Local IT firms step up for JP2060

It was a very obscure little link on the Australian government’s AusTender website that first alerted technology news site ITnews and then Pulse+IT last week to the long-awaited announcement of the awarding of the JP2060 Phase 4 eHealth system replacement for the Australian Defence Force to Leidos Australia. The contract was costed at a very precise three hundred and twenty-nine million, six hundred and fifty-two thousand, six hundred and forty-three dollars and eighty cents, ($329,652,643.80), although Leidos this week in its PR said priced it at $299 million. According to ITnews the contract was signed last December, although there is no word on why it was not publicly announced at the time and was only revealed in April.

It was obvious there was a mad scramble to get the PR in place over the weekend of May 7 to 8 and press releases duly popped up on Monday in the defence industry magazines. While we understand a little bit of cloak and dagger around Department of Defence IT announcements, JP2060 has never exactly been a secret so who knows why it took so long to announce. The contract was published on AusTender on April 14, right in the middle of the election campaign, so politics can’t be part of it, and the carve off of the Phase 3 deployable health capability aspect was announced two years ago, with Saab and Philips named late last year as the winning bidder.

Whatever the reasoning behind it, the good news is there is a bucketful of good local companies who are involved in the project. PMS vendor MediRecords and telehealth platform Coviu were announced to great fanfare in Pulse+IT last year, and health informatics firm Alcidion hinted at it in one of its reports to the stock exchange in January, with subsequent details released last week about its role as a data aggregator and longitudinal record keeper for all of the disparate elements of the project.

Quite frankly, it was great to see loads of local companies getting a go, including Titanium’s dental software, instrument and asset tracking vendor Precision Medical, and Fred IT’s market-leading pharmacy and ePrescribing solutions. We must admit we hadn’t heard of data analytics and tactical planning specialist Ascention – let us know anonymously if they’re any good – and we also don’t know of “low code solution platform providing case management” vendor OutSystems. We had heard of Cerner of course, but exactly what they were offering we don’t know as they didn’t reply to our queries, but it’s pretty much obvious so whatever.

We’ll watch the development of this new system closely, although given it has been 20 years in the making, we might still be waiting for news in 2042. By that time, there might be some movement on interoperability in the healthcare system and all of it will finally be useful.

The other big story this week was former ADHA exec Monica Trujillo’s move from Cerner to Telstra Health. Dr Trujillo is beginning a new position as chief health officer at Telstra Health, while Michael Draheim will step up into her former role as CCIO at Cerner. Good luck to both Monica and Michael, who have always been very generous with their time, advice and knowledge, and who both remain some of the best advocates for digital health in Australia.

But forgive us here at Pulse+IT if we pay particular homage to the marvellous Vince McCauley, who is returning to his private pursuits after seven years as CMO/CMIO at Telstra Health. There are few people in the country who know more about health informatics than Vince. A qualified medical doctor and computer scientist, a software developer with particular expertise in pathology terminology, a health informatician and a standards expert extraordinaire, Vince provided brilliant input into Pulse+IT over many years, including in its early years as a print magazine and as we began the transition to digital, and he has continued to be one of the yardsticks we go by.

Vince’s unsung work with Telstra Health on standards for the National Cancer Screening Register and getting all the pathology labs singing the same HL7 tune is a testament to his dogged ability to get things done and get them done right. It may not be the sexy side of digital health but it is some of the most important, and Vince has done himself proud. Anyone who knows anything about health informatics in Australia knows what a champion Vince is. We look forward to what he comes up with next.

Elsewhere this week we saw Allscripts change its name in Australia and New Zealand to Altera Digital Health – not much else is changing – and the West Australian budget showing a statewide EMR is still a long way off. In the meantime, WA will be rolling out Allscripts/Altera’s BOSSnet/Opal system to five new hospitals. Best just call it a DMR and not quibble.

In late breaking news, Health Informatics New Zealand reports that NZ’s head honcho for health IT in the Ministry of Health, Shayne Hunter, has resigned. He follows director general of health Ashley Bloomfield and HiNZ CEO Kim Mundell out the door. You get the feeling they all need a bit of a break after the pandemic and fair play to them. Health IT will be a major element in New Zealand’s massive healthcare system reforms and the implementation of the Hira system, so good luck to whoever stands up.

Unlike in NZ, the next week for digital health in Australia promises to be a quiet one as we all gird our loins for the election on Saturday week. Rest assured that we’ve got a few ripper stories up our sleeves so we’ll keep you occupied.

In the meantime, here’s our poll question for the week:

Will the JP2060 Phase 4 health knowledge management system proposal work?

Vote here or leave your comments below.

Last week, we asked: Should the Commonwealth be allowed to set the price for IT solutions it commissions? Our readers were evenly split on this one: 51 per cent said no, 49 per cent said yes.

We also asked, if not, why not? Should the market set the price instead? Here’s what you said.


0 # Kate McDonald 2022-05-20 14:33
Will the JP2060 Phase 4 health knowledge management system proposal work? Most readers seemed positive: 67.5 per cent said yes, 32.5 per cent said no. Some of those who said no had some interesting arguments. Here’s what you said:

- A step in the right direction

- change management issues and system not fit for purpose

- Too many partners

- When you throw $390 million at an information system that covers the equivalent number of "patients" as two general practices, you are going to create a monster. The previous attempt that cost $100m failed completely. And the military has outsourced all garrison health so that there is no military health practice in which this IT system will operate. Its first real test will be during our first overseas deployment.

- Collection of half baked systems

- Too many cooks for even the best specialist health systems integrator to corral into a cohesive whole at the price point agreed.
Insufficient individual corporate experience/comm itment of/to true semantic interoperabilit y for the integration that is achieved to deliver 'meaningful use'.
And a high probability of strategic misalignment between the respective visions of the Departments of Defence and Health will lead to siloes of health information for Australian defense personnel and their families who will continue to be consumers of mainstream health services before, during and after their military service.
One hopes to be proved wrong for the consumers' sake, but I am pretty sure Ladbrokes would offer the more attractive odds on stuff-up than success.

- Programs like this that are soooo big never work. You have to do it iteratively

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