Queensland Health used SAP’s cloud services to create a “digital passport” that consolidates all the credentialing and training data for clinical staff in one place, so they can move around more quickly.
A digital health passport to support the mobility of healthcare workers is a key principle of HEALTHQ32, the state government’s 10-year vision for the future of healthcare in Queensland.
Although the vision was only announced in early May, Queensland Health revealed they already had staff digital passports ready to be tested.
Senior director of corporate technology services Carlo Terribile said at the SAP NOW ANZ 2023 summit that the agency was taking a different approach than usual, and asked “SAP and its developers” to build a “minimum viable product” on the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP), which is what SAP now calls its cloud service.
Terribile says the short timeframe for getting digital passports ready for staff testing means doing things differently.
“We really need to find something pretty quickly,” he said.
“I think we briefed SAP in February-March, they gave us a proof of concept in a pretty short timeframe, which was great, then we started building in June and technically got up and running. [in early August]and we’ll start rolling it out to business immediately.
“I believe that if we use the traditional processes that we have been using, we will not get to that goal.”
Mobility of health workers
Digital passports have been reported in the context of enabling Queensland Health to deliver high-quality patient care outcomes by more quickly moving staff to fill gaps and meet demand for critical care services.
Queensland Health’s operating structure means data is kept private and processes vary.
“If we just look at credential data, it resides in many different data sources across the organization,” says Terribile.
“We’re actually 16 separate hospitals and health services, all of which are independent organizations, as well as departments, so everyone might do things a little bit differently, and it’s just a matter of bringing it all together.”
Currently, moving doctors, nurses, and related health professionals across the state takes time, as staff information on mandatory credentials and training needs to be gathered on a case-by-case basis.
“What digital passports mean is bringing everything together into one location so that it’s easy for the right people in the organization, the authorized users, to get the information they need, to make that possible. [staff mobility] happened,” Terribile said.
While SAP does the initial solution design and assembly, Terribile says “representatives from the business are involved in the design” and then go through the next five week sprint process.
“We’ve always been true to that [Agile] user stories and making sure that we’re going to get back to it and check back with the business about it, because it’s all about user acceptance,” said Terribile.
When the Terribile was introduced on August 8, the digital passport was not yet “used in the rage” – that is, in production.
Once this happens, Terribile looks forward to receiving feedback “on the accuracy of the data, the actual use of the product and its applicability in production, and what changes may need to be developed.”
Given that this product was developed as a minimum viable product, due to the short timeframe, some additional work is always anticipated; Terribile notes “some stage” is going to happen “further in a direction that’s going to expand on this – adding more data along with this process, and ultimately what we want to do is answer the original question, ‘Is physician mobility all around us? Queensland’s health better than today?’
While SAP has been heavily involved from the start, Terribile adds that its team in corporate technology services – responsible for workforce management, payroll, HR, finance, logistics, procurement and supply chain – are now making changes to the digital passport itself.
Through their approach, he says they can be confident that “what we have is something that works and will benefit us and the business” from day one, and that they can develop themselves in a sustainable way.
Terribile added that, while the agency was working on a relatively new offering from SAP, some of the “contract arrangements” were “challenging”.
“SAP is now in a very different area around privacy, data protection, and even responsibility than before, and the cloud platform and approach is something we really need to work on,” said Terribile.
“It’s been a challenge and I think it will continue to be a challenge as we start to adopt more of this and other cloud platforms, but we’re moving a little, SAP is moving a little and we’re getting there eventually.”
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