• Catch issues early, fix them fast – Free trial


    [ad] With GFI Cloud you can easily manage and secure your remote workforce – wherever they are, from wherever you are! The simple IT management platform includes patch management, antivirus, web protection, monitoring and remote control. Get the benefit of endpoint protection with the ease of central management. Start a free trial now.


  • Great articles on other sites
  • RSS Great articles on other sites

  • Enterprise IT, Featured, News - Written by on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 16:49 - 5 Comments

    WA Health told: Hire a goddamn CIO already

    doctor

    news A state parliamentary committee has told Western Australia’s Department of Health to end four years of acting appointments and hire a permanent CIO, in the wake of news that the lack of such an executive role in the department contributed directly to the fiasco at the state’s new Fiona Stanley Hospital, much of which has revolved around poorly delivered IT systems.

    Fiona Stanley (FSH) is a new, 783 bed hospital being build south of the Perth central business district. It is billed as a flagship hospital for Western Australia, and was originally planned to be a paperless facility, featuring the latest in medical and information technology. However, the project has gone off the rails. In June last year Health Minister Kim Hames issued a statement noting that the $2 billion project had run late and would open in October 2014 instead of April, although it was more than 90 percent complete.

    One specific issue which continues to dog the facility’s construction includes the “advanced ICT system” which is being put in place at the facility. The platform is billed as being able to deliver new levels of patient care and convenience by managing administration, patient information, medical records, communications and patient entertainment, all through one central facility. Serco is handling the rollout and part of the IT systems deployment, while British telco BT is conducting the telecommunications rollout. The Department of Health itself also has substantial responsibility for some IT systems.

    In a tense session in mid-February, the State Parliament’s Education and Health Standing Committee grilled current under-treasurer Timothy Marney on the delays and cost blowouts. Marney confirmed that the $2 billion project as a whole had already suffered some $330 million in cost overruns, with about $151 million of that sum being allocated to ICT, including a portion going to another facility in Albany.

    The issues with the setup of the IT systems may also have a potential impact on other facilities, given that it appears that Fiona Stanley was intended to act as a reference site for IT systems at other facilities.

    Last week, the committee handed down its final report (the PDF can be downloaded here) on the organisational response within the Department of Health to the challenges associated with commissioning the Fiona Stanley Hospital. The report explicitly labelled poor project management and governance procedures as the cause for the IT issues experienced during the hospital’s construction. News of the report’s publication was first reported in the technology media by iTNews.

    Several independent reports conducted over the past few years delivered successive warnings about the ongoing failure of the development of the IT systems for Fiona Stanley. In December 2011, the Solomon Report, an independent review of Information and Communications Technology projects across the Department of Health, concluded that the vision for a paperless hospital at Fiona Stanley Hospital was not feasible.

    Separately, an independent review conducted by Fujitsu in December 2012 concluded that there was an unacceptable risk around the ability of the Health Information Network (part of the Department of Health) to deliver the work necessary to enable the provision of a functional and clinically safe Information and Communications Technology solution for Fiona Stanley Hospital by April 2014.

    And a review undertaken by the Health Information Network in December 2012 concluded, with respect to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) elements of the commissioning project, that even with a more pragmatic and less ambitious approach, a delay of between nine and 12 months was required in order to have all core ICT systems functioning and to reduce risk to patients.

    It appears that the then-Director-General of the Department of Health, Kim Snowball, was aware of the issues but did not believe them to be as serious as the various reports alleged.

    “The director general of the Department of Health seemed to be wedded to the scheduled opening date despite receiving various piece of advice that this was not possible,” wrote the committee’s chairman Graham Jacobs in the report. “In his mind, the commissioning project could be rescued by ‘ditching’ ICT components until they arrived at an ICT solution that could be delivered on time.”

    This attitude came despite senior staff involved with the project threatening to resign. The report noted that Nicole Feely, the former Chief Executive of the South Metropolitan Health Service, was so concerned about ICT that she asked Snowball to terminate her contract if he was unwilling to transfer responsibility for Fiona Stanley Hospital ICT.

    The reports may have been taken more seriously by the Department of Health’s leadership if it had had a permanent chief information officer.

    The report published last week pointed out that the department’s previous permanent CIO resigned in March 2010, a date which coincided with the decision to release an ICT “services scope” to shortlisted bidders. Eventually the “digital vision” for Fiona Stanley would be included in the contract signed with Serco for overall construction of the facility.

    “In the four years since March 2010, a series of acting appointments have been made to fill this important position at a time when DoH has been embarking on an ambitious ICT renewal program,” the report added. Some of the CIO responsibilities were handed to Alan Piper on an acting basis, despite the fact that Piper also had substantial responsibilities for other aspects of the project.

    “We are … concerned that DoH’s senior management felt that [IT shared services group the Health Information Network] could be managed through a period of significant investment and change by an individual who was also leading the delivery of the $2 billion hospital infrastructure whilst also leading negotiations with Serco for the $4.3 billion contract to provide facilities management services at the hospital,” the report stated.

    “We are also concerned that DoH has failed to make a permanent appointment to the position for over four years. In our view, such a sustained string of acting appointments is undesirable, particularly when HIN was supposed to be leading its most ambitious and challenging program of work undertaken to date. Dedicated leadership was needed in this period more than ever, yet this was compromised by the failure to appoint a permanent head for HIN.”

    “Indeed, [senior project manager] Mr Giles Nunis told us that leadership within HIN was “left wanting” and “inexperienced” with regard to developing, program managing and implementing the technology component of the commissioning project; with his 20 years of ICT experience, it took him just two days to work out what the problems with FSH were and identify a path forward.”

    The report stated that the Department “must ensure that a permanent appointment be made to the position of chief information officer, Health Information Network, as soon as possible”.

    opinion/analysis
    I have to say, I am absolutely shocked to find that a major IT project within State Government that was contracted without the formal approval of a department chief information officer and that suffered poor project management and governance controls has gone off the rails. Shocked, I tell you! I’m even more shocked that a department without a permanent CIO continually ignored reports (both internal and external) warning of the problems that were occurring with the project.

    I don’t know, perhaps I’m ignorant. But these seem like novice mistakes to me. Do they seem like novice mistakes to anyone else? Who the hell are these people? And how could they possibly get away without appointing a CIO for four years, when they were in the middle of a major IT project development?

    submit to reddit

    5 Comments

    You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

    1. Andrew
      Posted 17/04/2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink |

      External contractors usually , WA Gov likes to contract work out to a few select ICT providers continually and never sets deliverables so ends up getting milked dry from changing scope etc

      • h4rm0n1c
        Posted 17/04/2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink |

        Not just that, but a total lack of planning in the governmental side of things too, it’s usually poorly managed after the deployment is done too.

        • Nexus789
          Posted 17/04/2014 at 5:03 pm | Permalink |

          I think that applies to all governments. Not just WA.

    2. Posted 18/04/2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink |

      Renai. You don’t have much experience dealing with pollies, do you. THIS IS NORMAL. As soon as the current misGovernment is terminated at some election, it will then be in a perfectly brilliant position to blame the incoming misGovernment for everything to do with the failure of even the dunnies in Fiona Stanley.

      I repeat: Relax. ALL IS NORMAL. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG. THE PLAN….

      Gordon.

    3. AJT
      Posted 28/04/2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink |

      Andrew is correct, it is standard practise to pay contractors to fix their own mistakes until the money runs out. Then the mothball the project ready for the next round of incompetence whenever the money becomes available.




    Get our 'Best of the Week' newsletter on Fridays

    Just the most important stories, one email a week.

    Email address:


  • Most Popular Content

  • Enterprise IT stories

    • Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp facepalm2

      If you have even a skin deep awareness of the structure of Australia’s superannuation industry, you’ll be aware that much of the underlying infrastructure used by many of the nation’s major funds — AustralianSuper, CBus, HESTA and more — is provided by a centralised group, Superpartners. One of the group’s main projects in recent years has been to dramatically update and modernise its IT platform — its version of a core banking platform overhaul. Unfortunately, as was revealed in November, the $250 million project has not precisely been going well, and the Financial Review last week reported that Superpartners is actually close to turfing it altogether and going back to the drawing board.

    • Qld’s Grant joins analyst firm IBRS peter-grant

      This week it emerged that Peter Grant, the two-time former Queensland Whole of Government CIO (pictured), has joined well-regarded analyst firm Intelligent Business Research Services (IBRS). We’ve long had a high regard for IBRS, and so it’s fantastic to see such an experienced executive join its ranks.

    • Westpac dumps desk phones for Samsung Android mobiles samsung-galaxy-ace-3

      The era of troublesome desk phones tied to physical locations is gradually coming to an end in many workplaces, with mobile phones becoming increasingly popular as organisations’ main method of voice telecommunications. But some groups are more advanced than others when it comes to adoption of the trend. One of those is Westpac.

    • Ministers’ cloud approval lasted just a year reverse

      Remember how twelve months ago, the Federal Government released a new cloud computing security and privacy directive which required departments and agencies to explicitly acquire the approval of the Attorney-General and the relevant portfolio minister before government data containing private information could be stored in offshore facilities? Remember how the policy was strongly criticised by Microsoft, Government CIOs and Delimiter? Well, it looks like the policy is about to be reversed.

    • WA Govt can’t fund school IT upgrades oops key

      In news from The Department of Disturbing Facts, iTNews revealed late last week that Western Australia’s Department of Education has run out of money halfway through the deployment of new fundamental IT infrastructure to the state’s schools.

    • Turnbull outlines Govt ICT vision turnbull-5

      Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has published an extensive article arguing that the Federal Government needed to do a better job of connecting with Australians via digital channels and that public sector IT projects needn’t cost the huge amounts that some have in the past.

    • NZ Govt pushes hard into cloud zealand

      New Zealand’s national Government announced a whole of government contract this morning for what it terms ‘Office Productivity as a Service’ services. This includes email and calendaring services, as well as file-sharing, mobility, instant messaging and collaboration services. The contract complements two existing contracts — Desktop as a Service and Enterprise Content Management as a Service.

    • CommBank reveals Harte’s replacement whiteing

      The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has promoted an internal executive who joined the bank in September after a lengthy career at petroleum giant VP and IT services group Accenture to replace its outgoing chief information officer Michael Harte, who announced in early May that he would leave the bank.

    • Jeff Smith quits Suncorp for IBM jeffsmith4

      Second-tier Australian bank and financial services group Suncorp today announced that its long-serving top technology executive Jeff Smith would leave to take up a senior role with IBM in the United States, in an announcement which marks the end of an era for the nation’s banking IT sector.

    • Small business missing the mobile, social, cloud revolution iphone-stock

      Most companies that live and breathe the online revolution are not tech startups, but smart smaller firms that use online tools to run their core business better: to cut costs, reach customers and suppliers, innovate and get more control. Many others, however, are falling behind, according to a new Grattan Institute discussion paper.

  • Blog, Enterprise IT - Jul 5, 2014 13:53 - 0 Comments

    Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp

    More In Enterprise IT


    Blog, Telecommunications - Jul 5, 2014 12:12 - 0 Comments

    What should the ACCC’s role be in guiding infrastructure spending?

    More In Telecommunications


    Analysis, Industry, Internet - Jun 23, 2014 10:33 - 0 Comments

    ‘Google Schmoogle’ – how Yellow Pages got it so wrong

    More In Industry


    Blog, Digital Rights - Jun 30, 2014 22:24 - 0 Comments

    Will Netflix launch in Australia, or not?

    More In Digital Rights