A Dunedin organisation has secured a multimillion-dollar
contract to provide indigenous health IT for Northern
Best Practice Advocacy Centre Inc (Bpac Inc) needs to recruit
an extra 12 staff to fulfil the contract for the territory's
Department of Health.
However, a national shortage of experienced computer
programmers is hindering recruitment, and the organisation
says it might be forced to establish a North Island office.
Bpac Inc executive director Dr Murray Tilyard said many of
the new positions had been readvertised; about half had been
filled, but these were largely roles other than the senior
''The big gap at this stage is experienced programmers.
''We would prefer not to go outside Dunedin. We're very proud
of Dunedin; it's a neat place to live [and] it's better if
the staff are all together, but we may be forced into this.''
The extra jobs would bring the programming team close to 40
staff members. Bpac Inc is a joint venture between South Link
Health and the University of Otago.
The organisation would provide two things for the Northern
Territory: an IT platform to manage indigenous health, and
individual health packages to guide clinicians in areas such
as pregnancy care and diabetes.
''We've been selected to not only be the backbone of their
system, but also to develop specific [healthcare] modules.''
He hoped the Northern Territory would be the first of
multiple Australian states to contract Bpac Inc to manage
indigenous health IT.
''If this works well, then we know it can be extended into
Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, [where there
are] similar issues. It's critical that we're successful - we
He believed Bpac Inc stood out from other IT providers
because of the quality of its clinical input.
Bpac Inc would give a presentation to a group of state-level
chief information officers next month in Darwin about what it
''That will certainly make us more known across the other
The contract was potentially indefinite; he expected to
renegotiate terms after five years.
''It's a multimillion-dollar deal for us,'' based on a
five-year time frame, he said.
The additional staff were also needed for another new
project, a National Child Health Information Programme, being
jointly undertaken with Orion Health, which was being
trialled in Waikato.
Hamilton was the likely North Island base if Bpac Inc set up
a second office.