Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Queensland Health Feels There A Few Major Risks to Ongoing IT Service Delivery For Their Health System. Wants More Money!

The following release was sent to me today.
Press Release
Mark McArdle MP
Shadow Minister for Health
LNP Member for Caloundra
7 September 2011

Labor’s health IT bungles spread from payroll to patients

The Bligh Labor Government’s health IT bungling has spread from payroll to patients and could cost another half a billion dollars to fix, a secret Queensland Health ‘risk report card’ obtained by the State Opposition reveals.
In State Parliament today, the LNP tabled a leaked extract from Queensland Health’s ICT Portfolio Plan 2011 – 15 which identified IT “risks” resulting in “major” to “extreme” consequences for patients and the State Government.
These included:
·         That the discontinuation of the current Patient Administration System could result in “the inability to register, admit, transfer and discharge patients as well as effectively manage clinical and financial patient information”.
·         The “inability to provide quality information to support quality of care”.
·         “Insufficient funding for business-as-usual activities and change programs” including the new local hospital networks being established under Federal health reforms and the health payroll overhaul recommended by the Ernst and Young report.
·         “Inability to acquire suitable workforce capability”.
Labor’s secret health IT risk report card reveals it would cost $438.8 million to upgrade or replace the current Patient Administration System, and work needs to start from July 2012.
This is on top of the $307 million budgeted for the eHealth Strategy and the $220 million needed to fix the health payroll debacle.
LNP Shadow Minister for Health Mark McArdle said Labor’s secret risk report card was a damning assessment of Labor’s chaotic management of Queensland Health’s IT program.
“The systemic leadership and management failures of the health payroll system have spread to the entire Queensland Health IT program under Health Minister Geoff Wilson,” said Mr McArdle.
“Put simply, patients’ lives could be put at risk because Labor has failed to properly plan and deliver health IT infrastructure.
“Hundreds of millions of dollars have been wasted fixing up Labor’s health payroll debacle, and now we learn hundreds of millions of dollars more will need to be spent to ensure patients’ records are accurate.”
Mr McArdle said the report would also spark fears Queensland could miss out on Federal funding because the State Government was not fully prepared for the changes required under the National Health and Hospital Networks Program.
“This damning report reveals that the Bligh Labor Government is struggling to ensure that the new hospital networks have the IT infrastructure in place in time, and that the health payroll overhaul actually happens,” Mr McArdle said.
“The Queensland Health IT debacles that started under Paul Lucas continue under Health Minister Geoff Wilson, who has now been in the job 200 days.
“Both Paul Lucas and Geoff Wilson are culpable for Queensland Health’s multiple IT deficiencies.
“Every Queenslander has the right to ask when will this tired, 20 year old Labor Government finally fix their bungled IT systems?
“The LNP will save you money and deliver more by getting action on the basics and cutting waste. We’ll forward plan, not live for the moment.
----- End Quote:
I have seen the extract from “ Commercial in Confidence - ICT Portfolio Plan 2011-15 Part A v1.0 FINAL” Page 22 of 83 on which the quotes in this release are based and what is quoted is mild. Clearly some worried Queensland Health Staff are wanting a great deal more money to operate and are using some interesting tactics to try and raise interest! Go for it is all I can say - but spend sensibly. I note in the part I saw the PCEHR does not get a gurnsey!
Fun stuff and I look forward to someone sending me the full report!


Anonymous said...

Any idea whose software is used in the "current Patient Administration System"?

Anonymous said...

HBSCIS - it is (I believe) the oldest PAS in operation in Australia.

Replacing the PAS and doing some basic linkage work would be a massive step forward for Qld.

I always get the feeling Qld Health pays too much attention to the razzle dazzle elements and not enough on the basics.


Jim Cocks said...

As a part of the team that evaluated the first implementation of the HBCIS PAS system at Royal Brisbane and Gold Coast Hospitals back in 1992 I'm amazed that it's still being used twenty years later - the sad and aborted Trak Health project was supposed to replace it I believe. The full story of how McDonnell Douglas HOMER became QH HBCIS will make an interesting piece of bureaucratic ancient history one day.

Dr David More MB PhD FACHI said...


Write the history down and post before we all die out!


Anonymous said...

The tender for QH HBCIS was in 1998 not 1992.

...... and the most amazing part of it I believe was when the evaluation team arrived at the Austin MDIS reference site to evaluate how HOMER was being used in a real live environment. They were greeted by a small team of MDIS personnel dressed up as doctors, nurses and clerical staff and taken selectively around some wards to see how it all worked with a real live demonstration by 'ward staff' who were also MDIS personnel!!!!! Slick trick.

Jim Cocks said...

Hi Anon Sunday, September 11, 2011 9:16:00 AM.

I haven't got the original report to hand (it's in one of many boxes of papers in the garage) - however, I really did work for QH between Jan 92 and August 92 on that project - at that stage the Herston complex and GC Hospital were the only two live sites. QH had purchased HOMER and established a fully staffed HBCIS unit which was located near the Exhibition Grounds on the Herston side.

DG for QH at the time was Peter Stanley, our IPB consultant was Neil Thelander, and the head of IPB was David Barbagello as I recall.

I think iSoft took over the maintenance of HBCIS in March 2001. There's a Qld Hansard response to a question regarding HBCIS as below:

(1) The computerised pharmacy inventory system
(HOMER) is functioning satisfactorily.
(2) Any costs were absorbed by the vendor as part
of their obligation for software maintenance.
(3) Hospitals: Hospital Based Corporate Information
Systems (HBCIS) have been or will be installed in 70
hospitals by June 1995.
Community: PC based community health information
software developed by Queensland Health has been
installed in over 60 centres.
Regional Offices: PC based support systems
functioning on a network are installed in most
regional offices.
(4) In February 1994 the Government endorsed a
$50 million Capital Works Information Support
Program for Queensland Health for three years
starting in 1993/94, as part of the overall Capital
Works program.
The current Information Strategic Plan and annual IT
operational plan have been endorsed by the
Information Policy Board. Senior management are
currently leading the annual renewal of these plans.
(5) The details sought by the question are stated in
the IT Operational Plan and the supporting project
plans. These detailed plans contain information
which is commercial in confidence and relates to
existing and planned vendor commitments which
may be damaged by public release. Consequently, I
am not willing to table these plans.
The base 1993 Information Strategic Plan was
updated by the 1994 Information Strategic Plan. The
1995 update will be available in June/July."

This indicates to me that the HBCIS system was being actively implemented at least by 93-95.

None of the above is to suggest that the poor old thing is not well over it's use-by date and needs replacing as a matter of urgency. One has to wonder what their archiving people are doing with 20 years worth of patient data for the entire State!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim - yes you are correct - my apologies - I think the HBISCUS tender was well underway late 1980's. I sat in on some of the tender presentations - probably around 1988 or 1989.

Anonymous said...

THe QH tender was awarded in 1989 from my memory. I was on the bid team for another vendor. I also recall iSoft announcing the end of life of Homer/HBCIS in an attempt to replace it with iPM. No one took the end of life serious though, at least the state governments never met the deadlines. The end of life has been around since early 2000's ( ). So why this is a new concern surprises me. Queensland has also known for 10 years that this system is past its useful life, and has not paid full attention to this. So I look forward to the tender!