Tasmania searches for $1.8 million health information system

Tasmania is searching for a contractor to take on the task of creating a single, state-wide information system for the emergency departments across four hospitals, while delivering the five-year contract within $1.8 million.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

Tasmania has gone to market to find a contractor that can replace the information systems responsible for four of its public hospitals.

A large part of the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services' tender revolves around the accurate collection of data, processing it through the newly envisioned state-wide information system, migrating the data from three disparate systems into one, managing the project, and providing all the necessary testing and training required.

The requirements of the new system are quite high, with possibly technically challenging requirements, including the ability for more than one user to access a patient record at the same time (without locking out other users), regardless of the device being used; providing notification and reporting of patient status and wait times; managing complete patient billing; and tracking all patient movements, all while supporting 600 simultaneous users.

The desirable requirements give a fair indication of the limits of the project, with some of the nice-to-haves including remote access via a Terminal or Citrix server; interfacing with Ambulance Tasmania systems that are in the field; completely automated tracking of patient and staff movement via infrared or RFID technology; and supporting real-time voice-to-text translation within Microsoft Word while using medical terminology.

In addition, the system is required to support the nation's increased adoption of eHealth systems. This means it will need to comply with National eHealth Transition Authority (NEHTA) initiatives, specifications, and standards, including Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records (PCEHR) and the eHealth architecture.

The system itself needs to operate on a Microsoft Windows Server 2008 platform, and client support will need to include desktop or laptop computers running Windows XP SP3 or Windows 7, Apple OS 6, and Windows Mobile. In terms of mobile devices, the tender doesn't specify any particular models, but tenderers will need to indicate whether their proposed solution can be delivered as a web application, and what the necessary requirements are to access it from these devices.

On the data migration side, tenderers will need to take responsibility for the three systems that, combined, contain about 1.2 million records, and are growing at a rate of 150,000 records per year. So far, records cumulatively account for 92Gb of data, and the tender notes that not all data elements are aligned or captured in all circumstances.

Other aspects of the tender include complete compliance with industry-specific standards; building it to the department's system architecture, including reporting, logging, and auditing capabilities; and ensuring the security of the state's health information.

The five-year contract includes upgrades and maintenance, as well as training and 24/7 support. It has an option to extend the contract by one or more periods of up to two years.

Not including maintenance and support costs, the department expects that the total cost of the project will fall into the range of AU$1 million to AU$1.8 million. This includes software licences, development, databases, integration, data migration, project management, implementation, testing, and training costs.

Of course, it has not limited itself to offers within this price range, stating that proposals outside of the range may still be considered at the discretion of its evaluation committee.

Tender submissions close on June 5, with the department hoping to sign contracts by August 30 for project planning to start in September. It is anticipating that the final system will be completed and accepted for use in June 2014.

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