Orion to take on animal health in the US

The USDA has chosen Orion's Rhapsody Integration Engine to integrate test results and track animal diseases

Auckland-based Orion Health, provider of clinical workflow and integration technology for the healthcare sector, has won a contract with United States Department of Agriculture, Animal Plant Health Inspection Services and Veterinary Services.

The USDA has chosen Orion Health’s Rhapsody Integration Engine to integrate test results and track animal diseases — such as “mad cow” disease and avian influenza — for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).

The contract will boost Orion’s credibility on the US market, says Paul de Bazin, general manager of the Rhapsody product at Orion.

“This deal means that a US government agency is showing confidence in our software, and has chosen us out of all our competitors,” he says.

The deal also means that Orion’s US operations will grow. A year ago there were 15 staff in the office in Santa Monica, says communications manager Megan Tobin-Jones. Today there are 46 full-time staff in North America, of which 14 are Kiwis, she says.

Tobin-Jones is herself going to the US, to head up Orion’s communications department there.

“We are planning to open a second office in the US, in Boston,” she says.

The Rhapsody engine manages message exchange between hospital applications, databases and external systems. In this case it will be used to extract information from state animal health laboratories’ information systems, reformat the data to NAHLN standards and report information back to Veterinary Services, according to Orion.

Rhapsody accepts messages in many formats, from a wide range of sources and then routes the messages to their correct destinations, says Orion.

“We provide services to help [customers] configure the application,” de Bazin says. “High configurability, ease of use and customisation are the main benefits of Rhapsody.” The Rhapsody engine was developed five years ago, and is based on another Orion product that has been around for over ten years, he says.

“I think one of the reasons why we were chosen is our experience in human health. We are using the same sort of messages and information [that would be used for public health] so the main challenge is going to be translating that to the animal functionality.”