The Victorian Auditor-General has delivered a report following his review of the HealthSMART IT program for the Victorian public health sector program. He found a number of significant issues with the implementation.
The report, titled Delivering HealthSMART - Victoria's whole-of-health ICT strategy was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday 16 April.
HealthSMART is currently a six-year, $323 million technology program operating across the Victorian Public Health System (VPHS) and due for completion in June 2009. The program is large and complex, involving health services, rural information and communication technology (ICT) alliances and community-based health providers across the state. It is the most far-reaching ICT change program ever undertaken by the VPHS.
The program aims to replace obsolete and unsupported applications within health care agencies, with capable, industry standard products. It plans to introduce new systems able to support the transformation of healthcare. At the same time, agency ICT infrastructure will be refreshed and developed.
The audit examined: the extent of achievement of implementation, milestones and budgeted costs; the extent of realisation of the expected benefits as set out in the ICT strategy; the effectiveness of overall monitoring and review of the program; the soundness of controls in place to assure the probity of procurement processes.
Findings of the review included:
- Original milestones were too ambitious
- Implementation of clinical systems is most at risk
- Half the budget spent for a quarter of the planned installations
- Implementation delays have led to underspend against forecasts
- No reliable method to estimate agency implementation costs
The Auditor-General made a number of recommendations to the DHS including devising a realistic schedule for the implementation of clinical systems, defining standard method to record agency costs, monitoring agency costs.