Qld Health asks for $227m to replace patient admin system

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Qld Health asks for $227m to replace patient admin system

Prepares to kick off mammoth IT project.

Queensland Health has put a tentative $226.6 million price tag on the replacement of its ageing patient administration system, and wants confirmation from the state government that the money will be provided quickly so the work can kick off in haste.

The hospital-based corporate information system (HBCIS) is used in all the state’s public hospitals to keep track of patients and their treatments. It is one of the biggest and most mission critical systems operating in the Queensland Health system.

The health department had previously placed the replacement cost at closer to $440 million.

Queensland parliament’s health and community services committee looked into the state of HBCIS in 2014 and found it would likely take around seven years to replace the system, which drops out of vendor support at the end of this year.

The iSoft software - which was installed in 1991 - is likely to reach its 30th birthday before it is fully decommissioned.

The department submitted a business case for the overhaul to government in January. A spokesman for Health Minister Cameron Dick today confirmed the “indicative cost” of bringing a new and modern patient administration capability was $226.6 million.

So far however, only $3.85 million has been forthcoming from government coffers for ‘gate one’ preparatory work, such as identifying possible solutions, procurement strategies and further scoping and costing the project.

“Funding for the full cost of the project has not been sought as additional scoping work and governance is required before it can proceed,” the spokesman said.

This first stage work is due to be completed by the end of 2015-16.

The health department has insisted in the past that a series of hardware upgrades and a stabilisation program will see HBCIS through to at least 2019. It has arranged extended support until 2023.

The project - once fully funded - will test the mettle of Queensland Health’s IT teams, whose reputation has struggled in the wake of the disastrous replacement of the health system’s payroll solution.

Last week, Dick acknowledged Queensland Health “had its credibility in relation to the delivery of complex IT projects severely damaged” as a result.

The newly reformed IT delivery group will have a big opportunity to redeem its reputation, however, as it embarks on a new, $1.26 billion program of e-health work unveiled by the minister.

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