The health boards of Taranaki and the Wellington district are to combine their IT infrastructures in a joint venture called Health Intelligence.
The boards have signed a memorandum of understanding and are aiming to incorporate the venture by September.
Capital and Coast District Health Board IT manager Andre Snoxall says the board’s IT costs have risen in the past five years from around $5 million to $12 million per annum. More than half of that is spent on IT infrastructure.
When working on its IT strategy Capital and Coast considered a number of options for the future including contracting to a commercial outsourcer, developing in-house expertise and in the process putting more demands on the IT team, outsourcing to another district health board or forming a joint venture with another board that had already implemented the required IT model and infrastructure.
While the options were being explored Taranaki DHB approached Capital and Coast to look at sharing IT resources. The boards found that the mix of skills and resources was complementary and that the two shared a strategic focus on thin-client technology.
The greatest IT cost for both health boards are their desktop computer networks, which together run more than 2100 workstations and more than 2000 different applications. Together the two health boards manage IT infrastructure across five public hospitals and 21 health centres. The plan is for the boards to share authentication, helpdesk, email, scheduling, networks, internet access, health intranet access, office automation and file and print services.
The merger will be formalised next year. The aim is to go live from January 2003 and to then start rationalising applications such as patient management systems.
Information on the joint venture is at www.healthintelligence.net.nz.