Hospital CEO 'fixes' SMS legal concerns

Health Waikato acting chief Brad Healey says legal concerns over the hospital's new multimillion-dollar clinical information system were addressed before the upgrade was given the go-ahead. Computerworld has obtained the minutes of the meeting at which Health Waikato's legal advisers the Health Waikato board's decision had 'deviated from the normal process and that more definition and research was necessary to ensure a clear contract'

Health Waikato acting chief Brad Healey says legal concerns over the hospital's new multimillion-dollar clinical information system were addressed before the upgrade was given the go-ahead.

Legal concerns about the system, from US company Shared Medical Systems (SMS), were expressed at a Health Waikato sub-committee meeting in early December.

Computerworld has obtained the minutes of the meeting at which Health Waikato's legal adviser Michael Jackson, of Hamilton firm Tompkins Wake, said the Health Waikato board's decision had "deviated from the normal process and that more definition and research was necessary to ensure a clear contract".

Jackson had been asked his opinion of the latest draft of the SMS contract, which he said lacked an adequate "schedule" in that it gave only a list of products, rather than the solution those products would provide. This shifted the risk for the purchasing decision from SMS to Health Waikato.

Jackson proposed that a background statement be included in the contract, setting the parameters by describing Health Waikato's key needs and specifications.

SMS would therefore be contracted to provide the solution to those needs.

The current assurances, he said, would have to be improved before Health Waikato could feel comfortable about signing the contract.

Jackson will not comment on whether the contract was altered to his satisfaction before the final decision was made but acting chief Brad Healey says that all concerns raised in the meeting were addressed before the contract was signed.

The purchase is believed to have been at the centre of a row between the hospital's former chief executive, Garry Smith, who has since resigned, and board chairman Jack Jenkins. Jenkins is former chairman of Wellington's Capital Coast Health, the only other New Zealand hospital administrator using the SMS system.

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