The e-health modernisation programme, HealthSMART, run by the government of Victoria, Australia, has had its funding discontinued.
Initiated in 2003 by the former Labor government, HealthSMART was Victoria’s whole-of-health information and communication technology (ICT) strategy to modernise and replace ICT systems throughout the Victorian public healthcare sector. The A$360 million (US$351 million) project aimed to provide healthcare agencies with the tools required to meet the growing healthcare demands expected in the future. However the programme suffered delays, operating issues and unexpected rises in costs.
HealthSMART suffered heavy criticism from a report by the Victorian Ombudsman, George Brouwer, published in November 2011. The report assessed that, “The project costing and timelines were ambitious and the Department of Health (DOH) seriously underestimated the size of the task. The project inevitably ran over budget by about 35 per cent and has taken more than seven years to deliver only a partial implementation of the core clinical application.”
Health Minister David Davis stated that the government would now work on a hospital-by-hospital basis to set up individualised systems. “In those hospitals where it has been put in place or partially put in place, health services will make their decisions from that position, but going forward beyond that health services will be able to examine what is appropriate for their particular service,” he explained.
New e-health projects will be funded by a new A$100 million (US$97.5 million) Victorian Innovation, E-Health and Communications Technology Fund, which has been established to support Victorian public health services.
The end of HealthSMART is not expected to affect the rollout of Australia’s forthcoming Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record, scheduled to go live later this year.
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