Both the NSW Ministry of Health and South Australian Department of Health and Ageing will lose their Chief Information Officers in the coming weeks.
NSW Health CIO Greg Wells will depart on 21 October 2013 to take up a strategic support position at the State’s troubled Department of Family and Community Services (FACS).
Health Director-General Mary Foley said that the Department of Family and Community Services, and those they care for, would benefit significantly from the passion and commitment Wells has for using ICT solutions to transform the way in which the government delivers services to the people of NSW.
Wells was appointed Health CIO in 2009, after joining the agency in 2006. Transitional management arrangements for the CIO position are currently being finalised.
NSW Health is currently undertaking a major ICT infrastructure program that will see a migration to the whole-of-NSW-Government data centre and the establishment of a single network. The data centre migration, due to be completed by 2017, received funding of $9.82 million in the 2013-14 budget, and total funding of nearly $31.5 million.
The first two phases of the infrastructure project have been funded for a total of $85.7 million, with Phase 1 expected to be completed by 2013 and Phase 2 by 2015. The planned third Phase has yet to receive funding.
“We are committed to a four year $4.7 billion infrastructure plan for health capital and ICT infrastructure,” according to the Health Reform website.
Foley also outlined plans for a significant restructure of ICT governance in her 2011 report on Future Arrangements for Governance of NSW Health that would see the establishment of a separate ICT unit known as eHealth NSW by the end of 2011, with responsibility over sector-wide technology governance and strategic planning.
An eHealth and ICT Strategy branch has existed within NSW Health since 2010.
SA Health’s CIO David Johnston is also vacating his position on 1 October 2013, after 10 years at the agency.
The recruitment process for a new SA CIO has begun.
In his capacity as Executive Director, eHealth Systems, Johnston has spearheaded the State’s biggest ICT project, the $485 million eHealth program. The extensive reform program, which will now fall under the responsibility of the new CIO, includes the development of an integrated state-wide electronic health record that will see the centralisation of ICT systems and processes.
The main component of this is a $422 million Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) that will link to the national eHealth system. EPAS will consolidate patient information to provide staff with real-time access to data at the point of care. The system was completed in 2011-12.
The incoming CIO will have to oversee the progressive rollout of EPAS, which began in 2013. It is currently live at the State’s Noarlunga Hospital.
The agency is also continuing its implementation of a state-wide Oracle Corporate Systems suite to replace various legacy systems for finance, procurement and supply chain functions. The Oracle Systems will underpin the standardisation of business and system processes and data structures across SA Health, according to its most recent annual report. The implementation is expected to occur over a two-year period from 2013.
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