Going for Growth: Induction Healthcare on digitally transforming healthcare globally

The pandemic has put the spotlight on driving efficiencies in healthcare systems around the globe. Looking to plug this gap is Induction Healthcare (AIM: INHC), a provider of a suite of digital products that works with legacy hospital systems to ramp up efficiencies – from improving communication between hospital staff through to allowing patients to book appointments and view related documents.

Here we speak to with James Balmain, Co-Chief Executive Officer of digital healthcare innovator, Induction Healthcare Group who reveals why the business is confident of scaling the business into a global success story.

Tell us a bit about Induction Healthcare and its value proposition?

Induction Healthcare is in the business of transforming healthcare. We have developed an end-to-end virtual care platform with a suite of products that works with existing hospital systems to create massive efficiencies – whether that means enabling information share among busy doctors, alleviating operational burdens on hospitals or putting patients in better control of their care. Of course, they all do so while ensuring the highest standards of clinical safety and information security.

Our value lies in our interoperability because we can enhance legacy systems and existing investments that hospitals have in place while laying the foundation for their digitally transformed future. And while each of our products addresses specific ‘pain points’ for hospitals and patients, we add exponential benefit when our products are used comprehensively and collectively.

So what are the products in the Induction Healthcare suite?

Our platforms are used regularly by over 200,000 NHS doctors and more than 170 Acute Trusts. We are seeing adoption of our products across multiple territories, including the UK, Ireland, Australia and South Africa. As we grow our global footprint, we also seek to grow our scope: our current suite of SaaS tools focus on UK secondary care (hospitals) but we have our sights on new local markets, including primary care, mental health and aged care. Here are our four key products:

  • Induction Switch is a platform for hospital staff, which is used to increase productivity and enhance communication by securely sharing staff and department phone numbers and bleeps, bookmarks, documents and messages in a clinical setting.
  • Induction Guidance allows medical institutions to collaboratively create, edit and publish their own local medical guidelines in a secure and locally administrated environment.
  • Induction Zesty enables patients to book and access their outpatient appointments, read their clinical letters, store a copy of their clinical record and provide information to their healthcare providers remotely.
  • Induction HealthStream is a proprietary data integration platform that reads and writes patient demographic, appointment and clinical record data between a growing number of hospital Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems and the Induction platforms. Induction HealthStream is the integration engine that links all of our products with existing health IT systems.

Tell us more about the leadership at Induction Healthcare?

Dr Hugo Stephenson and I are joint CEOs of the business. Hugo is a medical doctor and serial health technology entrepreneur, having started and successfully sold a number of businesses previously. His last venture, DrugDev, was sold to IQVIA, delivering outstanding returns for shareholders.

I have held senior roles at EE and the Shop Direct Group, leading integration and transformation at a large scale. I co-founded Zesty and ran the business prior to its acquisition by Induction. We both have many years of experience within the Healthcare technology setting and digital transformation.

We are very excited about our product range and we’re already building strong recurring revenue streams and commercial momentum. The title of your series is very apt – we are certainly “going for growth”.

The current climate is presenting challenge and opportunity in healthcare – how has this applied to your business?

The pandemic, with the need to radically reduce footfall in hospitals, was a ‘super-catalyst’ to an already-underway shift toward virtual care. Video and telephone appointments, electronic messaging and patient-reported data on digital platforms have all grown by a large margin – and providers and patients alike are becoming increasingly comfortable with these platforms.

We have seen major new contract wins over the last 12 months, including a partnership with The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust (RFL), Global Digital Exemplar and one of the largest and most respected hospitals in the UK. RFL used Induction Zesty to deliver their My RFL Care patient portal as the first phase of an ambitious roadmap to digitise patient services in the next two years. My RFL Care launched in August 2020 and has had significant traction with over 80,000 patients registering and using the service in the first few months and 200,000 patients expected to adopt the service in the first year.

Growth catalysts are crucial to business growth – what do you believe yours are?

The digital transformation of healthcare is well underway. As in other industries before it, change comes in waves. Wave 1 was the EHR, now used by most hospitals. Wave 2 is the virtualisation of care, extending the capabilities of existing systems, and enhancing existing investments.

The system-wide pressure on cost, waiting lists and overall efficiency as a result of the pandemic is creating market urgency. We have the technology and capability to help NHS Trusts manage COVID-19 vaccinations in the biggest and most highly anticipated immunisation campaign in history, as well as to aid the rebooking of millions of postponed elective surgeries that have resulted from the pandemic.

We have an accretive M&A strategy, with three successful acquisitions completed since Induction’s IPO in 2019 and have an active and exciting pipeline of new deals, some with the potential to offer transformational revenue growth. We’re actively pursuing valuable partnerships, enabling a stronger go-to-market strategy, and working alongside large incumbent healthcare IT suppliers. In October 2020 we announced a strategic collaboration with Cerner Corporation for Induction Zesty and Cerner to develop a joint patient engagement solution to help NHS trusts deliver an easier, quicker and more efficient service for patients. As part of the value-added reseller agreement, NHS Trusts that are already Cerner clients can access Induction Zesty’s market-leading patient portal without an extensive procurement process.

The overall trend towards super-specialisation in healthcare is creating exponential degrees of difficulty in treating patients, and digital tools are the only viable solution to operate in this evolving environment. The NHS spends around £1bn on technology systems each year and the existing evidence of significant usage proves that our solutions are not only efficient, but they are also the preferred platforms of healthcare professionals.

What are the biggest headwinds you foresee to achieving growth in the coming months and years?

The biggest headwind for us is inertia. The healthcare industry is notoriously slow in the uptake of new technologies and lead times to close deals can be long and often delayed. To combat this, we have a relentless focus on evidence and benefit driven sales and in creating strong partnerships at regional and national levels.

While we have a strong source of revenue with the NHS, we have an ambitious growth trajectory for international expansion, with clear plans to launch in new markets before the end of our next financial year. We are also looking to move beyond secondary care, into primary, community and aged care, offering a more complete, ‘whole system’ platform. Our M&A strategy will act as a rapid enabler for this.

Imagine you find yourself in a lift with Warren Buffett. What would be your ‘elevator pitch’ to summarise why he should invest in your business?

We are at the forefront of delivering an end-to-end virtual care platform, within the largest single payer integrated care system in the world. With clear scope to grow internationally, we are well placed to become a dominant player in rapidly emerging multi-billion-dollar market segment. Powerful global partnerships, compelling uptake numbers, clear user benefits and a highly experienced management team point toward transformational increases in shareholder value over the medium term and a strong outlook for Induction Healthcare’s future.

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