The Victorian Government has made the decision to scrap its HealthSMART system, which was years overdue and had run hundreds of millions of dollars over budget.
HealthSMART was launched in 2003 and had been designed to run as a single electronic foundation for the state's public health service. The single platform would combine a finance system, as well as patient-management and clinical-applications services.
However, Health Minister David Davis today confirmed that the government had scrapped the continuation of the roll-out of HealthSMART, with the government to now work on a hospital-by-hospital basis, to set up individualised systems.
Davis said the government is determined not to "throw more good money, after bad" and would set up an expert panel to advise it on the best way to upgrade the hospital information and communication technology (ICT) 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 said.
The new ICT projects would be payed for through the $100 million innovation fund, allocated in this month's Budget.
The road to the system's cancellation is one littered with blowouts and delays; $323 million was originally budgeted for the system and a deadline for completion was set for the end of 2007.
Administrative issues and bureaucratic headaches saw the system miss its initial deadline. The government laid out hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding, eventually taking the project's final bill to a total of $566 million, although the system is only operational in four health services.
When the Baillieu-led coalition government delivered its first state Budget, State Treasurer Kim Wells tore the delayed systems implementation to proverbial shreds, blaming it and the troubled Myki public transport ticketing project for heavily contributing to the state's $7 billion debt figures.
"Major projects inherited by this government — including Myki ... and HealthSMART — face significant cost overruns, which total around $2 billion, and have further contributed to the run-up of debt," the treasurer said in May, last year.
Despite the bashing, HealthSMART received an additional $6.7 million in funding in the most recent Budget.