Queensland Health has appointed acting CIO, Ray Brown, as its new CIO as the government body moves to implement the State’s e-health agenda.
Brown, who has been acting in the role for the past eight months following the departure of then CIO, Richard Ashby, said e-health was one of several important IT strategies at Queensland Health.
“E-health will deliver information and communications technology that will enable clinicians to find the information and equipment they need to communicate and work together to improve patient outcomes,” he said in a statement.
According to Brown, the benefits of the state’s four-year, $243 million IT project were already being realised with the recent rollout of a state-wide electronic discharge summary system.
The system electronically forwards information to a patient’s GP following their discharge from a hospital.
“Already, more than 55,000 discharge summaries have been sent from about 56 hospitals across the State and by June next year this will be occurring from over 120 Queensland Health facilities,” Brown said.
Brown said another system, the Queensland Radiology Information System, is also up and running in 12 rural and remote hospitals, allowing diagnostic images to be taken in one area and diagnosed by specialists in another.
A spokesperson for Queensland Health said Brown would be responsible for "arguably the largest and most complex ICT environment in Queensland", with more than 65,000 staff using a complex suite of software for both business and medical requirements.
As CIO, Brown's top three ICT priorities will be implementation of an electronic medical record, the enterprise discharge summary and Queensland radiology information system, the spokesperson said.
Brown was executive director Queensland Health ICT Service Delivery from June 2008 to January 2009 and acting CIO from January 2009 until his permanent appointment in August. He has previously held roles with the Queensland Police Service, Queensland Corrective Services and the former Department of Families, now part of the Department of Community Services.
The communications minister, Stephen Conroy, recently announced that a national e-health project aimed at improving chronic disease patient care marked the beginning of a raft of e-health projects enabled by the National Broadband network.
In July, the Reform Commission laid out its e-health recommendations, arguing for a cessation of the ‘talkfest’ in favour of setting a dedicated budget and definite delivery date.