The health sector IT budget for the current financial year has been increased by $168.6 million through supplementary estimates.
The estimates, which were released during the Budget 2022 process, revealed changes to existing appropriations that lifted the sector IT budget to $270.3 million.
These were in part driven by the $47.1 million cost to derecognise and expense software-as-a-service, which was previously classified as intangible assets, to comply with a change in accounting standards.
Outside of that technical adjustment, the next largest contributor to the increases was $40.6 million of additional funding to support the implementation of tranche one of the new national health information platform Hira, cyber security and other capability uplifts.
Hira is an ecosystem of data and digital services to enable access to a virtual electronic health record by drawing together a person’s latest health data from trusted sources, improving the way health information is accessed and shared.
Hira services and functionality are scheduled to be delivered through regular releases across three tranches of work through to the end of 2026.
$25 million more was appropriated for COVID‑19 related technology costs, including for managing COVID‑19 in the community while $6.5 million went to the first tranche of a health sector agreements and payments programme.
Nearly $6 million was carried forward from 2020/21 to meet the costs of running, maintaining, and enhancing the technology for the COVID‑19 response.
$5.6 million was transferred from a national response to COVID‑19 category to reflect the reforecast expenses related to the digital identity workstream of COVID‑19 technology projects.
$5.2 million was carried forward from 2020/21 for the development of the National Immunisation Solution, while $1.9 million was also carried forward for Hira pre-establishment activities into the programme itself.
$1.1 million was added to support the cost of managing a new national health sector Microsoft contract, to be delivered by Spark, which will be covered by the fee revenue received by the Ministry of Health as the lead agency.
The increases in 2022 were partially offset by $1.5 million transferred to 2023 to continue the national cervical screening programme HPV primary screening project, and $1.2 million to continue the BreastScreen Aotearoa critical infrastructure replacement project.