That product is a patient costing system focused on activity-based funding, under which hospitals are paid on the services they provide rather than by lump sum. It’s a medical funding model that has gained favour worldwide.
The birth of a product doubled the company’s staff numbers to 24 basically overnight. In 2004, the company looked at what else was needed. Patient billing stood out, and again with the help of a federal research development grant, it developed Power billing and revenue collection over the next four years.
“An enterprise-wide product that would work internationally. It does the billing for private billing and revenue collection, debtor management etc. Again, a very successful product,’’ he said.
The company has also taken on the distribution for the Datix incident management system. Mr Power said the company’s software was easily configurable for new hospital management jurisdictions, and the company is active in Australia, NZ, the US, Ireland, the UK and across the Middle East. It employs about 60 staff and has offices in Hong Kong, the US and Ireland. The business has so far grown organically, and debtfree. But fresh from his time at Harvard, Mr Power – and his independent board – are focused on firing up the company for rapid growth.
“Healthcare is a growing business, and within healthcare there are three major drivers: access to healthcare, quality of healthcare and cost of healthcare. And they’re really the three things that we
“We have a fantastic company, we have great processes. We’re at this great crossroads – you come back with some great ideas from Harvard.
“We have a great governance, we’re profitable, no debt, no external funding whatsoever. A suite of products that’s the latest technology and close to 1000 hospitals as clients. What Harvard has taught me
is that that’s a platform that should enable us to really grow very quickly now.
“So on our 20th anniversary we’re really looking at ‘How do we leverage that to grow really fast? How do we expand into new markets faster? Through acquisitions, through partnerships, through bringing in external financing, opening more offices, all of those sort of things.
“Harvard has opened my eyes to the fact that we have all of the right pieces of the puzzle to take this company to the next level very, very quickly.’’
The Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management (OPM) program, which Mr Power is taking part in with a grant from the Industry Leaders Fund, is a threeyear program open only to chief executives with more than 10 years’ experience, with Mr Power being in his first year. Mr Power was also Ernst
& Young’s 2012 Technology Entrepreneur of the Year for the central region.
PowerHealth Solutions was founded 20 years ago last month, by Patrick Power.
The company provides costing and revenue, billing and patient safety software.
PowerHealth has almost 1000 hospitals using its systems across numerous countries, with offices in Adelaide, Hong Kong, Ireland and the US.
- Mr Power is currently enrolled in a three-year Harvard Business School management course, supported by a grant from the Industry Leaders Fund.