Business Irish

Friday 30 September 2016

HSE board gives its approval to €900m e-health plan

Published 08/05/2016 | 02:30

The new National Children's Hospital will be the first site to go live with digital health records
The new National Children's Hospital will be the first site to go live with digital health records

The Health Service Executive has approved the business case for a €900m e-health plan designed to digitalise Ireland's health system.

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The intention is to provide digital health records for all Irish patients by the middle of 2019. The first site that will go live with electronic health records will be the National Children's Hospital.

Multi-million state contracts will probably be awarded to private companies to deliver the plan.

Having secured the HSE board's approval, the business case will now go to the Department of Health for sign-off and ultimately to the Government.

The nine-year plan is being spearheaded by HSE chief information office Richard Corbridge. It will cost between €609m and €875m.

A 12-month process to find companies to deliver the plan should begin at the end of this year, if the necessary approval is secured on time.

The funding structure is not yet decided upon but the plan can be divided into four clear parts, Corbridge said.

The HSE first began talking with potential vendors in November 2014. Forbes estimates there are around 260 organisations in the world that deliver e-health records. "We are talking to around 40," Corbridge said.

The project is being advised by a Chief Clinical Information Officers Counsel, a group of clinicians, in an effort to ensure it fits with clinical needs.

Major lessons were learned from the failure of the HSE's PPARS system, Corbridge said. PPARS was a personnel and payroll system built for the HSE which could only handle a fraction of the organisation's HR needs. It has been estimated that PPARS cost around €220m.

In other health-tech news, the Clanwilliam healthcare software group has outlined plans for another €80m spend on three to four acquisitions a year for the next five, having just bought British business Bluespier. Bluespier provides software to hospital theatres and is used in 50 NHS hospitals.

The acquisitions will mainly be Irish and UK businesses, though "we are actively engaged with companies further afield", chief executive Howard Beggs told the Sunday Independent.

Software entrepreneur Beggs has a minority stake in Clanwilliam, which is majority owned by US private-equity group Eli Global.

Following the Bluespier deal, Clanwilliam now has 300 staff in the UK and Ireland. It was founded in 2014.

Beggs was previously the chief executive of Helix Health, which was formed from a business he founded called Medicom and later sold.

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