Qld Health CIO appoints lieutenants


Queensland Health chief information officer Ray Brown has poached several senior Queensland IT executives to help him lead the department’s IT division.

The CIO confirmed in an emailed statement yesterday that Qld Department of Premier and Cabinet CIO Phil Woolley and Brisbane Council manager of ICT Strategy Susan Heath have been appointed to roles within Brown’s intimate team.

Woolley, who now holds the position of executive director, Information Division, will work closely with clinicians and corporate staff “to advance patient outcomes arising from ongoing advancements in technology service delivery”, said Brown.
The executive has also in the past held a senior position in the Queensland Government Chief Information Office — director of ICT Industry Liaison.

Heath’s role is to strengthen Queensland Health’s strategic approach to ICT investment, governance and planning, and to “continue to mature” the department’s ICT architecture to support e-health and a range of whole of government initiatives, said Brown.

Queensland Health has had a rocky road when it comes to keeping IT executives over the past few years. Brown was appointed to be the department’s permanent CIO in September last year, after holding the position for almost a year in an acting capacity.

His predecessor, Richard Ashby, held the role only for a short period of time, after the department terminated the contract of then-CIO Paul Summergreene in July 2008.

It has also suffered a high-profile incident in one of its datacentres that knocked out a number of health applications.

This week, Brown said the priority of his Information Division was still to support clinicians to deliver better patient outcomes through the use of electronic health technology.

“Factors like an ageing and fast-growing population, an increase in chronic disease and a global shortage of health professionals place increased pressure on Queensland Health to do more with less,” he said. “The Information division is in an ideal position to ensure Queensland Health uses modern communications technology to provide patients with improved access to health care.”

In addition to its e-health program, the department is currently working on a number of other IT projects:

  • The move to electronic discharge summary systems that mean that patients’ GPs electronically receive information about their treatment after they are discharged
  • The implementation of a radiology information system that can transfer diagnostic images taken in rural and remote locations back to specialists
  • The transition to digital mammography equipment for breast screening

Image credit: Wojciech Wolak, royalty free