Health shortlists infrastructure tenders

Fujitsu, CSC and at least two consortia of smaller e-health providers are believed to be among those shortlisted for potential participation in the Federal Government’s $467 million personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) initiative.

The national infrastructure partner, one of four such partners sought by the Department of Health and Ageing for the e-health rollout, would deliver, integrate and provide continued maintenance for enabling systems including core system infrastructure; operations and call centres; reporting and template servicing; and separated portals for use by both consumers and healthcare providers.

Computerworld Australia believes companies including Fujitsu, Oracle, Microsoft, CSC and Telstra were among those shortlisted for phase two of the tendering process.

It is also believed they were notified both by the department and by others shortlisted earlier in May, almost a month after the initial 12 April date communicated to tenderers. The delay could push back further steps in the roadmap, which aimed to have a final stage 2 panel notified by the end of May and contracts signed by 30 June for beginning of negotiations and implementation talks.

Integration would take place ahead of a build and test phase beginning April next year, ahead of the go live date on 1 July 2012.

A spokesperson for the department said the tendering process was ongoing but refused to verify which companies had been shortlisted.

Those shortlisted companies contacted by Computerworld Australia refused to comment on the tender.

Vendors involved tendered throughout the process for either the entire infrastructure or one of seven “bundles” of infrastructure for the project encompassing detailed design, infrastructure build and integration, system testing as well as a host of implementation advice and support tasks around the portals, record templates and operations centre managing the overall initiative from next year.

The department has looked to form a panel of providers, rather than a single integrator, in order to minimise risk on performance and capacity.

Each of the partners would work with lead e-health agency, the National E-Health Transition Agency (NEHTA) as managing agent, though would also report to the department as part of the project.

The contract values for each of the consortium partners are unknown, however, they are likely to be a fraction of their total value. Department documentation indicates the $467 million in government funding provided for project is “constrained” until 30 June 2012, requiring the department to include options for extension of contracts with each vendor.

Exactly where the electronic health record would sit remains up for discussion, with continued negotiation as to whether the national initiative would aggregate data from a number of repositories, or centralise the data at a primary location such as Medicare Australia. The government agency is already contracted to facilitate the unique health identifiers needed to associate data to each citizen.

Other elements of the infrastructure required for the national initiative include a secure messaging platform between healthcare providers, a $23.6 million contract secured earlier this year by IBM.

Two waves of e-health implementation sites have also been selected for helping to develop portions of the initiative aimed at specific demographics of the population.

Follow James Hutchinson on Twitter: @j_hutch

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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Tags Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA)cscMicrosofte-healthFujitsuOracleTelstra

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