WA Health cuts IT spend by $77 million

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WA Health cuts IT spend by $77 million

Targeted by government savings drive.

Western Australia’s health department trimmed its ICT spend by some $77 million in 2012-13, compared to its spend the previous year, as it worked to meet centrally set savings targets.

In both 2010-11 and 2011-12 the department reported spending of $326.2 million on ICT, but its most recent annual report showed that this fell to $248.5 million in the last full financial year.

The reduction is in accordance with a whole-of-government capital works review program launched ahead of the 2012 budget.

The review program is targeting $1.8 billion in public sector savings in the five years to 2015-16, by deferring capital expenditure on a number of infrastructure projects.

“These measures aim to contain general government expense growth and deliver operating surpluses and affordable levels of net debt,” explained the 2012-13 budget papers.

According to acting CIO Dr Andy Robertson, the IT team has been able to shuffle some of its funding to ensure that ends still met.

"While there were reductions in the estimated total costs in 12/13, WA Health was able reprioritise its budget, by deferring some projects and reducing the scope on others," he told iTnews.

This allowed the organisation to focus on its main ICT capital projects at Albany Health Campus, which opened in May 2013, and Fiona Stanley Hospital, which is due to open progressively from October 2014.

However the department will still work towards implementing its ehealth program and equipping its new hospitals.

WA Health began work on its ten-year ehealth strategy in 2006, with the aim of establishing “a modern, integrated platform to facilitate the delivery of world-class health services”.

As part of the program it has begun rolling-out its patient administration solution WebPAS, which is already in four metropolitan hospitals and hospitals in the greater southern region. It has also implemented its clinical management system (iCM) and a new identity and access management system into the new Albany Hospital.

In 2013-14 it is due to finish work on a $4.6 million clinical incident management system.

Until October next year it the IT team will be busy finishing the IT set up for the $1.6 billion Fiona Stanley Hospital. The opening date for the new facility was pushed back by 6 months earlier this year due to the “scale and complexity of the project, particularly with the advanced information and communication technology system, ” health minister Kim Hames told PerthNow.

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