HealthAlliance, the company set up by Waitemata and Counties-Manukau district health boards to share back-office services such as IT and finance, is aiming to save the two boards it serves $3 million in the 2002-03 financial year.
IT will make up a substantial part of that, says healthAlliance chief operating officer Robin Skeggs.
There is good precedent for the $3 million savings target, with $1.1 million in savings being achieved last year when the target was $464,000, Skeggs says.
Since the two boards began collaborating on back-office services two years ago, four main areas — IT, finance, human resources and the supply chain — have been targeted.
HealthAlliance was formed in 2000, initially as a vehicle for a shared procurement trial between the two boards. It now employs many staff in those four areas, including the two boards’ 100 IT employees.
HealthAlliance is a company, with a board of directors consisting of senior managers at the two boards, Skeggs says. At present the two boards spend around $40 million on services covered by healthAlliance, with IT comprising $27 million of that, he says.
A key plank of healthAlliance’s shared services plan is to introduce common IT systems across the two companies. This has already been achieved with Oracle 11i for financials and purchasing and PiMS for patient management, the latter fully deployed at Counties-Manukau and approaching that position at Waitemata.
It will be early next year before PiMS is 100% embedded at both sites, however, “because the current version doesn’t support two organisations using it, but the next one does”.
Laboratory analysis and results management systems from Sysmex Delphic are in use at both sites and decisions are to be made soon on common payroll and clinical information systems, Skeggs says.
The two boards’ IT departments are ultimately overseen by Phil Brimacombe, CIO for both boards, who works outside healthAlliance, but healthAlliance is seeking an IS manager, with some interviews conducted last week.