Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 2 2011 Contents 37
processes that were inconsistent and
duplicated; for example, there were
about 200 different health forms used
in the ADF.
Defence was moving from provision
of health care by the ser vices to
joint health provision through Joint
Health Command, which had to
control budgets, resources and meet
No-one has been a greater
champion of an e-health system than
Major General Paul Alexander, now
Commander Joint Health, who in March
2008 was commissioned to conduct a
review into ADF health systems.
“There was extreme pressure on
Defence to improve its health records.
The existing system was not up to the
task. No single commercial vendor had
a solution that met requirements and
a new solution was required quickly,”
MAJGEN Alexander said.
In September 2008, MAJGEN
Alexander engaged the RPDE program,
within the Capability Development
Group, to establish the size and nature
of the problem and identify the risks and
challenges in finding a solution.
“Put simply, the question was: what
commercial off-the-shelf or government
off-the-shelf (GOTS) e-health solutions
are available to implement an initial
e-health system for the ADF?”
MAJGEN Alexander said.
RPDE reviewed past efforts, looked
at trends and directions for e-health,
assessed user requirements and did
a market scan of what was already
available. Through that work, RPDE
determined while no single product was
suitable, in theory it should be possible
to integrate a number of products to
form the basis of something that would
meet Defence’s needs.
The decision was made to build a
proof-of-concept system, to test whether
the theory could be put into practice.
To ensure the proof-of-concept
system would be relevant and practical,
RPDE addressed the earlier Defence
e-health shortcomings by building
realistic scenarios and closely engaging
end-users as well as managers. It used an
open design, taking into account open
data and messaging standards, running
within a service oriented architecture
framework, which aligned with the
Chief Information Officer Group’s
Industry support for the project
was very strong with par ticipants in
the project – Oracle, Initiate Systems,
TIBCO and Orion Health – from
outside the traditional defence industry
sphere. The National e-Health Transition
Authority and GP Partners were also
engaged to provide a hospital and doctor
interface that allowed them to test their
systems as well.
It took just 14 days with the RPDE
task team coordinating the participants
to configure their products and work
collaboratively to achieve a working
“The system was then demonstrated
to a number of Defence users and
senior management to show it could be
done. The RPDE activity also provided
Defence with an understanding of
the limits and opportunities for the
solution,” MAJGEN Alexander said.
By April 2009, RPDE had provided
a technical proof-of-concept to test
the “in theory” aspects of e-health
systems, demonstrating a working
system that used relevant scenarios.
RPDE provided MAJGEN Alexander with
the results of their work and a plan for
how the new e-health system could be
implemented within Defence, in a series
of building blocks that would build up the
functionality and geographic spread in a
practical and realistic manner.
Defence recruited a project team
in November 2009 and the tender was
released in February 2010, making heavy
use of the results from the RPDE task team.
A year later (including the period of the
2010 Federal Election and the formation
of the Government) the contract was
signed and successful tenderers CSC and
Oakton were announced by the Minister
for Defence Science and Personnel,
Warren Snowdon, on February 9 for the
$48.7m (GST exclusive) Joint e-Health
Data and Information system. JeHDI will
be further developed through a staged
process including a pilot. It is anticipated
the project will be completed by the end
In late 2010, a consortium of three of
the four RPDE par ticipants (Orion, Initiate
Systems and Oracle) won a $146 million
contract with the Singapore Government
for a national e-health system with a
virtually identical architecture to the
RPDE ADF solution.
Benefits to Defence:
• RPDE proved eHealth records problem could be solved
• RPDE demonstrated that integration of commercial
off-the-shelf products was possible
• RPDE products supported the ADF’s RFT material
• RPDE took just seven months and a $420,000 investment to
significantly de-risk a $48.7 million (GST exclusive) project
Above:The Commander Joint Health,
Major General Paul Alexander.
Opposite page: Flight Sergeant Leslie Plapp,
a Senior Medical Assistant, and Flight Lieutenant
David Dunn, a Doctor with 3 Expeditionary
Health Squadron Detachment Butterworth,
monitor a patient’s blood pressure during
Exercise Bersama Padu 2010.
Photo: Corporal David Gibbs
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