SA Health sticking to Chiron despite licence dispute

The South Australian Department of Health plans to continue to use Global Health's Chiron software in some of its smaller hospitals despite its licence for using the product running out in March.

Chiron is an MS-DOS-based system first developed in the 1980s and rolled out in many SA Health rural hospitals in the early 90s, which continue to use it despite Global Health upgrading to a Windows-based system called MasterCare ePAS way back in 2003.

SA Health has been the sole existing customer still using Chiron since 2008.

Late last year, Global Health announced it was finally retiring Chiron, planning to decommission it on March 31 this year. However, SA Health wanted to continue using it beyond the cessation date.

Global Health and SA Health have since been disputing terms, with Global Health threatening to take the SA Minister for Health to court, alleging infringement of copyright and breach of contract.

A spokesperson for SA Health said the department is in ongoing dialogue with Global Health “and remains confident of its ability to continue to use the Chiron software without infringing copyright”.

“While Chiron meets our current requirements, SA Health is exploring potential longer term alternatives,” the spokesperson said.

It is understood that the OACIS clinical information system will continue to be used for the foreseeable future, including at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Like Chiron, OACIS is a legacy application first implemented in 1995. Extra modules have been purchased over the years from its Canadian vendor – the product is now owned by telecommunications giant Telus's healthcare division. It formed part of the program, which like EPAS was supposed to link up all SA hospitals to one shared EMR.

SA Health announced recently that the stabilisation phase for EPAS has been completed. The SA Health spokesperson said plans to implement EPAS at the new RAH are being developed.

“Extensive consultation with clinicians continues to occur regarding the most appropriate way to transition to the use of EPAS at the new RAH,” the spokesperson said.

Posted in Australian eHealth

Tags: EPAS, Global Health, Chiron, MasterCare

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