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Blog: MEDITECH scoops up St Vincent’s private hospitals network

16 February 2024
By Kate McDonald
Image: iStock

The big story in health IT in Australia this week was the official announcement that EMR giant MEDITECH had won a pretty big contract with St Vincent’s Health to implement its Expanse system on a software as a service – or MEDITECH as a Service (MaaS) as the US vendor likes to dub it – basis at St Vincent’s 10 private hospitals.

We mentioned rumours about this a while back and we hear that plans are ready to go live with five this year and five next year, with the fate of the EMRs in the two big public hospitals in Darlinghurst and Fitzroy depending on how the private system goes.

It will be interesting to watch as up until now, most of the private hospital sector has been reluctant to invest in a clinical EMR, barring a few notable exceptions. MEDITECH’s patient administration system has been used for years but the clinical modules will be new to most. We are also keen to hear about what Ramsay Health Care chooses to do as part of its ambitious transformation and digital enablement program, and we also understand that St John of God may be heading down a certain path.

It all points to a battle royale for EMR vendors in the private hospital sector. There’s still of course details of WA’s EMR plans to come and Tasmania’s decision too which now hinges on the outcome of the early election called by the Tasmania government for March 23. Tasmania recently lost its CIO of five years Warren Prentice – who drew up its 10-year, $475 million Digital Health Transformation Strategy – to the Australian Digital Health Agency. The strategy has only received funding for its first tranche, so nothing is certain yet again.

Meanwhile, NSW Health announced it had formed an AI taskforce to develop an AI framework for the state health system to be released in 2024. It looks like NSW Health Minister Ryan Park’s office jumped the gun with an announcement through The Australian newspaper without telling the Ministry his plans, as the taskforce membership was not revealed until a day later and the ministry had to rush out a quick photo and promotional video. The taskforce seems a bit top heavy but it’s good to see a GP and a consumer voice included.

While generative AI is now going like the clappers in primary care, AI is already being used quite widely in hospitals. The technology being used for RPA’s virtual wound care program is particularly interesting, but the speed at which AI is developing makes a taskforce like this one a timely one.

The topic makes up our poll question for the week:

Should all state and territory health departments set up an AI taskforce?

Vote here and leave your comments below.

AI was also the topic of last week’s poll, when we asked: Will AI transcription tools improve the patient experience in consultations? We got a big response and a big yes from readers: 75 per cent said yes, 25 per cent no.

We also asked: If yes, what is the biggest benefit? If no, what are the drawbacks? Here’s what you said.

Finally this week, it might be an idea to keep an eye out for a big announcement on digital health by the World Health Organisation in the early hours of Wednesday morning our time. The WHO plans to launch what it is calling its Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIHD, pronounced “guide”) that involves developing a Country Needs Tracker and Country Resource Portal to ensure digital health investments are informed by country priorities.

Over five years, the plan is to ensure “countries have timely access to routinely updated tools to measure maturity of the enabling environment for digital health, track digital health initiatives, guide the development and updating of digital health related strategies and policies, and identifying quality-assured digital solutions”.

Sounds good. Early birds can watch the announcement here.

5 comments on “Blog: MEDITECH scoops up St Vincent’s private hospitals network”

  1. EHR are going to move towards having integrated AI in the next few years. It is inevitable, and hence imperative there is consistent policy around data security and privacy. Moreover, as AI starts getting used for decision support, there will be questions around indemnity issues around clinical decisions made using information made available by the integrated AI.

    • There are multiple elements to AI – some straightforward others much more complicated. Early AI solutions need to be part of HR and workforce support

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