Assignment Review on: Current ICT Strategy
New South Wales Health ( NSW Health) play the role of supporting the statutory and executive functions of the New South Wales Minister for Health and Medical Research and at the same time monitoring the performance of NSW public health system is what NSW Health does (NSW Government Health : About us, n.d.).
For the coming five years the ICT goal which NSW has identified for sustainable future in the area of public health. It will do so by making sure that the basic system requirements which are needed to run a high quality healthcare system in an effective manner is right in place (Information & Communication Technology (ICT) Strategic Plan:2006-2011, 2008).
There are many challenges which NSW Health is facing like:
- Increased demand for services forms the ageing population.
- Shortage of staff in critical areas and retaining and getting new staff.
- Informed consumers have higher expectations to be fulfilled.
- Financial sustainability of the current health system is at stake.
- Improving the health results especially in the rural areas, for Aboriginal people, homeless people etc.
- Advanced health status amongst the population when the chronic diseases are rising.
- With increased demands the safety and quality standards are a big opposition.
The Total Asset management plan along with the Results and Services Plan have found a framework based upon which the NSW Health will decide its seven key directions for strategic planning and tackle all the above mentioned challenges. The main 7 strategic directions are listed below:
- Prevention should be made everyone’s business.
- Continuous care in the community and making primary health stronger.
- Choosing smart options regarding costing as well as benefits of health and support services for health.
- Be prepared to tackle new risks and utilise new opportunities.
- Design enhanced and better experience for the people who use the health services.
- Creating partnerships both regional and others for health.
- Generate a work force which is sustainable.
With the focus to connect huge databases of information and technology along with giving full support to corporate and clinical reforms in NSW Health, it established Integrated Clinical Information Program (ICIP) in 2000. The main objective of ICIP is to handle the issues like:
- Too High Integration Cost and to gain comprehensive management or clinical information is tougher.
- Presence of Information gaps and overlapping information’s.
- 29 Systems supporting the basic HR Functions
- Just Duplication of efforts and barely any reuse of technological assets.
- Various kinds of clinical specialty systems which make the patients journey to be managed in ineffective and difficult manner and even the clinicians are unable to get a single view of patient’s journey in an easy manner.
- Systems have limited support and very old, many are more than 20 years old.
That is why the ICT Strategy of NSW Health has been realigned with the focal point reform strategies of Corporate Shared Services and Clinical Services Redesign. Below listed five major ICT strategies have been developed to support the strategic priorities of NSW Health:
- Clinical Systems Strategy
- Business Information Strategy
- Corporate Systems Strategy
- Sustainable Infrastructures Strategy and
- Whole of Government ICT strategic Directions.
2. Current ICT Strategy
2.1 Current ICT Strategic Plan
Over the period of 2006-2011 the below listed foundational programs will be implemented as per the current strategic plan:
- Electronic Health Records Pilot: It will be implemented as well as evaluated to help out the patient’s journey across community based, private or acute health services.
- Electronic medical Records: Implemented across the states as a major clinical reform enabler who will be possible using Clinical Services Redesign and expanded safety as well as quality. This will give the clinicians the benefits like:
- Community Health Systems: It will improve patient management in chronic diseases, community, mental health patients and very old aged patients for NSW.
- Patient Administration System: Leads to more effectual and efficient administration, scheduling and patient management which is the foundation for core clinical systems.
- Radiology Information Systems or Picture Archival Communications System: Implementation of centralised storage as well as image server in order to help out new service delivery model while handling the critical workforce issues also.
- State Unique Patient Identification System: Linking all the records across NSW which will improve and make the coordination of care better, enhance the capacity for public health information and strengthen the Electronic Health Records.
- Corporate Systems: A combination of Human Resources, e-Procurement, Finance, Billing and Asset Management in order to fortify the Corporate Shared Services reform and help in resourcing and management of clinical services.
- Infrastructure Strategy: It will help in addressing the immediate and key requirements which are needed to help out the major programs during the work. It covers:
– Short-term needs like replacement of older telecommunications network equipments or data centre hardware etc.
– Long term requirements like extension of management processes which support the main ICT strategy.
- Business Information Strategy: Assessing the needs for substituting the data business information systems and warehouses so that timely , appropriate, accurate and accessible information is being given for supporting the decision making of clinicians, the executives and the health service managers.
The ICT strategy aims at delivering the following results:
– Informed care which should be patient focussed
– Enhanced quality of service and safety of patients
– Information which can support better and effectual health management
– Highly skilled workforce to be developed
– Enhanced collaboration between various agencies within NSW
– Significant savings as reduced training and infrastructural costs.
3. Future Recommendations
By the year 2011 NSW wants to implement the corporate systems and clinical core all across the NSW Health so that the patient’s journey could be supported through the health system. It also aims at providing the management information’s and corporate systems which are required in order to manage the health systems in efficient manner. Through the implementation of ICT strategy at the five levels which are listed below the expected benefits could be delivered.
· Benefits for Individual patients and clinicians
The main aim of the strategy is to achieve the ‘single view of the patient’ which means that a full understanding of the patients care requirements and medical history can be accessed by each and every clinician involved in the care of patient. The patient gets the benefit as all the information needed by the clinician for giving bets possible care to the patient will be available whenever and wherever needed. It will help the clinicians because they will get all the needed information within no time without searching for information or repeating the tests.
· Hospital Level Benefits
The well integrated core systems when implemented will make available all the collected information can be accessed by anyone who needs it. It will minimise the problems faced during handovers and will make the enterprise wide management of human beings effective. It will also reduce the access blocks which patients face when moving from one department to another.
· Area Level benefits
The areas will have access to standard information from all the facilities so they would be able to manage their resources in effective manner and thus help out in demand management, planning and effectual management of patient transfers from one hospital to another falling in same area with minimisation of duplication of diagnostic procedures thus improving the communication between clinicians and hospitals.
· Clinical Departments
The work flow within the various departments will definitely improve after the implementation of ICT system in the clinical departments by 2011.It will provide help in decision making process and give easier access to the required information in order to help in most effectual management of the limited resources available. The clinicians will get very quick access to all the critical information which will ensure that rigfh6t decisions are taken for the patients.
· State Level benefits
Although the core systems will be implemented at all the levels but the finest benefits will only be achieved when these systems will be implemented across all the areas. Right and timely availability of information will definitely help in maximising the resource utilisation and managing the future demands too.
Curtin, C. (2011) National TRansition Project:NSW PROJECT PLAN, 16 June , [Online], Available: http://www.agpn.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/38437/110601_pln_GPNSWTransition.pdf [6 June 2012].
‘Information & Communication Technology (ICT) Strategic Plan:2006-2011’, NSW health Department (September 2008).
NSW Government Health : About us, [Online], Available: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/aboutus/ [5 June 2012].
Thompson, R. (2012) Stakeholder Analysis: Winning Support for your Projects, [Online], Available: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_07.htm [6 June 2012].
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