Shock: Queensland Health to get IT review



blog From the department of why the hell haven’t they already done this already comes the news that that bastion of IT systems stability and competence Queensland Health (yup, the very same, you’d be surprised how often it pops up in Delimiter stories) will undertake a review into its IT procurement practices and IT governance arrangements. The department’s new blueprint as put together by Queensland’s new LNP administration states (as first reported by iTNews):

“To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system and to ensure patients have the best available treatment, clinicians need access to patient information that is accurate and timely.

Today the information and communications technology (ICT) systems of Queensland Health are inadequate to fully support clinicians and help patients. In the past, systems have been created or purchased with little regard to value for money and measureable benefits for clinicians and patients.

ICT systems need to be improved and integrated to provide the government with value for money and benefits that are clearly articulated. New ICT projects will be closely scrutinised and managed. Program governance, monitoring, oversight and benefit realisation for major ICT projects will be strengthened. But ICT systems will not be funded unless clear benefits can be articulated and measured.

The obligation of Queensland Health is to deliver the best ICT infrastructure in a highly competitive environment where uneven technology and problematic linkages to other jurisdictions are among current difficulties. The core challenge is to advance reliable support for our staff and our patients through a trusted and reputable integrated system.

A review of the department’s Health Services Information Agency to ensure that procurement processes are open and transparent and the most appropriate governance arrangements are in place has commenced.”

Wait, you mean to say that the department which bungled its payroll systems overhaul so badly that it may take an extra $837 million to fix it and caused a royal commission to be held into it, is still ploughing millions into manual work-arounds to pay its staff, also bungled its patient administration system upgrade to the tune of $439 million and even implemented an out of date version of Microsoft Exchange after the new version had already come out … THAT department, will be the subject of a review into its IT department? Well blow me down. I can’t imagine why anyone would possibly think there was anything wrong there.


  1. “procurement processes are open and transparent and the most appropriate governance arrangements are in place has commenced”


    “Outsource all of the things”

  2. Has the CIO been removed? And has all his so called “strategic advisors” and all the in crowd of lieutenants from police, TNR.etc been removed? Or are they still there? Good question. Who made decisions re procurement in recent years? Who devised the now infamous project mango? Good Question! Who made decisions re Exchange – are they still there? ohh they are ? well nothing has changed then. Poor QLD taxer payers – you suckers.

    Well blow me down lets outsource them all then.Pity the Poor QLD Tax payers for the next decade – all the global outsourcers must be licking their lips as they will eat you up cause if you cannt manage in an insourced arrangement how the hell are you going to manage an outsourced one – good luck with that!

  3. The only program Qld Health has that actually works is the DOS based HBCIS which is over 20 years old. I dread the day our IT department decides to replace it. The payroll system is only one of many programs we have that dont work, and that the government paid a ridiculous amount of money for.

  4. Ness – This was implemented in the late 1980s/early 1990s. HBCIS is well embedded into Queensland Health and if you think the payroll replacement was a catastrophe you havent seen anythiing yet – as HBICS has some 150-170 instances and over time has been highly customised and lots of smaller systems are feed by this core system.

    Every DG over the last decade have had this on their plate – the ehealth progam of 2007 had as its core objective the replacement of HBCIS – however, this has not occurred and QH continues to extend the maintenance contract.

    QH sought to procure Cerner as a Clinical Information System via the very messy short cut (internally known as project mango). Renai it would be worth seeking an answer as to how much or little of Cerner was actually implemented in the last 2-3. Has PAH and RBH implemented anything (of substance) in addition to their pre-existing modules of Cerner in the last 2-3 years. The 2 most recent auditor generals report indicates poor ehealth governance /must do better and lack of benefits realisation as significant issues.

    The trackhealth implementation of the mid 2000s ended in failure and in court too.

    this all has a long way to run. We will be hearing of IT failures in QH for years to come. Perhaps even larger as I agree if you can not manage insourced arrangements will outsourcing solve the issues – I suspect not.

  5. I am conducting research into QH payroll. The issue here is congruence. QH has always had lofty goals and ideals but the execution has been as shown by the many comments.

    If anyone would like to assist me with my research I can be contacted at

  6. Sorry, some stuff got deleted from the first post. I was just trying to say that what QH says and what they do are two entirely different things. But the signs are always there. For example, Tony Morris came across a risk management matrix that included risk assessments. Damage to the departments reputation was considered higher impact than death of patients.

    What I am looking at is the link between the culture and success of their IT. Lots of evidence of culture of bullying and intimidation vs lack of success. Stories of staff/consultants being ignored by senior managers etc.

  7. Normally the researcher at least makes themselves publically known for anon or useful info to be provided. I suspect you wont get much of a response – a generic emal may not build trust sufficient for people to take notice.

    Suggest you start with the multitude of project failure literature and read some of the audit materials – basically everything that could have gone wrong did but not only that everything that did go wrong was entirely preventable.

    You could also read about the NHS IT failures and just change the names to NEHTA and various state depts.

    The question is why? If you have ever worked on such projects you will understand – and conclude hubris/greed/ vested interest play their part.

    good luck with it.

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