Digital & Innovation

Australian digital health group to acquire telehealth platform

Health Industry Hub | January 27, 2022 |
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Digital & Innovation: An Australian digital health group announced its acquisition of a rapidly growing Australian-based international provider of integrated proprietary telehealth software and diagnostic devices that interface with most existing Medical Record and Medical Practice systems, with a view to completion by the end of April 2022.

The proposed merger between 1st Group Limited and Visionflex will bring together two of Australia’s leading digital healthcare innovators to provide a comprehensive, integrated telehealth system for clinicians, comprising Visionflex’s suite of diagnostic telehealth software and hardware solutions, with 1st Group’s highly successful MyHealth1st online booking platform.

Klaus Bartosch, Managing Director for 1st Group, said “Our vision is to simplify access to healthcare for all, and especially for special needs groups for whom this access is even more difficult. By combining 1st’s digital patient engagement and online appointment booking solutions with Visionflex’s video conferencing software and devices we are creating a world-class solution to deliver end to end clinical telehealth services to almost anyone, almost anywhere. The demand for telehealth has grown rapidly due to COVID-19 and has now become permanent feature of healthcare systems globally. A report by McKinsey in July indicated that telehealth had grown by a whopping 38x since pre-Covid-19 baselines.”

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“With our shared passion for digital health, we are very excited to announce our intention to merge with 1st Group,” said Visionflex CEO and co-founder, Mike Harman.

“Our technologies complement each other and combined, they create a unique and compelling end-to-end telehealth service that assists health practitioners to connect easily with remote patients and deliver important clinical health services. Our teams have a wealth of experience in the digital health sphere, and with this planned merger, we are poised to take advantage of the continued global growth in telehealth and expand our innovative product range, our substantial customer base, and our distribution footprint.”

Visionflex, established in 2014, has specifically developed a video conferencing platform targeted at and optimised for the telehealth sector. Its Clinical Telehealth Video Conferencing platform (‘Vision’) has been specifically designed to deliver the full suite of capabilities that its own Australian designed, built, and manufactured medical devices have been designed to provide. Visionflex’s software and devices have in many cases been designed to meet the specific functional and software interface requests of each of the State Health Departments and other large organisations such as those in Aged Care and The Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Combining Visionflex with 1st Group, 1st would not only coordinate the appointment bookings between patients and providers but also provide the video (or even telephone) conferencing connection that facilitates those bookings using Visionflex software and diagnostic devices – raising the level of care capability considerably to standards being sought by Federal and State Governments.

The proposed acquisition of Visionflex will bring substantial operational, financial and strategic benefits to both businesses and synergies for the merged entity that include:

  1. Product Expansion – 1st Group’s product portfolio expands to an end-to-end digital patient engagement platform and marketplace to include in-house advanced clinical telehealth solutions.
  2. Visionflex Synergies – Substantial cross-sell and up-sell opportunities – 1st Group offers Visionflex a substantial customer base into which it can offer its telehealth solution and extends the Visionflex solution to include 1st Group’s patient engagement and appointment scheduling capabilities.
  3. 1st Group Synergies – 1st Group completes the Visionflex offering, enabling the use of 1st Group’s platform across an increased base of major health organisations.
  4. Expanded distribution footprint – Immediate expansion of 1st Group’s distribution footprint via Visionflex’s established distributor networks across the medical industry, including clients such as NSW Health, Queensland Health and Royal Flying Doctor Service.
  5. Additional, rapidly growing revenue from a trophy client base – Visionflex has now secured several contracts with major government departments (in NSW, Queensland, SA, and WA) and large corporate groups into which to deliver its products. Historical revenue is $2.3m, gross margin exceeds ~70%, and it has established a maturing global network of distributors across Asia, America and Europe.

On completion of the acquisition, 1st Group will also undertake a placement of shares to Adcock Private Equity (the largest current shareholder in Visionflex) to raise $2.5m to provide growth funding for the combined group.

Visionflex’s CEO & Co-Founder Mike Harman will join 1st Group as the
Head of Visionflex. Brook Adcock, founder of Adcock Private Equity and a seasoned technology investor, and John Nantes, the CEO of Adcock Private Equity, will join the 1st Group Board.

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