Designing a solution for genetics and genomics in public health Victoria.

Developing a new solution for genetics and genomics in public health in Victoria.

The Department of Health Genomics and Health Technology Unit provides funding and support for public general reproductive, paediatric, and adult genetic and genomics, and heritable (familial) cancer services in Victoria. They engaged Data Agility to design the way forward for the provision of a new solution for genetics and genomics in public health in Victoria.

Overview

The Department of Health Genomics and Health Technology Unit provides funding and support for public general reproductive, paediatric, and adult genetic and genomics, and heritable (familial) cancer services in Victoria.

These services provide high quality integrated diagnosis, clinical care, counselling, screening, predictive testing, education, and professional training to assist individuals, couples, and families to make informed lifestyle choices.

Services are whole of life, from pre-conception to adulthood, where a patient will require a common record of genetic test results and information to be kept for the duration of their lifetime.

Public genetic services are delivered through a ‘hub and spoke’ model, predominantly under the responsibility of seven main health service providers such as those at the Parkville Precinct, Monash Health and others. The project was to design the way forward for the provision of a new solution for genetics and genomics in public health in Victoria.

Data Agility were selected to undertake the work by being able to clearly demonstrate our capability and experience, including:

  • Our experience and expertise in the health sector
  • Demonstrated experience in the development of system/business requirements, solution options/market scan, operating model, and business case for a number of high profile and multi-million dollar programs in the health and public sector
  • A customised approach for stakeholder engagement and provision of the deliverables
  • The long-term availability of proposed resources

Challenge

Most health services providing genetic and genomic services within Victoria currently utilise one of several specialised systems to manage patients and clinical services. Many of these systems are currently approaching end-of-life or do not meet emerging capabilities required for genetics and genomics public health services.

With genetics and genomics required capabilities continually increasing, a new solution was required. For example, this includes the ability to support additional genetics and genomics services such as reproductive and prenatal genetics and other emerging genetic/genomic trends. 

In addition, a solution was required that allows genetic and genomic data to be shared more easily across Victorian public health services and increased integration with other hospital systems. This would also provide increased capabilities in continuity of health care for a patient.

The replacement of existing solutions for genetic and genomics patient management required the development of four deliverables, to understand the clinical and solution needs of the genetic and genomic clinicians at health services and clinics across Victoria:

  • Business/system requirements: Identify the prioritised requirements for the solution replacement
  • Solution options/market scan: Identify products on the market that can satisfied the requirements
  • Operating model: How the replacement solution is funded and governed, managed and operated
  • Business case: How the need and reasoning of the replacement solution is defined for its project initiation and funding

Solution

Data Agility understood the challenges and needs of the engagement, developing a thorough understanding of the sector via an extensive consultation process that defined the:

  • Current state, issues and opportunities
  • Prioritised business requirements for a new solution, including individual playback of requirements to each nominated health service. This is a key feature of our business requirements delivery
  • Future state conceptual architecture to visualise how the landscape would look like once a replacement solution was in place

Key requirements and opportunities for the future solution include:

  • Managing patient genetic and genomic data for the individual and family
  • Subject to patient consent and legislative requirements increased data sharing between health services
  • Integration with other hospital systems, such as patient administration systems (PAS) and electronic medical records (EMR) and with pathology and laboratory systems

The solution options and market scan identified a number of systems both locally and internationally that could deliver the future state and requirements. Recommendations for the vendor products were then created for the department based on the findings.

The operating model included the system and governance arrangement across the department and health services, from the executive through to operations. The business case was developed with all the findings throughout the engagement to support the business case submission, setting out the required investment, resources, implementation timeframe, operational costs and benefits over 5 years. 

This was a very complex engagement which:

  • Involved a high degree of variability of business requirements across health services
  • Required the understanding that health services were underdoing active transformation and system replacements to meet modern and digital demands that present challenges to what is required from a genetics and genomics replacement system
  • Was complicated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as Data Agility had to transition to a remote working environment early in the engagement, which required close collaboration with the department to achieve the required outcomes

Results

The department recognised a need to replace the existing genetics and genomics systems, which was supported through consultation with the sector.

Data Agility provided a way forward to enable such an endeavour, which was needed to solve challenges with genetics and genomics service delivery. Working with a number of teams within the department, the above deliverables resulted in the delivery of a business case for the department to progress and submit for funding.

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