ACT govt puts $70m towards digital health record

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ACT govt puts $70m towards digital health record

Budget funding to upgrade core health systems.

The ACT government has set aside more than $90 million over the next four years to upgrade core IT systems and introduce a digital health record across the territory's public health system.

The funding, revealed in the 2019-20 territory budget handed down yesterday, will be used to support ACT Health’s new 10-year digital health strategy.

The ACT digital health strategy 2019-2029 [pdf], which was released last month, aims to deliver a “future-focused” public health system by investing in modern technology.

The performance of Canberra's health system and facilities has been under sustained scrutiny with an audit in late May sharply critical of health data collection.

A key deliverable in the new digital strategy is “a single, comprehensive, contemporary, trusted, real-time person-centric clinical record”, which will be available to all clinicians treating a patient.

“This single record will capture all clinical interactions, performed in one central repository, which will provide a consistent and accurate information based on which to deliver improved clinical decision support with advanced tools and a more complete view of patient information,” the strategy states.

At the time of the strategy’s release, the territory’s Minister for Health and Wellbeing Meegan Fitzharris said the strategy was “backed by a $41 million commitment”.

But on Tuesday, the territory budget included more than $90 million towards upgrading core health systems and developing a digital health record, with just over $70 million of that earmarked as capital funding.

The new funding builds on the $40 million provided in last year’s budget to replace several core IT systems - almost half of which is being used to replace the existing laboratory information system.

The budget also hands the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate (CMTEDD) $49.6 million over the next four years, including $33.7 million in capital funding, to replace the territory’s human resource information management system (HRIMS).

The new HRIMS is expected to “provide the ACT government’s workforce with greater automation and process efficiencies, improved workforce analytical and reporting capability, employee self-service and standard HR frameworks”.

CMTEDD will also receive $14.9 million for a four-year project to increase the number of community services delivered online, and $1.8 million over four years to modernise the territory’s land titles system.

Other measures funded in the budget for 2019-20 over forward estimates include:

  • $7.2 million for whole-of-government Oracle software licensing
  • $1.8 million for the Community Services Directorate to complete the child and youth record information system
  • $1.5 million for the Electoral Commission to introduce a new electoral management system
  • $0.5 million in additional funding for Canberra's new smart technology ticketing system, which will replace MyWay
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