Friday, June 29, 2012

Ascom Wireless Acquires GE Nurse Call

You may have remembered back during HIMSS – I made some comments  on the blog about GE’s nurse call and may have even said something along the “lack of vision” lines.  (which my mother said was shockingly not nice of me to say)  GE did have a strong lack of vision surrounding its nurse call product…if you remember GE purchased EST who had purchased the once competitive Dukane line.  As they divested the “Security” division of their product lines (EST) due to the lack luster performance the nurse call line was shuffled around and never could get past their market status of third place.

So here is what really blows my mind - GE potentially they had the perfect scenario… cool would it be to walk in and offer everything soup to nuts to make your hospital run. (If you are a dreamer thinker – why wouldn’t GE just have a hospital…why not?)   Even if the hospital didn’t want everything – how amazing would it have been to have access to every piece of a hospital – think of the flexibility and potential for innovation.  The potential intellectual capital was just squandered – to me this was purely an execution faux-paux on the part of GE.  They had all the pieces – they just couldn’t get them to move together.
I find the acquisition to be really interesting play for Ascom Wireless as well – while they have had reportedly good success with their nurse call line Internationally – I do wonder if the same model will apply in the US.   The company line is that the nurse call and wireless phone system will be “kept separate” as to not upset too many apple carts (since Ascom distributes both through nurse call manufactures, and independent integrators).  It would be silly to keep that mindset for long.

Ascom offers a nice middleware product called Unite – same thought process of all middleware it interfaces to different alarm generating technologies such as nurse call and distributes the information the assigned caregiver.   The acquisition gives them more control on the development side of the product – creating better workflows but it limits their vendor agnostic approach to market.   It’s perplexing why that they would tether themselves to another “end point” device – like they have done with their handsets – Yes, I know that Unite integrates with several handset devices BUT if you know middleware you know they integrate best to their own handset.
Areas where disruption may occur in the space – Distribution (who is selling it, not who is shipping it), IP consolidation, and IP development……further market consolidation.

Nurse Call is a really interesting technology....not interesting in a creative way - interesting in a how are we going to mold this old school technology, that's required by code, into a new highly relevant my new favorite CMIO would say - "Where is the Disruption?!"  It's hardware and software blended together and without one being high quality it will fail to meet the expectations of the hospital.   
My firm belief is that the hardware will continue to decrease in value and the software will continue to increase….but not just software the content of that software is the real value.     Watch the market - I think another Nurse Call company will make movement like this soon......

1 comment:

  1. Nurse call is a revolutionary system which can be a real asset to care homes and hospitals.


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