Moves at the top don’t seem to have slowed the pace of change at the Queensland Department of Health, which this week launched an ICT Reform Program that aims to outsource major ICT infrastructure and applications on an as-a-service basis.
A new Director-General, Ian Maynard, was appointed to Queensland Health this month, after the departure of Tony O’Connell from the role in August 2013. Deputy Director-General Michael Cleary has been acting in the role in the interim.
Maynard joins the agency at a time of major change, with a shift to a new outsourcing based approach to ICT procurement and management in the immediate future and a core ICT systems replacement project on the horizon.
The agency has begun early market engagement processes to outsource the as-a-service provision of telephony, end-user devices and collaboration software (‘health workspace’), and other ICT systems across Queensland Health’s 80,000 staff.
“Recent reviews of ICT across Queensland Health and the whole of Government have recommended a new approach, one better calibrated to Queensland’s needs,” said Minister for Health Lawrence Springborg at a Partners in Technology briefing last week.
“The Government will change to become an enabler of ICT services. The older emphasis on owning and managing ICT assets will fade. Queensland Health will look for realistic opportunities to source value for money.”
The Telephony Managed Services and Health Workspace projects are “the first in a series of initiatives” to transition various internally-provided ICT functions to the market.
Suppliers are requested to describe their capabilities under each of the projects. The full scope of the Telephony Service Project within the current Health environment includes the provision of:
- Voice carriage, network and infrastructure services;
- Desk phone services, maintenance and support;
- IP telephony systems services;
- Managed voice services;
- Mobile and smartphone services and solutions; and
- Paging and messaging services, including interfaces to existing systems and infrastructure.
The Health Workspace Project includes:
- Workstation management, covering hardware, software and standard operating environment management;
- Mobile and smart devices and device management;
- Virtual desktop infrastructure covering the Department’s server and storage needs;
- Printer support;
- Email support, collaboration tools, electronic document and records management (eDRMS) and office suite; and
- Cloud file storage.
The decision to transition to an outsourced as-a-service approach for a range of ICT functions follows the release of Queensland Government’s ICT Strategy 2013-17 and Action Plan, as well as a number of reviews into Queensland Health’s procurement and management of ICT.
Transitioning to an outsourced delivery model for ICT and adopting an as-a-service approach are both key elements of the ICT Strategy and Action Plan, which emphasise the Government’s aim to “leverage ICT as-a-service as the primary option while divesting itself of existing assets”.
The Strategy also includes the need for a better use of early market engagement as part of broader procurement reforms to improve service delivery management and outcomes.
The potential for significant efficiencies and savings to be achieved through “the consolidation and outsourcing” of desktop hardware, data storage, cloud-based email, and ICT hosting infrastructure services is identified in the 2012 Queensland Government ICT Audit report.
Specific to Health, the blueprint for better healthcare in Queensland released in February 2013 highlights the Department’s intention to pursue “opportunities to outsource a range of information technology functions including desktop support, help desk arrangements and in-house hosted software development and infrastructure”.
Submissions for both the Telephony Managed Services and Health Workspace projects close on 23 September 2013.
Another major upcoming project facing the new DG is the replacement for Queensland Health’s Hospital-Based Corporation Information System that will reach the end of its life in 2015. A business case and architecture framework is expected to be complete by January 2014.
The patient administration and management system interfaces with over 80 clinical and business systems and has been implemented in around 165 separate configurations around Queensland Health, according to Health CIO Ray Brown.
The total costs of replacing the 22-year-old system are estimated to be $438 million, according the Queensland ICT Audit. The project has yet to receive funding, and is likely to feature in the 2014-15 State budget following the completion of the January business case.
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