HealthSMART to roll out e-health smartcards

Part of $360 million Victorian e-health initiative

Victoria's Department of Health will shortly commence implementing an e-health smartcard to manage access to key Victorian public health sector (VPHS) applications via a new single sign-on portal, as part of its whole-of-health ICT strategy, HealthSMART.

The two-factor authentication system will consist of a smartcard management system card printers, contact smartcard readers, a hardware security module, middleware and mini-driver for network authentication, and an application for performing certificate and PIN management functions.

The smartcard management system will be hosted and supported by HealthSMART at its own data centres. The smartcards themselves will be rolled out in a phased process across the VPHS which will see 5000 cards issued in year one, 30,000 in year two and 50,000 in year three for a total of 85,000 cards.

The project will begin with an initial deployment of smartcards at 10 health agencies, followed by deployment at up to 25 metropolitan and five regional VPHS agencies.

The Victorian Department of Health (DH) will also deploy smartcards for two-factor authentication. Once authenticated, DH users will be given access to the HealthSMART network and Clinical System.

The $360 million HealthSMART program is aimed at modernising and replacing ICT systems throughout the VPHS and includes the creation of a common technology infrastructure – as a means of reducing ICT service delivery cost — as a major element.

According to Victorian Government documents, a common technology infrastructure would achieve this by making authorised access to computer systems by sector staff easier and more secure to use and manage.

“It will allow greater collaboration within and between health agencies and HealthSMART, and it will reduce ICT costs by removing duplication and achieving economies of scale for some ICT services common across agencies,” the documents read.

“CTI will deliver centralised common ICT services to the VPHS, leveraging existing HealthSMART and sector infrastructure and procurement arrangements, taking advantage of the wide ranges of skills and expertise available in the sector, and extending the effective sector-inclusive governance arrangements introduced by HealthSMART.”

Earlier this month, the Department of Health announced HealthSMART had grown from eight to 1000 servers in four years as it geared up to provide application services to some 140,000 end-users across the state, including the occasional iPad-wielding clinician.

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