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Irish firm secures Belgian hospital contract

Lincor Solutions, a software company specialising in healthcare informatics, has secured a major international deal to supply a hospital in Belgium. Richard Cooke, chief executive of Lincor, said the company had beaten off competition from other bidders, including Siemens and Philips, to secure the contract to supply more than 2,000 of its MEDIVista products to UZ hospital in Louven.

Overseas customers vital

Nurturing relationships with potential overseas customers is, according to Cooke, vital to establishing export sales. ‘‘Our first visit to the hospital was in 2006, and we have a very good local partner in Belgium,’’ he said. ‘‘Wewon as our technology is in a class of its own, our price was good and we have the right attitude and flexibility.’’ Founded in 2003, Lincor was the brainchild of Dan Byrne, Pat O’Donnell and Enda Murphy, all former employees of Apple.

Cooke came on board as chief executive in 2005. Lincor, which supplies bedside computing solutions to the global market, has just under 17,000 installations in about 75 hospitals worldwide. ‘‘We provide everything: the project management, mounting arms, bedside computers and everything else,’’ Cooke said. ‘‘We have completed projects in 14 countries, including Britain,Germany,HongKong, Australia and theUS.’’

Business overseas

The company took first place in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 Awards 2008, and was recently named SME of the Year 2009 by Cork Chamber of Commerce. It employs 34 people in Dublin, Cork, New York,Toronto and Barcelona. Despite its more recent success, Cooke said it had taken the company two years to secure its first significant business overseas. ‘‘In 2005, we got our first big contract, which was to put 6,500 of our products into 13 NHS hospitals in Britain,’’ he said.

‘‘That was worth about E1.5 million.’’ Lincor works with local partners to sell its products to target markets. ‘‘We need local partners to suit our business model and also for language, culture and those type of factors,’’ Cooke said. ‘‘Our partners either resell our technology into the hospital, or they manage the system and charge the hospital or patients for its use.’’

Big opportunity in the US

Finding the right partner to work withwas challenging. ‘‘It is not easy to get a good partner, and we have really struggled at that at times,’’ he said. ‘‘We look for companies, which are large enough to have credibility in the target market, but also small enough for us to be important for them. We prefer to work with partners who are as hungry as we are. ‘‘The big opportunity for us is the US, which has 5,000 hospitals, and we have three sites there at the moment. The potential in the US is huge for us, especially with ObamaCare and recent developments.

‘‘Our technologies make hospitals more efficient and take costs out of the business, which is the agenda there at the moment. ‘‘In time, having a computer beside each patient at the point of care will be a must-have for each hospital. It will be as relevant as having a nurse-call button for an emergency or a chair beside the bed.’’

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