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HIQA commences replacement of ‘unstable’ IT system

By Paul Mulholland - 19th Mar 2023


HIQA has contracted the firm Codec-DSS to deliver its digitally enabled regulation (DER) project, which is being undertaken due to the instability and unsustainability of the existing system.

The issue was discussed at a meeting of HIQA’s board in December 2022.

HIQA CEO Ms Angela Fitzgerald stated that the DER project was commenced prior to her appointment in June 2022. Funding had since been secured and the procurement process finalised.

“In recent weeks there has been significant and detailed discussions with the preferred vendor [Codec-DSS] to ensure that the project is delivered within a fixed price contract using agile methodology,” according to the minutes.

Board member Ms Lynsey Perdisatt told the meeting that HIQA’s current information system, PRISM, was no longer supported, was at end-of-life, and was “unstable”. The PRISM system is used to support all regulatory activities.

“It is also not fit-for-purpose in terms of meeting the requirements associated with planned new commencements,” according to the meeting minutes.

Mr Pat Millar of Clarion Consulting, who attended the meeting virtually, also stated that the existing system was not sustainable and “carries significant risk”.

He explained that following a “rigorous procurement process”, he was satisfied that HIQA was in a position to proceed with the contract and the relationship with the proposed vendor was now “on a firm footing”.

Ms Perdisatt added that HIQA’s resource oversight committee, which met before the board meeting, had emphasised that strong governance arrangements and oversight would be required over the course of the project.

Following its discussion, the committee agreed to recommend that the board approve the contract with Codec-DSS.

In response to queries from board members, it was clarified that the current system would be kept operational while the new system was being developed.

“Risks to the existing system are being addressed by upgrading hardware, processing only essential changes requested by the business, outsourcing 24/7 security monitoring, upgrading firewalls, and managing threat,” according to the minutes.

“From the business perspective, it will be important to plan for new commencements so that the technical functionality can be managed carefully and in a way that does not increase risks to the current system.”

The meeting heard that a change management lead had been assigned to the project, “given that this will be an important aspect to… successful delivery.”

The CEO also proposed to include an external change management expert on the project steering group.

A spokesperson for HIQA told the Medical Independent the contract was awarded following approval by the board. “It is a two-year project and it has commenced,” they added. 

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