DoHA seeks Web portal to combat chronic disease among indigenous Australians

The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) is on the hunt for a provider to develop and host a Web portal with the aim of better managing and preventing chronic disease among indigenous Australians.

The Indigenous Web Based Primary Health Care Resource (IWBPHCR) will be a Web portal which integrates with clinical systems and enables healthcare staff to access materials relating to the prevention and management of chronic illness among indigenous Australians.

“The IWBPHCR collates and presents in a single resource existing tools, guides and other online information that promotes best practice in the prevention, identification and management of chronic disease in indigenous Australians,” the documents reads. “It covers the key chronic diseases contributing to the burden of disease including cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus type 2, chronic respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease and cancer.”

Under the 24-month contract, the successful tenderer will develop a detailed project plan and conduct a clinical review of content to select, review and remove information, which will also include “intensive” development in the initial phase to expand content.

It will also provide high availability IT hosting and software development to ensure the relevance of content and conduct ongoing marketing of the project to ensure uptake by healthcare professionals. Following this, the provider will monitor and evaluate the efficiency of the service and how well it benefits users.

According to DoHA documents, this request for tender (RFT) builds upon an initial RFT for a pilot Web portal in 2010, which HP won and built on the Microsoft SharePoint platform. The pilot Web portal was to enable easy access and identification of materials relevant to managing chronic disease among indigenous Australians.

It was issued after the department pinpointed a need for healthcare professionals to access materials including patient education, management tools, guidelines and references to effectively manage chronic disease. Following this, it embarked on a review and consultation process with stakeholders which found extensive clinical resources were already available online.

“The key barrier to use in practice was seen to be lack of awareness and easy access to existing resources within the clinical environment," the document reads.

“It was agreed that a 'one-stop shop' online resource that identified and brought together existing materials from a wide range of sources, with an assessment of quality, would best meet the objective.”

Pilot testing of the HP Web portal was undertaken in two stages in both December 2010 and the period between September and October 2011. The successful tenderer for the IWBPHCR will expand the content, provide ongoing hosting and develop further functionality, as well as monitor and market the new portal.

The project falls under the establishment of the government’s Clinical Practice and Decision Support Guidelines, a measure of which it aims to prevent and manage chronic illness in both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

The guidelines were created following the $805.5 million in funding announced by the Federal Government in November 2008 for an Indigenous Chronic Disease Package over four years. The funding aims to close the gap on life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

Correction, 12 December: This article originally referred to the Department of Human Services instead of the Department of Health and Ageing.

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