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'IT is a people game'

Divina Paredes | April 15, 2014
Claire Govier, CIO at healthAllliance, talks about preparing the ICT team as the country's largest shared services organisation shifts focus from regional to national operations.

“IT may use technology to drive outcomes, but it takes people and a team to really do that,” says healthAlliance CIO Claire Govier, with some members of her team. From left: Ashok Kalyanji, project manager; John La Hood, project manager; Claire Webb, project coordinator; and Diane Wood, project manager
"IT may use technology to drive outcomes, but it takes people and a team to really do that," says healthAlliance CIO Claire Govier, with some members of her team. From left: Ashok Kalyanji, project manager; John La Hood, project manager; Claire Webb, project coordinator; and Diane Wood, project manager

Claire Govier joined healthAlliance last year to lead a series of major technology upgrades, including the shift to the Windows 7 operating system for its 26,500 users.

Before the end of 2013, she became its chief information officer.

healthAllliance is the country's largest shared services organisation, providing IT and non-clinical services for the four Northern district health boards. With more than 18,500 screens, nine data centres and 2500 servers, it has been number one for the past three years in CIO100, the annual report on the top ICT using organisations in New Zealand.

This year, healthAlliance will grow further, and will start to deliver finance, procurement and supply chain services to the 16 other district health boards (DHBs) in New Zealand.

"We will still provide all the IT services for the Northern Region," explains Govier. "But the supply chain and finance and procurement services will progressively roll through New Zealand."

Govier says healthAlliance will operate like a national business process outsourcer (BPO) for these services.

"For my team, we're onboarding another customer," she says. "That's a new challenge for us in IT -- to actually think about a national network for healthAlliance staff rather than a regional network."

The organisation was born of a merger in 2011 of the IT and non-clinical services for the four Northern Region DHBs. These DHBs and Health Benefits, a crown agency, each own 20 per cent of what is now the most significant shared services organisation in New Zealand.

Prior to the merger, healthAlliance was providing shared services to Waitemata and Counties Manukau DHBs. Thus, says Govier, the organisation already has a strong body of knowledge, processes and efficiencies.

"It's really gained some traction -- and delivering savings and focus," she says. "There's really a strong case for growing that throughout New Zealand."

"The whole impetus behind healthAlliance and what Health Benefits are doing is to try and release some of the funding back into the core healthcare," she says. "This means more MRIs [magnetic resonance imaging], more clinical staff and faster throughputs in clinics."

 

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