The State Government today announced the finalisation of a significant, cost-effective technology contract for the Western Australian health system.
Health Minister Ian Taylor said that the granting of a major computer management and development contract to private enterprise would save the WA health system more than $20 million in projected costs.
He said that the contract, worth approximately $12.5 million annually, had been awarded to Computer Sciences of Australia (CSA) and would be met from within the existing approved health services budget for such purposes.
The contract calls for the management of existing computer systems for all metropolitan hospitals as well as providing them with state of the art technology to support advanced information systems for medical and nursing staff.
"For example, the new systems will enable clinical staff to place orders for diagnostic tests and examinations and get the results back in the ward accurately and quickly," Mr Taylor said.
"The systems will also enable nursing and medical care plans to be synchronised for individual patients and will assist in planning their rehabilitation and convalescence."
Mr Taylor said that, after a comprehensive evaluation, the Health Department had recommended that one long-term contract be awarded to CSA rather than a series of short-term contracts involving several companies in the private sector.
The CSA contract involves a consortium which includes three WA companies - Winthrop Technology, Netsource and People in Computers - as well as Data General and Health Vision Australia.
"The agreement means that over the six years of the contract the health system will save more than $20 million in such areas as capital outlays, staff training and software development by adopting this cost-effective approach with private enterprise," Mr Taylor said.
"The contract also includes a wide range of other State benefits to WA."
These associated benefits included:
· at least 85 per cent of the 150 people involved in the project over the period of the contract would be recruited from WA;
· all staff recruited in WA would be trained by CSA to international quality standards;
· an equal sharing by the WA health system and CSA of benefits derived from the development and modification of hospital-related computer applications;
· CSA would make all new systems available to country public hospitals in WA, if required, for no additional licence charges;
· CSA would establish a large, software development facility in Perth and the fit-out of these premises will be contracted out to a WA company;
· CSA would establish a research and development group in Perth in conjunction with an international software developer;
· CSA would establish alliances with WA companies to pursue systems integration opportunities in WA and SE Asia.
"Overall this agreement will bring considerable benefits not only to our hospital system, but also to the WA computer industry and local workers, while significantly reducing the call on public sector resources required for this purpose," Mr Taylor said.