Defence ehealth blowout scrutinised by auditor

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Defence ehealth blowout scrutinised by auditor

Studies how a $56m project ballooned to $133m.

The Australian Defence Force-wide implementation of ehealth records is under investigation by the country's national auditor to discover how the project blew out by more than double its budget.

In September 2014, the Department of Defence went live with the first phase of its ehealth records rollout, based on EMIS clinical software and implemented by a CSC-led consortium.

At launch Defence conceded it had spent more than double its original budget on the project, hitting a full outlay of $133 million - $77 million more than anticipated when work began in February 2011.

Defence officials suggested the cost blowout was down to underestimates about training and licensing costs involved in the rollout of electronic health records to 57,000 serving ADF members and 25,000 reservists.

Assistant Defence Minister Stuart Robert was also quick to blame his Labor predecessors for any shortcomings.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has since kicked off an investigation into the project’s troubles and how they can be avoided in the future.

The office is due to report on the “effectiveness of Defence's planning, budgeting and implementation of an electronic health records solution for Defence personnel, through the joint ehealth data and information system” before May this year.

Defence IT also previously attracted the attention of the audit office in December 2011, when the ANAO issued a report into the running of the agency's information environment and how visibility of the hundreds of millions spent on technology annually could be improved.

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