NSW Health will shortly invite industry to tackle some of its biggest clinical and business challenges using a new channel to pitch innovative solutions.
The department is preparing to create an innovation portal that provides a space to share challenges where it considers there to be fertile ground for lateral thinking and innovation from its industry and academic partners.
“The idea really is to articulate to the industry the issues that are the most pertinent and most significant for NSW Health at this point in time,” chief executive and CIO of eHealth NSW Zoran Bolevich told an AIIA forum in Sydney yesterday.
He said the portal would help address nine challenges facing the health system, ranging from improving patient access to emergency departments, to learning from patient feedback and tackling childhood obesity, which is also being looked at by the NSW Data Analytics Centre.
It will also help the department with modelling clinical data for decision support, and finding applications for blockchain.
The portal is currently going through the final stages of testing, and will go live next month.
Bolevich said it was just one of the initiatives NSW Health was introducing to improve its investment process.
“Often the problem with IT investments is the actual business objectives and problems we are trying to solve are not sufficiently well defined right from the start,” he said.
Presenting the first update of the state’s eHealth strategy, Bolevich noted NSW Health had undergone many changes, including a new minister and secretary, in the months since the release of the 10-year e-health strategy.
The strategy was primarily concerned with maturing NSW Health’s core digital systems to create a consistent, interoperable IT environment.
The department also received the most significant chunk of funding in the recent state budget, with $536 million given to digital infrastructure to support clinical systems and integrated digital patient records.
Bolevich said the department was well on its way to completing the rollout of its electronic medical record by 2020, with eMR2 currently used by 46,000 clincians in 152 hospitals across NSW. Only 26 hospitals remain without access to the system.
The electronic medication management (eMeds) system, which Bolevich described as the “next level of complexity and sophistication in managing all the medication within hospitals”, still has some way to go, however. It is currently live in 17 hospitals.
The eMeds system had originally been planned for 55 hospitals, but with the recent budget funding, NSW Health has the money to expand the rollout of the system across the same number of hospitals as eMR2.
The consolidation of NSW Health data centres into the state’s govDC facilities is also ongoing, with around 70 percent of eHealth NSW’s managed assets having migrated, and the rest expected to transition in the next six months, Bolevich said.
NSW Health has also started to move local health network managed assets to govDC.
All rural hospitals have been connected to the health wide area network, which Bolevich describes as “one of the largest IT infrastructure projects in rural NSW for many years”.
“That has enabled rural NSW to very quickly catch up now with metropolitan hospitals, and enjoy pretty much experience the same level of digital maturity and access to things like eMR, as metropolitan hospitals,” he said.