Despite a challenging budgetary environment, ICT in South Australia has received a major boost thanks to generous new funding for eHealth programs, with the new funding tally for ICT in the 2012-13 Budget nearly double that of the previous year.
While the State Government tightened purse strings elsewhere, its latest Budget was awash with new eHealth funding details, including $193.6 million to roll-out a state-wide Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) over ten years.
This value includes $142.6 million in capital investments and $51 million in operational costs.
According to Intermedium’s Budget IT tool, there was approximately $101 million worth of new ICT funding to be found in the 2011-12 South Australian Budget, of a total $540.6 million contained within the Budget Papers.
Approximately $174 million was earmarked for expenditure within the 2011-12 financial year.
The EPAS project was first announced in December 2011 by Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek in conjunction with South Australian Health Minister John Hill. According to a media release issued at the time, the whole project will cost $408 million over ten years, with the Commonwealth contributing $90 million of this from the COAG National Health Reform fund.
Bill Le Blanc, General Manager eHealth Services for SA Health has called the system “the single biggest eHealth program that SA Health has ever undertaken”.
Its implementation will require the consolidation of a number of legacy health systems currently operating across the State’s hospitals and GP Plus centres.
The Department of Health and Ageing also received $30.4 million to install a new Enterprise Pathology Laboratory Information System, replacing the Centricity Ultra Laboratory Information System currently in use.
The new capability will allow pathology results to be viewed by clinical staff right across the public hospital system.
Another $30 million will go towards the roll-out of an Enterprise System for Medical Imaging over three years, split between $18.7 million in capital investment and $11.3 million in operating costs. The program’s funding will be partially offset by existing allocations.
The remainder of ICT funding in the Budget was primarily tied up in annual outlays for capital works and asset maintenance. SA Water set aside $12.8 million in 2012-13 to “improve business information technology systems”. IT and communications equipment were also funded under a $10.3 million annual capital works program at the South Australian Country Fire Service.
The South Australian Government will also contribute $4.7 million over four years towards its component of the National Electronic Conveyancing System, a COAG initiative that will see the establishment of an inter-jurisdictional system for the electronic management of land transactions.