THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP
Minister for Health and Ageing
15 August 2011
ACCENTURE TO BUILD AUSTRALIA’S PERSONAL EHEALTH SYSTEM
Accenture, a world leader in IT, has been selected to lead the building of the IT infrastructure for Australia’s national personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) system in another major milestone for national health reform.
“A consortium led by Accenture has been selected as the National Infrastructure Partner for the development of the PCEHR system,” Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon said.
“Accenture will be responsible for designing and building the physical PCEHR system, which will be used by people to register for and view their eHealth record.
“People will also use this system to allow their GP and other health professionals to view their record, helping to make sure their records are available whenever and wherever they are needed.
“Health professionals will use the system to view their patients’ eHealth record, which over time will include information such as health summaries and discharge summaries. Health professionals will also be able to update this record with the most critical and up to date medical information to deliver safe and efficient healthcare.
“Accenture’s track record in the successful delivery of Singapore’s national electronic health record earlier this year was an important factor in their selection during the highly competitive independent tender process with applicants from around the world.”
Minister Roxon said Accenture will provide leadership to a consortium of companies, which also includes Orion Health and Oracle and will play a critical role in developing the PCEHR, including:
· developing internet portals so people can view their personally controlled eHealth record, control access and enter their own medical information
· developing a portal to allow health care providers, when given access by the patient, to view and update a patient’s record
· providing for an audit trail that will show when and by whom a person’s record was accessed
· providing a reporting capability for critical information about the PCEHR system itself, including performance and usage.
“A key responsibility of the National Infrastructure Partner will be to ensure that the PCEHR system has high availability, including in a medical emergency, and that it works efficiently and securely for patients and providers alike,” Minister Roxon said.
“Personal, secure electronic health records are a critical part of the Gillard Government’s national health reform. They will drive improvements over time to the way people engage with our health and hospitals system – making it better coordinated and more efficient and effective.”
The National Infrastructure Partner, under the instruction and oversight of the Commonwealth Government, will ensure stringent protections are in place to safeguard the privacy of patient records. The infrastructure built will be the property of the Commonwealth.
- The Australian news article – “Accenture would receive $47.8m to develop the personally controlled e-health record system.The department will also pay $17.8m to Oracle in licence fees for access to e-health records stored within all PCEHR repositories, and $11m in fees to Orion for operating a portal.”
- IT News states “The New South Wales Government has previously contracted Accenture to consult and advise the development of an Integrated Clinical Information Program (ICIP) for the state’s healthcare systems. The State Government is also named as an Australian customer of Orion Health.”
Google news on Accenture:
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. It has over 223,000 employees including 4,800 senior executives, services in 53 countries and is generating net revenues of $US21.6 billion as at 2010. It’s revenue apparently primarily comes from consultancy and outsourcing.
It will be fascinating to see how they manage to deal with the risk of hacking given other major players have fell foul of the hackers recently, and whether they can create a system for $77m for over 20 million population when Singapore’s solution allegedly cost $140m for only 5 million population.
Accenture also has just won the tender to develop an Australian national electronic system for property exchange and conveyancing called PEXA- see their media release.
Accenture was also mentioned in the Jan 2011 settlement by Oracle to pay $46m in fines to US govt to resolve alleged kickbacks paid by Sun to companies such as Accenture, when these consultancy firms managed to convince a federal agency to purchase a Sun product – seems such kickbacks are rife in the US government contracts, but surely not here in Australia.
In 2009, then Labor minister, Peter Garrett opened IT services company Accenture’s new Sydney office – see here. It seems the Labor Govt has been courting Accenture for some time, so hopefully their decision to appoint it as lead in this project has been well considered.
Accenture’s troubled ATO IT system:
Accenture was also apparently awarded a $435m contract for an IT system for the Australian Tax Office (ATO) called Change Program in 2004 but seems that project may not have been smooth sailing with cost blowouts of nearly $400m – see here when apparently the ATO terminated Accenture’s contract in 2010 for the troubled system, and engaged a separate consultant, CPT Global to advise on how to make it work during the coming tax season.
In April 2010, 140,000 tax refunds were issued without cheques, contributing to a backlog of some 210,000 tax returns. A further 16,000 taxpayers were affected by erroneous, automatically generated decisions.
This does not seem so promising.
The ATO project got off to a controversial start when the tax office dumped the tender process to find a project partner after it judged all the bids non-compliant, and thus the early design and systems integration work was awarded to Accenture – see here.
The Inspector-General published concerns in May 2011 related to the ATO Change Program and the risks ATO took on including Accenture’s ability to deliver – see here.
Hopefully the lessons have been learned and history does not repeat, although past behaviour is one of the better indicators of future behaviour.
The Federal Labour goverment can ill afford more egg on its face from failed projects.