QLD Government Set to Innovate Health Sector

QLD Government's plan to invest in innovating their health sector.

Hon. Curtis Pitt
Hon. Curtis Pitt

The Queensland Government has made a $119.9 million commitment toward innovating its health sector.

Treasurer Curtis Pitt made the announcement in state parliament last Tuesday as he handed down his second budget.

The new funds will correct years of underinvestment in ICT, the government said in its budget documents, which has left the state with “out of date infrastructure, ageing technology, and highly customised and heavily integrated bespoke systems.”

Now Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government have directed the budget toward prioritising the upgrade of clinical support systems, particularly in administrative roles in addition to replacing old equipment with new technology.

The government mapped a plan for the sector last September when it published its ‘21st Century Health eHealth Strategy’.

It detailed how in the decade to come, there will be increased pressure on the state’s health system with significant impact on the Queensland economy.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 6.03.14 pmFactors here include an increase in growth of the ageing population, and an overall increase in population, longer life expectancies, and an expected growth of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.

A further challenge is the provision of equitable healthcare in rural, remote, and regional communities.

The strategy paper announced a set of priorities to answer these and other issues.

Amongst the goals set were new ICT infrastructure utilities intended to increase the mobility of the workforce and contemporise network and data foundations; investment in electronic medical records enabling digital hospitals, and creating a better user experience by rolling out common systems and tool across the entire health system.

The paper also outlined a budget of costings including $300 million for infrastructure, $730 million for clinical systems and $30 million for the introduction of a “Cloud-based integrated device and user productivity suite to enable connectivity and functionality anywhere, anytime”.

Also announced in the budget this week was a further $225 million on their innovation ‘suite’ of projects, dubbed Advance Queensland.

Intended to build ‘the knowledge-based jobs of the future’ it began with a $180 million investment over four years.

Its program focuses on ‘reinvigorating’ the science and innovation sectors by helping to build better relationships between research, development, and business while boosting Queensland’s entrepreneurial culture.