Queensland Health to get new IT boss

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Queensland Health to get new IT boss

Ray Brown sidelined.

New Queensland Health Director General Ian Maynard has announced that he will appoint a chief health information officer to the organisation to lead the troubled department’s technology turn-around.

Speaking in Brisbane, Maynard announced an overhaul to IT governance within the health department to coincide with its the development of its ten year IT vision for the health system.

“In terms of governance and control we will be moving to a new governance system, creating the position of chief health information officer focussed on the role of technology and the benefits and enabling power of technology to deliver healthcare services into the future,” he said.

He also introduced a second new IT role of CTO, which will be focused on “delivering the services, the maintenance and the support that exists for our legacy systems today”.

In a statement to iTnews, Maynard said that the CTO role will essentially replace the duties currently performed by present CIO Ray Brown.

Brown is filling the CTO role for the time being but Maynard confirmed no permanent hires have yet been made to either the CHIO or CTO positions.

The new CHIO position will assume a purely strategic focus and will answer directly to Maynard himself. It will be supported by a “small, tight unit” of workers.

“It will not be ICT-centric,” Maynard said.

“It will have accountability for the standards, the architecture and the long term strategy. There will be no responsibility there for delivery, operations, maintenance or support or any day-to-day technology.

“It will look at what industry is doing worldwide. It will look at what consumers are doing worldwide and will make recommendations to government about how we can align our service delivery to take advantage of those emerging technology trends."

The eventual CTO, on the other hand, will eventually transition into Health Support Queensland, the commercialised business unit providing central forensic, scientific and clinical support services across the health system.

As CIO, Ray Brown has been the most senior IT executive at Queensland Health for the past five years, helping to pick up the pieces of the failed payroll initiative after its go live went spectacularly wrong in early 2010. He had been acting CIO in the lead up to the switch, starting from January 2009, when the project had already hit a number of obstacles.

Ian Maynard took over Queensland Health in September, and has already overseen the transition of the health system to a devolved model where health and hospital districts will assume control over staff and assets, including IT assets, starting from 1 July.

He used the Brisbane event to send a clear message about his appetite for change, and put underperforming health IT projects on formal notice.

“I will not be endorsing, supporting or continuing to fund any projects that don’t have a clear and compelling business case linked to bottom line measurable benefits, and that have a clear business owner,” he said.

The department is currently “running the ruler” across its initiatives to make sure they meet these demands.

“It is highly likely that a number of those projects will cease,” he said.

Another element of the reforms will be the establishment of an advisory committee made up of industry and business technology specialists, which will provide advice into the CHIO’s office and further up the line. The composition of the committee has yet to be finalised but is expected to include Government CIO Andrew Mills.

“It will be there to advise myself and the minister on how technology can support and enable the system. It will have a mixture of people from Andrew Mills representing whole of government through to private sector non-health technology experts, private sector health technology experts and HHS chief executives,” Maynard said.

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