IBM wins $500k HealthPAC portal gig

IBM's technologies were already in place and the preferred platform

IBM has picked up a piece of New Zealand's health IT system rebuild, winning a contract to design and implement the HealthPAC online pharmacy claiming gateway.

The contract is valued at $400,000 to $500,000.

The Ministry of Health is replacing its ageing HealthPAC payments system, which processes around 90 million claims per year. In a tender last year, it prepared what it calls “a high-level design” that signalled its preferred architecture as one that “utilises existing ministry assets, such as [IBM’s] Websphere Application Server and Tivoli Access Manager platform.

“The ministry’s preferred technology choices are driven by the assumption that in leveraging existing investment and services the project will reduce technical risk, time to market and cost,” said the Request for Proposal. HealthPAC administers government subsidies on medicine. Most pharmacies submitted their claims on diskette. The diskettes are couriered to HealthPAC, in Wanganui, where they are manually loaded into the claims processing system. During processing, a number of documents are created which are sent back to the pharmacies, including buyer-created tax invoices and error and variance reports.

“This process is slow, error prone, labour-intensive and difficult to support,” the MoH said last year. “As a consequence, the ministry wishes to implement an electronic-messaging solution, to support electronic submission of claims and reports.” The contract ends in August.

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