If a Labor Government emerges from the current political deadlock in Canberra, e-health will be a major platform of its second-term agenda. Recent contracts awarded by the Department of Health and Ageing (DHA) indicate a number of measures have already been taken by DHA to determine a sourcing strategy for the electronic health record.
According to AusTender data, DHA has awarded APIS Consulting Group a $321,201 contract to ‘develop a sourcing strategy for the personally controlled electronic health record’.
Intermedium Managing Director Judy Hurditch says the contract is “clearly for the provision of ‘above-the-line’ advisory services.
“As the APIS contract runs from 19 July 2010 to 30 November 2010, it would reasonable to infer that, should Labor form the next government , any approach to the market for e-health related goods or services is likely to appear sometime after Christmas or even well into the second half of 2010-11.
“This estimate allows for the prolonged caretaker period impacting the 30 November end date of the contract, but the timeframe could well go further to the right,” Ms. Hurditch added.
In its 5 May 2010 Budget, the Labor Government allocated $466.7 million over two years to establish the key components of the ‘personally controlled electronic health record system’, making it the single largest project on the ICT horizon, if Labor forms government. The Budget indicated that the online system was to commence in 2012-13.
The most recent APIS contract follows a number of previous e-health-related contracts between DHA and APIS, including:
- A $150,000 contract awarded in May 2010 for the provision of project management services for the individual electronic health record project;
- A $146,630 contract extending from 23 November to 31 December 2009, for the provision of expert project management on e-health technology; and
- A $50,000 contract between 10 August and 31 October 2009, for the development of implementation plans for the quality framework, diagnostic imaging and pathology reviews.
APIS had also been engaged by DHA for various services relating to the development and implementation of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and PharmCIS program.
DHA has not confined its above-the-line engagements to APIS however. It had previously contracted Booz Allen Hamilton for sourcing services, including:
- Contracts between November 2007 and April 2008 for the development of an IT strategy to guide future ICT sourcing with a combined total value of $515,944; and
- A $438,900 contract for the period September to December 2007 for a review of future IT sourcing options.
DHA has also entered into contracts with KPMG for consulting services relating to electronic prescription or ‘e-prescribing’ initiatives, including an evaluation report and the provision of implementation advice.