Kiwi innovation helping China's maternity care systems

Last year there were 18 million births in China, a record high since 2000, as the phasing out of the one child policy ...
REUTERS

Last year there were 18 million births in China, a record high since 2000, as the phasing out of the one child policy took effect.

A Kiwi business providing software systems for New Zealand hospitals has been scouted by a Chinese organisation to create bespoke systems for its maternity care.

Solutions Plus provides systems for all public gynaecological units across New Zealand and two maternity hospitals, helping them keep track of patient records, schedule appointments and provide modules for examinations.

Malcolm Briggs started the software company 25 years ago, but only started working in the women's healthcare sector about five years ago. Now the company is expanding overseas.

Solutions Plus is in the process of developing Mandarin language software for the midwifery training school Qingdao Huikang in Beijing and other potential clients including private hospitals around China.

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Briggs said China presented a huge opportunity for improving the level and scope of maternity care and with its large number of births, his software system would be ideal for hospitals there. 

"China's population is bigger than the whole of the Western world. That's an enormous number of babies."

Last year, births increased by 7.9 per cent to 18 million since the phasing out of China's one child policy began in 2015. 

Solutions Plus caught the eye of Qingdao Huikang as a result of a recommendation by a midwife who had used the software in New Zealand and moved to China to work with the training school.

"It's all about relationships and partnerships. Working closely with a Chinese organisation has been so much easier than targeting hospitals directly," he said.

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"It would take many years of trial and error to fully understand how to do business effectively in China."

The software will be launched next month in Beijing.

Briggs said he was excited about merging Western maternity care models already in his software with traditional Chinese therapies and medicines in China. 

Solutions Plus is a small team of eight employees. Last year, the company received a three year growth grant for research and development from Callaghan Innovation. 

He said one of the challenges creating the new software was the language.

Briggs said it was necessary for the business to employ Chinese speaking employees rather than rely on translators for their visits.

Briggs has also been connecting with potential distributors in Singapore and was also considering Hong Kong as another possible market for the future.

 - Stuff

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