EZCaretech is a leading provider of medical IT services for hospitals. In particular, the company is at the front in hospital information service (HIS), which integrates electronic medical records (EMR), ordering communication systems (OCS), picture archiving and communication systems (PACS).
The company recently clinched a deal to provide its medical information system BESTCare for 14 U.S. psychiatric hospitals under Aurora Group. Earlier in 2014, the company signed a $70 million agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of National Guard to provide BESTCare for hospitals in Saudi Arabia.
Although Korean manufacturers of drugs and medical equipment are increasingly tapping the international market, including the U.S. and EU, ezCaretech is the only Korean firm to export hospital information systems in large volumes worth dozens of billion won.
Wee Won-ryang, CEO of ezCaretech, had an interview with Korea Biomedical Review to talk about the present and future of the hospital information system. Having a career as a physician, he formerly served as a professor at Seoul National University Hospital’s ophthalmology department.
|Wee Won-ryang, CEO of ezCaretech, speaks on the company’s secret to leading the hospital information service market, during an interview with Korea Biomedical Review.|
Question: Can you tell us how BESTCare works? We heard that it entered the U.S. market.
Answer: We thought we could develop a competitive solution which can be applied universally around the world. So we worked on a next-generation hospital information system, called BESTCare 2.0. It has far better user response than the previous model and shows much-advanced user experience. We integrated “Big Data Analysis Tool” within the solution to allow the reuse of the data and applied internationally standardized languages so that it can be used anywhere in the world.
In Korea, we have completed applying the system to Seoul National University Hospital and Seoul National University Bundang Hospital. We are also setting it up for Ewha Womans University Medical Center and Gachon University Gil Hospital. The international version provides English, Arabic, and Chinese languages.
Q: We believe ezCaretech drew full attention because the company pulled off a large-sized export deal. After having a $70 million contract with Ministry of National Guard in Saudi Arabia, the company provided the hospital system in the U.S. What was the key to such success?
A: When ezCaretech tried to do overseas business, it wasn’t easy because there was a rare international certification that could recognize our product quality. So I decided to get the product “certified.” I made my best effort to get the Stage7 certification from North America’s Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). In the end, we got it and successfully proved our product quality in global markets.
Our company was the first one, outside the U.S., to have a Stage7 certification of HIMSS in 2010. There were only more than 10 companies who were able to get their products recertified with Stage7 in 2016. EzCaretech was the first to win the re-certification, outside the U.S. firms.
To enter the U.S. market, we needed Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC-HIT) as well. So we have invested about 3 billion won ($2.74 million) since 2014 and obtained it in 2015. A successful market entry into the U.S. this year was possible because of the investment.
Q: Security must be the most critical issue in the hospital information system. Is that right?
A: Security was one of the things we needed when we were expanding overseas. EzCaretech received three ISO certifications to ensure security. One is ISO 27001 for the process, another is ISO 27799 for the safety of the medical information system, and the other, ISO 27017 for the security of the cloud system.
Q: Local hospitals have different operation and management systems. Overseas hospitals will be similar. How did you overcome these differences?
A: Local large hospitals request customized systems. Overseas hospitals have a stronger tendency to do so. Every country has a different medical service law and a different therapeutic environment. Different foreign hospitals have different requests, too.
In Saudi Arabia, for example, not only physicians but other staffs can make a medical prescription, unlike in Korea. If a physician says a patient needs to take aspirins, a pharmacist prescribes the dose and intake intervals of aspirins. Nurses and nutritionists can also give a prescription, when necessary. So we had to build a system, considering various situations.
Providing internationally standardized languages, BESTCare 2.0 can be used in any country. We can also customize it, depending on the country and the region. We have finished developing a Chinese version of BESTCare 2.0C to prepare an entry into China. The company is now pushing to establish a local base in China. Following Saudi Arabia and the U.S., China will be another country where we expect good news to come out soon.
Q: What is your strategy for the U.S. market?
A: In the U.S., a physician can see patients at many hospitals as a freelancer, because a single hospital does not hire him or her. Some physicians work as a group so that an available doctor can see a patient when another is not available. So, we have considered this situation when developing a hospital system. Recently, we established a U.S. subsidiary to localize our model and expand it into other hospitals in the U.S.
Q: Compared to other excellent firms in the world, what is ezCaretech’s strength?
A: Our product quality does not get behind any other company in the world. Although we have just begun, our hospital system entered the U.S. market, which demands the world’s best quality. This proves our product quality.
Besides, we spent much shorter time in building the hospital system. While it took two years for others, we shortened it to one year in developing the system. This was possible because we thoroughly carried out inspections on the site and made full preparations. While we created a quality system in a short amount of time, the cost was lower than that of other companies in the world.
Q: Hospital information system has evolved into a smart-connected third generation, after the analog first-generation and the digital second-generation. How do you prepare for these changes?
A: The hot issue in HIS now is how to apply cloud computing to a hospital system. The government is running a development project over precision medicine hospital information system. Many hospitals and companies are pushing to make business models as well.
EzCaretech was also well aware of the significance of cloud-based hospital information system, so we made a development team for this. We are trying to complete this 19 billion won project by June 2019. Upon the completion, we hope not only large hospitals but small- and medium-sized ones can use our HIS. This will be a new opportunity for us.
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