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Induction Healthcare has a repeat prescription for buy-and-build success


Induction Healthcare Group PLC (LON:INHC) chief executive Hugo Stephenson’s is a medical doctor by training and a serial entrepreneur who has built a number of businesses from the ground up.

In fact, his success at a company called DrugDev provides some insights on the buy-and-build blueprint he has in place at the AIM-listed med-tech firm.

What he did at DrugDev was to consolidate a number of apps popular with doctors involved in drug development to create an enterprise platform adopted by the pharmaceutical industry, before going out to buy ‘point solutions’ used in the day-to-day work by medical researchers that could be plugged into that “backbone of users”.

In doing so it created a software as a service platform used by the industry, generating significant recurring revenues.


Making doctors’ lives easier

It is this ground-up approach Stephenson is now deploying at Induction.

Here in the UK, its free Induction messaging app for hospital doctors has seen widespread adoption. Around 140,000 health professionals use it, which is “roughly 60-70%” of that particular population, and in August the platform was awarded supplier status on the NHS’s digital procurement framework.

At the same time, the group has been buying up ‘point solutions’ to provide services that make doctors’ lives easier.

One of those is an app called MicroGuide, which is a clinical guidelines management platform used by 80% of NHS trusts and with almost 170,000 users.

A September trading update revealed MicroGuide had achieved earn-out targets for management well ahead of schedule, with 32% year-on-year growth in user numbers since its acquistion last November and 44% growth in guideline page views.

In May this year, Induction unveiled plans to buy a technology firm called Zesty, in a predominantly paper deal over £11mln at current prices.

It is acquiring a platform that provides an integration layer with a hospital’s electronic patient records, which allows patients to manage their hospital outpatient appointments, read their administrative and clinical correspondence, attend a video-based consultation and store a personal copy of their clinical record.


Where Induction is now

In January, the firm announced a contract with the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, with the Induction Zesty unit delivering the My RFL Care patient portal as the first phase of a roadmap for RFL’s digital patient services in the next two years.

The My RFL Care portal launched in August 2020 and has had significant traction with over 50,000 patients registering and using the service in the first few months. 250,000 patients are expected to adopt the service in the first year.

Induction delivered revenues of £582,000 in the six months to September 30. In common with most businesses at the early stages of the commercial journey, it was loss-making – to the tune of £3.2mln, though net cash at the period-end was £5mln.


What the boss says: joint chief executive and Zesty founder, James Balmain

“Partnering with Royal Free London, one of the largest and most respected hospitals in the UK, is an important milestone for Induction Zesty. In just a few months, tens of thousands of patients have successfully registered and used the platform. We look forward to supporting the Royal Free London in delivering further enhanced functionality for their patient portal over the coming months.”


Inflexion points

  • Induction plans to expand horizontally to provide the app to professionals working in aged and primary care parts of the health service, plus more functionality is being built into the app
  • Internationally, Induction will be rolled out in Australia, Canada, and mainland Europe, while a series of premium features have also been added
  • A “healthy” acquisition pipeline is targeting new and complementary products and geographies

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