9 Jul 2012

NZ health IT products in demand in Europe

7:04 am on 9 July 2012

A British-based advisor says New Zealand health IT firms have the products that Europe wants, and what they need are the funds to help sell them.

Elizabeth Hill is a Beachheads advisor for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and helps firms break into and offer support to a still lucrative, but varied, European market.

She's been here to talk to some of these firms, such as Optmia, Atlantis Healthcare, Author IT, and Nexus 6.

European health budgets are worth hundreds of millions, if not billions, of euros.

Dr Hill says there's a high demand for health technology products and services in Europe, particularly with cash-strapped governments wanting to find ways to save money.

She says they are still prepared to spend but want to find a better way of spending money and New Zealand health IT companies have been very successful in addressing that.

Dr Hill says products can include resource management, public safety and understanding programmes which ensure patients adhere to taking the right drugs.

She says Britain is a natural first place to start, then Germany, but language and different rules can make it a difficult process to pursue sales and expansion.

Dr Hill says firms need to be in Europe, and should consider tapping capital and potential partners in the region to help sell their products.

She says New Zealand has issues with commercial markets and in the Europe and the US the financial market is more robust in terms of understanding how to commercialise products and make investments.

Dr Hill says New Zealand firms could attempt to overcome this by raising funds from within Europe or perhaps by getting more support for commercialisation and innovation from within New Zealand.

She says the New Zealand companies she's spoken with have largely done a lot of their development work, so they need to actually be in the market selling their products and finding the right partners to help them sell their products.

Dr Hill says growing firms should also realise that the founder, who's usually the inventor, is not necessarily the best person to lead the company when it's expanding internationally.