Some of the country’s biggest hospitals have refused to share information with a health performance platform designed to help cut waiting lists and support Sláintecare, the Sunday Independent has learned.
The Mater Hospital, St James’s, Tallaght, Beaumont, and St Vincent’s have all so far declined to share operational and other data with the Health Performance Visualisation Platform (HPVP). The system “aims to provide real-time health data and trends across emergency departments, outpatient services, theatres, diagnostic services and bed management”, according to the HSE.
Patient data is required to be anonymous and shared only in an aggregated form with systems operating securely within the HSE cloud.
The roll-out of the platform, called SystemView, is being chaired by HSE strategy chief Dean Sullivan.
A number of the country’s hospital groups have also declined to share their data with the platform, after requests to do so by Mr Sullivan.
A spokeswoman for the HSE said it is currently “dealing with legal queries from some hospitals in relation to data sharing”.
The Australian-headquartered company behind the HPVP is Healthcare Logic. Its Irish subsidiary, Sláintecare Logic, has a Dublin city centre registered address.
Last month the Sunday Independent reported Healthcare Logic was awarded a €7.4m two-year contract to work on the platform in November 2020 by the HSE, without a formal tender process.
Its co-founder and chief executive Martin Connor previously advised a unit set up by former health minister James Reilly on cutting waiting lists.
The HSE has said 24 out of 28 hospitals in a first phase of the project are using it.
Last week’s Sláintecare progress update stated by the end of last year the system had “limited functionality”, and was aiming to “go live in early 2022”.
The HSE aims to have HPVP used in 50 hospitals in total, for which a tender process is expected later this year.
This phase aims to provide “an automated approach to acute hospital information management, with three levels of visibility, at national, hospital group, and regional level”. However, so many hospitals showing opposition to the project appears to be a considerable setback.
One health insider was critical of a phase one iteration of SystemView they saw.
“It couldn’t follow the same patient. Some patients are on the waiting list to see a number of specialists, or for a number of procedures,” they said.
Another source suggested such a platform may ultimately be used to implement a centralised performance management system and improved version of Sláintecare.
This would not align with aims of regionalisation, new ways of working, better patient management and care of those that need health services the most, they claimed.
An HSE spokeswoman said: “Due diligence and pre-assessment of Healthcare Logic was undertaken by our procurement division. No conflicts of interest were identified. A prior working relationship isn’t a conflict of interest.”
HSE director-general Paul Reid is said to have been impressed by SystemView when he saw it in a trial last year.
The awarding of the contract to Mr Connor’s firm was assessed and approved by a senior steering group that was co-chaired by Mr Sullivan.
An EU pandemic procurement directive was invoked, avoiding the requirement for a tender process.
The contract award notification stated an “out of the box” HPVP solution was urgently required because of the impact of Covid-19 on HSE bed capacity.
Last May’s cyber attack on the HSE set back the platform’s implementation. Allowing for that, asked whether six months or so was in line with the definition of urgency at the height of the pandemic in late 2020, a HSE spokeswoman said “in technology terms, this was expected”.
“It is not a foregone conclusion that the phase one provider will provide phase two, and the system infrastructure ensures there’s no vendor lock-in,” she added.