Health bodies warm to 'vanilla' HR

A consortium of district health boards have joined forces to create a "vanilla" human resources software system, which promises even more savings if further hospitals come on board.

A consortium of district health boards have joined forces to create a “vanilla” human resources software system, which promises even more savings if further hospitals come on board.

The Bay of Plenty, Northland and Rotorua-based Lakes health boards are involved in a project called JIPSE — Joint Implementation of PE Enterprise.

PE Enterprise is an HR software product from English company Rebus, formerly known as Peterborough Software. PE Enterprise, which is being installed with a related rostering system, covers payment, award codes, organisational structure, Ministry of Health reporting, employment and termination procedures.

JIPSE project manager Wayne Mason says the trio, as well as several other health boards that are eyeing the new system in anticipation, were looking at replacing their older systems, mainly a Rebus product called TSG200, and decided it would be worthwhile to look at sharing costs. At one stage nine DHBs were involved, who each rec-eived a draft business case. Three have so far started implementation and Mid-Central is about to begin. The other five are still in the selection process.

Mason, who claims 25 years of payroll experience and who pioneered the earlier Rebus installation at Lakes, says payroll legislation is complex in the health sector. “There was significant development — some the vendor agreed to do, some the group agreed to do. These developments were written and tested and implemented at the pilot site in Lakes,” he says. “They’ve developed common codes, structures and created one data, so there is common consistency in the final product — the health vanilla.”

Mason says this has produced a common platform for shared knowledge and less duplication of data. It allows staff from one organisation to easily work at another.

Initially, Northland and Lakes shared the development costs, but Bay of Plenty coming on board saw a rebate to the pair. Mid Central’s adoption of the system will see a further rebate to the three and as more come on board rebates will be made to existing users. Mason says by working together the boards are meeting other IT staffers, are able to share knowledge and learn others deal with issues. Together, the board’s joint development costs were $200,000 and the vendor gave “significant discounts”, he says.

Owen Wallace, general manager of information management at Bay of Plenty, says the project is costing “less than a million”, with his organisation paying half. The individual DHBs will have their own version of the software but it will be consistent, he says.

Installation at Bay of Plenty began in November and should be completed by the end of March. “It [the system] deals with recruitment, training and development. It’s an improvement on the old [Mantrack system] because that was just payroll,” Wallace says.

Lakes DHB declined to comment, saying it would prefer to wait six weeks, when its installation was complete.

Testing is underway in Northland, but it’s understood the system won’t be live for a few months.

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