Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And Now For A Little Government Procurement Fun. You Be The Judge!

The following report appeared today in the Courier Mail.

Opposition claim of IT contract bias

QUEENSLAND Health bureaucrats ordered changes to an independent report to guarantee an IT supplier a multi-million-dollar government contract, the State Opposition says.
The troubled department last night vehemently rejected allegations it deliberately changed the report's scope to favour software company Cerner Corporation.
Queensland Health is now in negotiations with the US-based Cerner to build a $243 million electronic medical records system in Queensland hospitals.
Documents obtained by the Opposition under Right to Information laws show a public servant asked that extra information be added to the findings of a 2009 external investigation into potential suppliers.
Opposition health spokesman Mark McArdle said the emails, marked "confidential", asked that Cerner be highlighted as the only company with systems already in Australia. He said the change may have unfairly excluded other potential competitors.
It is the latest in a series of IT headaches for the Bligh Government, which is still battling to fix its disastrous health payroll system and was this month embarrassed by leaked reports detailing risks within other health technology projects.
In a statement last night, chief information officer Ray Brown rejected the latest claims as "categorically untrue".
He said an independent probity adviser had reviewed the process and found no reason to believe Cerner was treated with undue bias.
More here:
For your reading pleasure we are lucky to have the actual e-mails - so readers can be the judge if there was any issue with what was apparently going on behind the scenes.
The e-mails were made available under FOI so they are free for all to browse:
It will be interesting to see how this now plays out. Regular readers will know that implementations in NSW and Victoria of Cerner software have not been problem free but it also needs to be recognised that Cerner globally has been very successful in delivering working hospital systems elsewhere. Where any blame lies for issues in particular implementations is really not something that can be known without individual case analysis!
My suspicion, on the basis of the obvious evidence of a large number of successful implementations globally is that there is a need to closely examine how large scale, state-wide implementations are undertaken in Australia to see if there are major problems with that approach.
Others have also suggested that there are some software flaws and certainly few systems of the complexity of the Cerner product are likely to be ‘bug free’!
I keep an open mind but suspect there are a mix of causes!
We can all watch what happens now with interest!

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