Mobile technology, electronic medical records and video link capabilities are among the technology enhancements sought by Victoria’s Eastern Health (EH). EH is currently operating under its 2010-2015 ICT Strategy and has issued a Request for Tender (RFT) for the creation of a new strategy that embraces EH’s intended ICT directions.
EH provides health care services to the eastern metropolitan area of Melbourne. It consists of over 9,000 staff over 29 locations.
According to the RFT, “in keeping with Eastern Health’s desire to remain at the forefront of ICT development in the Victorian Public health sector it has deemed it prudent to refresh the strategy in line with the requirements of the changing environment and enable Eastern Health to meet the ICT challenges that the health sector faces in the future.”
Beyond seeking that mobile technology, electronic medical records and video link capabilities are included is “to ensure that Eastern Health maintains an appropriate and effective strategic framework for its ICT program”, the new Strategy is also expected to encompass the Agency’s longer-term goals.
The longer term goals include the desire to move towards document management and data warehousing capabilities and introduce enterprise roster and resource management tools. EH also is expecting to “Introduce single sign-on roaming profiles and enhanced virtual desktop environment to provide ease of access to critical information for clinical decision makers.”
These progressive changes are expected to prepare EH for an eventual upgrade of its legacy systems.
The RFT stipulates that EH is looking to select a single supplier to prepare the updated ICT strategy.
The Strategy also is to inform the ICT environment of the redeveloped Box Hill Hospital. The Box Hill redevelopment project begun in November 2011 with budget funding of $447.5 million, according to the Victorian Department of Health’s 2012-13 Annual Report. It is due to finish by Mid-2014 with “Eastern Health … using this opportunity to take a more information centric view of ICT in addition to its strong Technology focus,” according to the RFT.
NEC has been chosen as the prime ICT contractor for the ICT infrastructure component of the Box Hill Hospital Redevelopment Project. According to NEC’s Data Network Consultant Arthur Thodis’ Linkedin, the ICT components include “fixed and wireless LAN infrastructure, application servers, storage, [and] a wide range of end-user devices that will mainly be deployed using a ‘thin client’ architecture.”
e-health is one of the largest areas of focus for health departments across Australia, due to the multi-jurisdictional Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) initiative.,. The Federally funded and led project has exceeded $1 billion in total contracts value since it was announced in 2010-11. Eastern Health’s tender documents include the requirement to “Implement access to the shared health summary and the PCEHR” as one of the main actions to be addressed in the updated ICT Strategy.
Victoria has had a turbulent history of e-health projects. In October 2013, the Victorian Government announced its decision to scrap the HealthSMART program. Launched in 2003 by a Labor Government, the program received a funding allocation of $323 million, and was expected to include the implementation of ICT systems across 19 health services by 2007. As at October 2013, the system had been implemented at only four sites at a cost of $145.3 million.
One of the issues was that the HealthSMART system was not designed to integrate with the national PCEHR. As of August 2013, Victoria Health had accepted an Auditor-General’s recommendation “to build upon its existing investment in research infrastructure by encouraging national planning for the creation of health and medical research ICT systems in conjunction with the rollout of e-health resources including but not limited to the PCEHR”.
For more information, please contact the Editor (02) 9955 9896.