Recruitment is underway for the Northern Territory’s ambitious overhaul of its health information technologies, with InterSystems seeking IT experts and clinicians to work on the implementation of a health system-wide digital medical record.
The five-year Core Clinical Systems Renewal Program, which will see four beyond-end-of-life clinical systems replaced, will make the NT the first Australian state or territory with a single system for all of its public healthcare sites.
InterSystems TrakCare will be implemented at every point of care across all of the Territory’s public health facilities, including five existing public hospitals, the new Palmerston Regional Hospital, 54 remote health centres and all community-based health services, including those in the most remote locations.
Once the $259 million system has been implemented, clinicians will have access to the consolidated digital health records of all Territorians.
InterSystems project director Gary White said TrakCare will improve the reach and availability of patient care throughout a territory with some of the most isolated communities in Australia.
“It will allow clinicians at remote locations — even if they have intermittent internet access — to use TrakCare to manage a cohort of patients on disconnected devices and upload changes when they regain connectivity,” White told Healthcare IT News Australia.
The geography will provide a challenge, White said, but InterSystems has overcome similar obstacles here and globally, including with the South West Alliance of Rural Health (SWARH) in Victoria, as well as in countries such as Chile and Brazil.
“Yes, there will be challenges, with some very remote sites, which we look forward to overcoming though our long-term engagement and collaboration with NT Health. We have a good track record of overcoming geographical challenges and a history of working with customers with dispersed regional populations in Australia and overseas.”
As part of the recruitment drive, InterSystems is seeking clinical candidates who can guide the essential and at times gruelling engagement process.
“The clinical change manager will be someone with a clinical background. They will have clinical domain knowledge and credibility within the healthcare community and they will be working closely with the clinical staff,” White said.
“InterSystems has tried and trusted methodologies for engaging and empowering clinical staff. That is a key element of the project planning and we are actively engaged on that with the NT government.”
InterSystems is taking part in job fairs and advertising nationally for positions that also include systems management, clinical safety officer, technical specialist, application specialist, project manager.
“Were looking for information technology professionals as well as people with a clinical background who have an interest in information technology. They could be people who are already in similar roles or people who are looking to leverage their experience to make a career change,” White said.
A mix of internal and external staff will be working out of the Northern Territory for the project roll out.
“We hope to see a good response from Territorians and also encourage others who are able to relocate to apply. InterSystems staff working on the project are also relocating to the NT, including myself, and internal interviews for those positions have begun.”
The vast 1.35 million square kilometre territory has a population of less than 250,000, of which 30 per cent are Indigenous. Over 43 per cent of the population live in remote or very remote areas, including in over 600 communities and remote outstations. Life expectancy for NT residents is 77 years, compared to 85 in the Northern Sydney Primary Health Network.
InterSystems vied for the contract against three other bidders – Telstra Health, Epic Systems and Allscripts.