Qld Health’s IT woes just keep coming


blog An interesting article published here by the Courier-Mail just before Christmas lays out yet another IT-related headache being suffered at the moment by Queensland’s favourite technological minefield, Queensland Health. The newspaper tells a tale of woe and completely unsupported IT systems:

“The system, known as RecFind, is charged with storing high-level records, including correspondence between the Health Minister and director-general … A leaked memo details a litany of “very high risks” within the system, which is no longer compatible with modern software and would “most likely” fail if other IT systems such as email were upgraded beyond 2003 releases.”

Nothing would truly surprise me about Queensland Health at this point, following its disastrous and ongoing payroll issues. However, this article does highlight just how deep the rot goes. Australian governments urgently need to get a handle on their technology operations. A priority for Queensland Health should be examining who made the decision not to upgrade any of this software and holding them accountable for it. IT systems are not static; they need to be kept up to date, or else they will cause problems down the track.

This much, at least, should be obvious following several decades’ worth of global experience regarding the matter.


  1. The RecFind is a straight database of numbers correlating to hard copy files. The real crime here is not that RecFind has not been upgraded but the QH have failed on numerous occasions to replace an archaic folder tracking system with a fully functioning Document Management System. The project to undertake this has been canned 3 times despite the findings from the inquiry into Jayat Patel and the move from paper to electronic documentation. The “rot” is far more extensive than is being discussed and is a long standing issue with at least 10 years of IT mismanagement to blame, not just the last 3.

  2. I’ve read a few of your stories on Queensland Health Renai, and none of them provided much insight beyond “something smells”. I am not even sure something does smell in this case, it may be just a Courier Mail beat up.

    I think this 200 word comment on the Courier Mail story provides more background on what is going on in Queensland than the 10’s of thousands of words journalists have written on the subject:

    @ALittleGoogleisGood of Ex QH IT Consultant Posted at 1:52 PM December 23, 2011

    “Just Googled Recfind. It is still an active product for sale. It is the version that is out of date, not the product. I think you will find that replacement Email and Records Management systems were to be delivered as part of whole of govt systems standardisation initiative by Dept of Works Shared Services, the crew who did the hands on botching of payroll (QH failed the testing and governance by letting it release and after that other Depts and Govt suddenly lost interest!).”

    [Editor’s note: Hi Russell, Renai here. I’ve deleted the majority of this comment as it is likely a copyright breach. You can’t just copy and paste comments en-masse from the Courier-Mail’s site onto Delimiter. My apologies.]

  3. My company ever so fortunately threw out RecFind and replaced it with Sharepoint

    It (RecFind) was a commonly rephrased around our whole site to Rec-Lose!!

    The staff person responsible for Rec-Lose used to attend Doc Management conferences and was so embarrassed when asked what system the company ran – What that old bit of junk was the common reply!

    Charlotte Bakers’ comments I can attest to as I once used to work for a government owned corporation and IT systems were never given much priority to upgrade.

    Some Queensland government departments are cobbled by hamfisted managers in key roles who never can make the hard decisions when it counts! This case of the QH RecFind needs to be run as a case study of how NOT to manage a companies important knowledge management systems.

    This hopeless band of bureaucrats running QH needs a whole clean sweep to get rid of the lot – rotten to the core from years of mismanagement merry – go round. Perhaps Campbell Newman is just the bloke to get in with the hatchet and chop it back to the grain! Not before time … and for goodness sake make QH pay the nursing and other medical staff correctly whilst your at it Campbell!!

  4. Anyone who has used the latest version of RecFind will attest that the functionality far surpasses anything that share point has to offer – Ijust hope you will to be able to find what you are looking for 5 to 10 years down the track or you probably think it will be some one else’s problem by then!
    The product may not have the sex appeal of share point but will hold its own in what it was designed to do Store and find information – while the older version was limited to mainly keyword searches the updated version allows full text searching on any field

    Suggest anyone who wants a robust flexible EDRMS certainly investigates RecFind version 6

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