New budgeting software developed by Waitematā DHB could be a game-changer for financial planning within the health sector, the DHB said.
The cloud-based eBudget application streamlines and automates the way Waitematā’s financial experts project the annual budget, with greater speed, transparency and reliability.
The software has been named a runner-up in the 2019 New Zealand Chief Financial Officer Awards and Waitematā is now planning to promote it among other DHBs and big business organisations.
“We’re always looking for innovative ways to diversify and this has certainly allowed us to do that,” the DHB's chief financial officer, Robert Paine, said.
“We believe we have set a benchmark for the way our health system is financially managed and we hope this will pave the way for other DHBs and large agencies.”
Waitematā DHB works in a complex accounting environment tied to an annual budget of around $1.8 billion.
Tasks that would normally take staff months to complete are fully automated with the eBudget software and updated daily.
Paine said the eBudget application took six months to develop in-house and its impact upon full implementation in July 2018 was immediate.
This isn't the first time Waitematā DHB has rolled out applications developed in-house. Last year it launched its Inpatient Snapshot app to enable staff to instantly access patient data. Manukau DHB also rolled out the software.
Paine and his team were able to present Waitematā DHB’s draft 2019/20 budget to the executive leadership team in January 2019, at least six weeks earlier than usual.
“This means we’re able to get a better look ahead and make more-informed decisions on the annual allocation of funds to get the best for the community we serve,” Paine said.
The application has multiple features, including the ability to forecast possible inflation-related impacts and the ability to roll the budget forward into the next fiscal period – saving weeks of work for staff who would otherwise have to start each year’s annual budget again from scratch.
A special memory function can also send annual reminders of budget entries proposed in the previous year. Users have been able to pick up the application with very little training due to a simple and intuitive user interface.
“The software is tried, tested and a potential game-changer where big numbers are concerned,” Paine said. “It’s nimble and accurate in a sector where every saved dollar can be redirected to frontline healthcare and better outcomes for our patients.”