AFP searches for digital health record system

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AFP searches for digital health record system

Will replace disparate databases, paper-based records.

The Australian Federal Police is set to introduce an agency-wide electronic health records system to better manage the health information of its 6000-plus staff.

The national policing agency revealed plans for the “organisation health solution” in a request for tender on Friday in a bid to better identify officers at risk of injury or illness.

The solution, which will consist of a “central repository” for personnel health information, will replace “multiple disconnected databases, based on Microsoft Access, and paper documents”.

The AFP has blamed these “siloes of information” for “making it difficult for organisation health practitioners to obtain a consolidated single view of an AFP or family member’s health information”.

It is a view shared by the national auditor, which in 2018 found disconnected systems and multiple hard copy records contributed to major shortcomings in the way AFP mental health is managed.

“The AFP’s information on employee mental health is held across a range of disconnected information systems and multiple hardcopy records which makes it difficult for the AFP to monitor and respond to emerging issues in employee mental health,” the audit said at the time.

The audit recommended the AFP “consolidate disparate systems and hardcopy records in order to establish an electronic health records management system”.

The end-to-end solution is expected to help the AFP “better manage the information it holds about AFP personnel (and their family members where appropriate in order to identity and minimise as much as possible the risk of injury to them”.

“The AFP does not currently have a consolidated ICT solution for managing health related information and activities such as work health and safety, health record information, case management, workers compensation or return to work activities,” tender documents state.

The e-health record component, dubbed the One AFP health record, will be used as the AFP’s “single access point for all captured information pertaining AFP personnel health records, including historic case files”.

It is also envisaged that end users will be able to access to their personnel health information, as well as use the health record to submit health documents such as medical certificates.

The solution will also consists of a case management solution, which would be used by authorised users to provide “improved ill and injured workers” with improved services, and workers compensation management.

The case management solution would consolidate “existing processes and systems, improving the way the AFP accesses, shares information and communicates with ill or injured workers throughout the lifecycle of a case”.

“The solution should make information more easily accessible to ill and Injured workers, streamline case management processes and provide avenues to improve the communication between case managers and ill or injured workers,” tender documents state.

The AFP expects the solution will “require minimal development and be easily configurable”, though warned that “new, untried and untested solutions” were unlikely to meet its requirements.

“The AFP favours a solution that can be delivered iteratively over a series of releases which combine together to make up the total soliton,” it said.

“The AFP seeks to be able to receive business value from the solution early in the engagement and continue to receive increases in business value throughout the solution’s delivery.”

The work will also involve migrating all existing organisation health data from the AFP’s existing Microsoft Access databases to the new solution, which will need to be accredited to an official (sensitive) level.

“There is a total of 28 tables within those five Microsoft Access databases that combined contained approximately 243,000 entries. The physical size of the Microsoft Access databases is less than 500MB,” the AFP said.

The AFP expects to sign a contract for up to five years in September.

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