IT outages do little for confidence in health systems

Tuesday, 10 February, 2009


Australian healthcare organisations need to break the vicious cycle where the poor performance of existing information systems leads to resistance among healthcare professionals towards the adoption of new technology.

The survey reinforces a recent international study — conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Compuware — which found that 64% of respondents believe that poor application performance results in significant financial losses for their organisations. Despite these losses, the study also showed that IT still takes a costly and reactive 'firefighting' approach to application performance management (APM).

Patient safety was compromised at 28% of Australian healthcare organisations in the last year as a result of severe outages to major patient administration or clinical information systems, with other outcomes including disruption to clinicians (64% of respondents), IT staff (52%) and patients (38%), according to the survey.

"Healthcare information systems are expected to play a central role in improving healthcare outcomes and reducing costs as the population ages and skilled healthcare professionals become harder to find," said Craig Little, Compuware Vice-President, Sales Operations for Australia, New Zealand and Japan. "Yet many Australian healthcare organisations lack the basic tools to ensure their major IT applications can be relied upon to deliver 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."

Eighty-three healthcare and IT professionals completed the survey. Some of the findings included:

  1. The average length of the most severe outages affecting major patient administration or clinical information systems within Australian healthcare organisations last year was 4.1 hours, with 6% of respondents reporting outages of more than 24 hours.
  2. 62% of respondents reported performance issues, including slow performance and lack of availability, on the day their organisations deployed their most recent healthcare application.
  3. 31% of respondents said their healthcare organisations had no plans to deploy application performance management tools and 29% no plans to deploy end-user experience monitoring to improve IT service delivery.
  4. Only 53% of respondents reported that the most recent project to deploy a major healthcare information system was delivered on time and 58% that it was delivered on budget.

"Australian healthcare organisations need to break the vicious cycle where the poor performance of existing information systems leads to resistance among healthcare professionals towards the adoption of new technology," said Little. "End-to-end application performance management offers a way to break out of this cycle and restore confidence in the ability of IT to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce costs."

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