Waikato DHB slammed by Auditor-General

Waikato District Health Board (DHB) has come under fire in a report from the Office of the Auditor-General after a 21-month inquiry into its SmartHealth virtual care system failure.

Made by Californian company Healthtap, the app-based programme - axed in May 2018 after two years and a $25.7 million cost to the taxpayer - was rushed through without due process and in breach of government legislation, said auditor-general John Ryan. “On the evidence available to us, Waikato DHB did not carry out any formal market testing or any form of competitive tender process when selecting Healthtap as a provider... (and) fell well below the standards expected of a public entity.”

Waikato DHB employed the app in an attempt to find an innovative solution to deal with the pressures it was facing, in particular, better serving its more rural communities. But HealthTap required it to pay $16 million in licence fees over two years, a period originally billed as ‘a two-year trial of virtual care’.

Waikato chief executive Dr Nigel Murray and board chairman Bob Simcock, who drove the tech procurement, later quit amid Murray's publicised expenses scandal.

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