Andrew Murphy obtained a degree in chemical and process engineering in CIT, going on to work for Henkel Loctite in Dublin, originally as process engineer and subsequently as chemical plant manager.
At the age of 30, having completed a part-time MBA at the Smurfit Business School, Andrew identified a gap in the market for the provision of an electronic platform to manage the health insurance claims process for hospitals, and set up Sláinte Healthcare as a result.
It was late 2006 when he resigned from his position with Henkel, and by mid-2007 he had an early version of Slainte Healthcare’s first platform – Claimsure – running in a hospital. Claimsure is an electronic claims management solution for healthcare organisations.
Approximately 100 people are employed by Sláinte Healthcare worldwide, 40 of whom are based in its headquarters in Sandyford in Dublin.
In the five years between 2009 and 2013, Sláinte Healthcare achieved a growth rate of 1,639 per cent, with health insurance claims totalling more than €1 billion being submitted annually through Claimsure .
Sláinte Healthcare is currently rolling out its international product, Vitro, in Ireland. It allows hospitals to move away from the paper chart and replace it with an electronic version.
What prompted you to start-up in business? I had reviewed the health insurance process in a public hospital as part of an MBA project. When giving my recommendations, I suggested that a software system was needed to make sustainable improvements, and I described in detail what it should look like.
A few months later I was speaking to representatives of the hospital and they mentioned that they couldn't find any software that did what I described, nor could they find a company that wished to invest in trying to develop one. That got me thinking and a few months later Sláinte was born. How did you secure your first investment? I re-mortgaged a property (it was 2006, the crash hadn't come yet) and my current chairman also put in some money. The only external funding came from Enterprise Ireland a couple of years later, which made a big impact on the company as it allowed a much more aggressive investment in product development.
Has your Irishness contributed to your success? In many ways, as our original target market was Ireland, the fact that we were Irish probably played against us. In the early years, I definitely got the impression that we were not taken seriously as we were Irish, in a way that wouldn't have happened if we were a UK or US company.
Internationally, it has had positives and negatives. The Irish health system wouldn’t have a good reputation in the UK and that has counted against us. However, Irish healthcare has a great reputation in the Middle East (largely due to the work of RCSI) and so it has worked in our favour there.
Have you started to feel the effects of the economic upturn within your sector/industry? The downturn was a major benefit to us. It forced healthcare providers to re-evaluate what they were doing and be more open to better, more efficient and less costly ways to deliver on their commitments to patients. As economic conditions improve, the pressures on healthcare systems remain the same, but there may be more leeway for providers to invest early, to make major long term gains.
So now that we are a trusted, established company that has a track record in delivering what clients need, we seem to be benefitting from the general upturn also.