blog It’s getting pretty hard to overestimate just serious the problems being caused by problematic IT platforms in major Victorian institutions are. Late last month, after all, the Victorian Auditor-General revealed that the Department of Human Services’s client information system was putting children’s safety at risk, and the month before that, Victoria Police partially blamed the failures of a policing IT system for an 11-year-old boy’s death. But let’s continue with the litany of disasters, shall we. Perhaps at some point, someone will take these issues seriously. This month’s issue is at the Austin Hospital and Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne. The Age tells us (we recommend you click here for the full article):
“Staff at one of Melbourne’s largest hospital networks say a new computerised booking system has wreaked havoc over the past year, causing untold distress for vulnerable people and putting lives at risk. “Numerous patients have suffered, there is no question of that, we just hope no one has died,” said the staff member who did not want to be named.”
At this point, with reports of problematic IT systems (especially in Victoria) having the potential to cause actual risks to life or people’s health, you have to start questioning at what point Australia will start taking the governance process involving the development of these sorts of IT platforms seriously. You wouldn’t build any sort of major building without proper architectural plans and very solid underlying foundations. But it appears that new IT systems, which are easily as complex as any building work, continue to be rolled out in Australia in what I can only describe as a neglectful manner.
The disturbing thing is that we don’t seem to be learning from our mistakes. As a nation, we keep on repeating the same cycles when it comes to poor governance of IT projects. One wonders what it will take for the cycle to change. Another IT disaster of the scale which occurred during Queensland Health’s payroll systems replacement, perhaps? Or three?