Qld eHealth strategy to create 1000 jobs, minister says

$300m for ICT infrastructure

Queensland's new eHealth investment strategy will create around 1000 jobs, according to the state's health minister, Cameron Dick.

The strategy (PDF) outlines five key top-line investment priorities for the state's health system:

• Investing in ICT infrastructure that can "support contemporary systems and increase the mobility of the workforce";

• A contemporary desktop environment for end users;

• A secure environment for exchanging information and images, including information interoperability with other systems;

• replacing enterprise systems, including those for patient administration, finance and laboratories; and

• investing in electronic medical records and enabling digital hospitals.

"The Strategy is the mechanism through which Queensland Health identified the need for a significant investment in ICT—more then [sic] a billion dollars—to support healthcare delivery in Queensland," the document states.

"The Strategy provides greater health system context around Queensland Health’s proposed investment in ICT and outlines our plan for investing in the digital future of Queensland Health. In Queensland there is a growing demand for, and cost in supply of, health services."

"We need flexible, cooperative solutions that share the risk of development and implementation with private sector," Dick said in remarks prepared for a CEDA lunch.

"I want to place on record an open invitation to industry to come to us with options and solutions to some of our complex problems."

The 20-year strategy envisages spending $300 million on ICT infrastructure, $100 million on business systems, $730 million on clinical systems, and $130 million on the "digital future" of the health system — information interoperability and eHealth foundations.

Underinvestment in ICT and poor ICT project delivery performance have resulted in out "out-of-date infrastructure, ageing technology, and highly customised and heavily integrated bespoke systems," the document states.

"These are costly to replace and difficult to sustainably support. Currently, inconsistency in the network speed and connectivity across the regions, coupled to ageing infrastructure and standard operating environments, impedes the ability to innovate and improve services. The uptake of commonlyaccepted peripheral devices is also limited."

Queensland Health's billion dollar payroll system disaster is still the subject of legal action, with IBM, which was contracted to implement the system, seeking to prevent the state government from suing the company.

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