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Minister seeks ‘more formal assessment’ of HSE ICT investment

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has sought a “more formal assessment” and “appropriate levels of accountability” of HSE investment in information and communications technology (ICT). The issue was raised in a letter sent last month to Mr Ciarán Devane, Chair of the HSE board, which was obtained by the Medical Independent under Freedom of Information legislation.

The letter dated 12 February confirmed the Minister’s approval of the revised HSE National Service Plan (NSP) 2021.
In his letter, Minister Donnelly also focused on e-health, writing that the past six years had seen a steady increase in ICT capital funding.

“As capital investment in ICT continues to grow, it is important that this is matched by appropriate levels of accountability,” Minister Donnelly stated.

“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.

“This review of the capital plan is already provided by HSE Estates within part two of the capital plan. This should be replicated for ICT in future years.”

This year the ICT investment review “will be managed through bilateral engagements” between the Department’s e-health unit and the HSE’s Office of the Chief Information Officer, according to the Minister. The previous month (15 January), Mr Devane sent the revised NSP to the Minister. Mr Devane noted that since the draft NSP 2021 was submitted in November the pandemic had “changed significantly”.

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