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Ministry of Health targets cyber security and Office 365

Ministry of Health targets cyber security and Office 365

The Ministry of Health has outlined its digital workplan for 2019/20.

The Ministry of Health has outlined its digital workplan for 2019/20.

The Ministry of Health is planning to work on a number of new internal ICT projects as well as new national digital services for the sector.

Internally, while scoping a new information systems strategic plan, the Ministry is pushing ahead with cyber-security and cloud desktop initiatives in 2019/20, it reported to Parliament during estimates for this year's budget.

The internal projects were still at the scoping stage so details including milestones, completion date, risks and benefits, along with budgets were not yet finalised yet. Cost estimates were also withheld as they were considered "commercially sensitive".

"The Ministry is progressively moving towards 'as a service' arrangements particularly in the Information Technology area in accordance with government policy to adopt cloud first," the Ministry said.

"This will reduce capital requirements over time with a consequential increase in operating expenditure, with service costs replacing depreciation and other capital-related expenses."

Last year, cyber security in the health sector emerged as a political hot potato after it was revealed many district health boards were under cont attack.

In answer to questions from National MP Dr Shane Reti, Mnister David Clark said what mattered was the number of breaches and there had not been any confirmed. 

"We know that in Singapore, Hong Kong, and also in Mexico in the last month, there have been confirmed breaches," he said.

"These issues are taken incredibly seriously and, in fact, public discussion of these matters is incredible unhelpful, I'm advised by security people, and that member knows that."

The Auditor-General has also urged DHBs to be vigilant on cyber security and disaster recovery.

Among the national digital services planned are an analytical data store/R big data server, a SAS intelligence software upgrade and a host of other data collection and registry systems including a rebuild of the Ministry's mortality collection, death documents, national patient flow improvements, immunisation register replacement and the national screening solution for bowel cancer.

$20.8 million over four years will go towards expanding telehealth and digital supports for mental wellbeing.



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