Topics: IT Services; Shared Services; Digital Transformation; WA.
Western Australia Health has made significant progress towards realising its vision for eHealth reform, having recently reorganised ICT governance to better define the roles and responsibilities of separate support service entities.
Under WA’s new Health Services Act 2016, which came into effect earlier this month, system-wide ICT support services will now be provided by a separate and accountable legal entity called Health Support Services (HSS).
HSS has been set up as a chief executive-governed health service provider responsible for technology, supply, workforce and finance services across WA Health.
According to a department spokesperson, “the establishment of HSS as a separate health service provider formalises previous changes amalgamating Health Corporate Network (HCN), Health Information Network (HIN) and Health Supply Network (HSN) to form a single organisation.”
The Act will also see five separate board-governed Health Services, led by an experienced chief executive, manage “day-to-day operations and deliver safe, high-quality and efficient health services to local communities”, according to Minister for Health John Day.
The governance changes are intended to modernise WA Health and encourage patient-centric decision-making. The changes align with eHealth reforms in Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland.
Service Level Agreements have also been put in place between HSS and its clients, including the Health Services, the department and other government agencies in the state, to make sure HSS is meeting the needs of health service providers.
WA Health is currently implementing a three-year ICT reform program to “future-proof its operations” by upgrading its ICT infrastructure, developing industry standards and refining ICT governance.
According to the spokesperson, WA Health has already improved ICT governance by establishing a Clinical Reference Group to provide project oversight and encourage clinical engagement with ICT, and developing a WA Health Information Management Strategy.
Other notable advances since the release of the WA Health ICT Strategy 2015-2018 include:
- the successful rollout of the Notifications and Clinical Summaries system across key regions;
- the implementation of priority clinical applications to improve patient management at Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth Children’s Hospital and in the Great Southern region;
- the upgrade of WA Health’s computer fleet to Windows 7; and
- the development of a new Software Asset Management Plan to improve the management of software licences across WA Health.
Health ICT has also topped WA’s list of budget priorities for a third consecutive year, receiving close to $60 million in the 2016-17 budget.
The department was allocated $52.6 million beyond the forward estimates, including $16.8 million in 2016-17, for its replacement medical imaging system. The new centralised Picture Archive Communication System – Radiology Information System will give practitioners greater access to imagining records.
The budget will also provide $4 million to a minor ICT works program in 2016-17 and 2017-18, $1.4 million in 2016-17 to upgrade the iPharmacy system, and $992,000 over three years to replace the Monitoring of Drugs and Dependence System.