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HSE CIO noted ‘hugely challenging’ ICT implementation

The HSE’s Interim Chief Information Officer (CIO) highlighted the “hugely challenging environment” affecting implementation of the information and communications technology (ICT) capital plan, in the weeks preceding the cyberattack. At a meeting in February of the HSE performance and delivery committee, Mr Fran Thompson provided an update on implementation of the ICT capital plan for the first six weeks of 2021.

“The CIO advised that ICT-enabled projects are critical to the success of the health service reform agenda, however, 2021 is remaining a hugely challenging environment as the Covid-19 response continues to absorb resources,” stated meeting minutes.

“In particular, workforce management and recruitment are proving problematic, which impacts on all other elements of the plan.”

Areas such as development costs of business proposals, immunisation systems and patient-centred design thinking for ICT projects were also discussed at the meeting.

“The committee discussed the importance of patient experience of ICT projects and emphasised that the development of new systems should be user-centric.”

In April, the Medical Independent (MI) reported that difficulties in filling key roles in ICT had been raised by Mr Thompson at a meeting of the HSE’s audit and risk committee in late 2020. In March, MI reported that Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly had sought a “more formal assessment” and “appropriate levels of accountability” of HSE investment in ICT, in correspondence sent in February to HSE board Chair Mr Ciarán Devane.

“A closer coupling and more formal assessment of the outputs of capital investment in ICT at the end of each calendar year versus the capital plan, will be required,” outlined the Minister in a letter that approved the HSE National Service Plan.

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