NEC Australia has announced the first three customers to have signed up to a hosted IT service the company built specifically for the aged care sector.
Mary Ogilvy Homes in Tasmania signed up to have the Autumncare clinical records application delivered as a service, whilst Barunga Village and Wami Kata Old Folks Home - both in regional South Australia - have signed up to consume records compliance software product Thoughtware over NEC's network.
Both of these applications will be delivered to the aged care facilities from NEC's Melbourne and Brisbane data centres over its fibre network.
NEC hoped that the three customers were the tip of the aged care iceberg after signing a memorandum of understanding with the Aged Care Association of Australia (ACAA) and Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) in July to be the IT services supplier of choice for the sector.
NEC group manager for Health and Aged Care David Cooke said that NEC - which already boasted 500 of Australia's largest 1000 hospitals as voice system customers - saw aged care as a unique vertical in need of a customised solution.
Aged care facilities were capitally-constrained and geographically dispersed - making it incredibly difficult for the organisations to attract and retain IT talent.
"We have customers in major regional centres that find it hard to attract and maintain talent," Cooke told iTnews.
"This solution allows part of the IT function to be performed by us in centralised data centres, and for the aged care facility to not depend so much on the local labour market."
Cooke said NEC expected to build a service catalogue for aged care industry customers in which vertical health applications, virtual server capacity, managed desktops, voice services and VPN access are available on-demand using the vendor's data centre and network assets.
Typically customers would be signed to consume these services for two to three year periods - more akin to outsourcing contracts than utility-style cloud computing business models.
Beyond the aged care market, Cooke expected community care organisations to be an obvious next step for NEC - providing equipment in the home, network connectivity and hosting in the data centre.
"Beyond that we will see what involvement we might have in eHealth as it evolves," he said.