Auckland Healthcare contract reaches last round

The number of last-round bidders for a digital clinicals system at Auckland Healthcare has been narrowed to three, but the organisation may yet decide to upgrade existing facilities in-house.

The number of last-round bidders for a digital clinicals system at Auckland Healthcare has been narrowed to three, but the organisation may yet decide to upgrade existing facilities in-house.

IBA Technologies in Melbourne, SAP and US-based Cerner are confirmed as the last three bidders for the clinicals system. But in the event, the prospective suppliers may be disappointed, and Healthcare may decide to upgrade its existing facilities using internal resources and another set of tenders for smaller components of the solution.

Sources suggest if the project goes for external supply, it will be a major contract — “$20m and that’s just for the basics”, says one; but Auckland Healthcare general manager Pamela Nobbs declines to discuss any estimate of the value, or even say whether that source’s estimate is wide of the mark.

There are still many possible paths to be taken to the organisation’s desired “future state” that cost and time estimates are impossible to make at this stage, she says.

“We are basically looking at three options: do nothing; fix what we have or replace some of our existing systems.” Total replacement of Auckland Healthcare’s clinical computing systems is not being considered.

She confirms, however, the identity of the three in the final round. IBA executive chairman Gary Cohen visited New Zealand last week and top executives from the other companies are also expected to visit.

The system, Nobbs says, will be “designed to track a patient through the continuous process of their care” in hospital and with other health-service providers.

The budget is founded on being “cost-neutral compared to our existing strategy,” she says — the system should be fundable out of the hospital’s existing budget. But a value is difficult to assign because of variable elements and the decisions that may be made in the course of evaluating tactics.

A date for final selection of the approach and of any successful candidate suppliers is also uncertain. “If we decide on the external option, selecting one of the three on our shortlist to do it all, then [contracts may be concluded] as early as June,” Nobbs says. A partially internal plan, with a further tendering process, may take six months to conclude.

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