Deloitte gets another $5m for health data ‘super-highway’


US consulting giant Deloitte has landed a $5 million pay rise from the Australian Digital Health Agency for its work on a new platform for clinicians to exchange and access health information.

Deloitte has spent the last 18 months developing the Health API Gateway, having won an initial $18 million deal in July 2021 to replace the decade-old Oracle API gateway that served the controversial My Health Record.

Last month, the contract with Deloitte climbed $5.1 million, bringing the total bill to $25.1 million over three years. Another contract amendment in October also added $2.8 million to the contract’s total cost.

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A spokesperson for the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) put the most recent increase down to “changes in scope due to additional services relating to the national response to COVID-19 and further scaling of the platform to accommodate an increase in consumer access to the My Health Record”.

The new gateway is regarded as the foundation for a new “information-highway” across primary care, aged care and allied health settings, giving health practitioners more detailed patient information with the consent of consumers.

In providing a single point of access to the national digital health ecosystem, it is also expected to reduce costs and lessen the technical and operational complexity experienced by healthcare providers.

The gateway went live as planned in November after a three-phase deployment ended with an upgrade of the “business-to-business gateway covering the APIs that clinicians… use to upload and read clinical information to and from the My Health Record,” according to a spokesperson.

Earlier phases included the upload of Medicare, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and Australian Immunisation Register documents in March 2022, and an upgrade of the gateway that provides mobile developers access to My Health Record data in September 2022.

The initial three-year contract with Deloitte in 2021 kicked off a significant program of work to modernise the technology underpinnings of the My Health Record system – which is currently operated and managed by Accenture – and other national digital health systems.

Accenture has held the lucrative national infrastructure operator deal since 2011. Last year, the consultancy was paid another $100 million to continue operating My Health Record for another three years, bringing the total cost of the arrangement to $741.2 million over 13 years.

Supporting infrastructure for the My Health Record also migrated to Microsoft Azure as part of the modernisation program last year, with the ADHA subsequently exiting the Global Switch Ultimo data centre.

Work is also continuing on a consumer-facing My Health Record smartphone app first planned for 2022 but delayed until early this year due to the need to reprioritise ADHA activity and associated during the pandemic.

The cost of My Health Record is also weighing on the federal Budget, with the former Coalition government deciding not to fund the system beyond the current financial year and no new funding was provided in the 2022 October Budget.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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