By: Natalie Akoorie

Doctors at Waikato District Health Board have slated its roll-out of the controversial SmartHealth app as an expensive waste of time and money that must not be repeated.

In a scathing submission to a DHB review of the virtual health technology, from the Waikato Senior Medical Staff Association, doctors from 20 specialities criticised the business case for SmartHealth, its implementation, functionality and the American company HealthTap that powers the virtual platform.

The Auditor-General launched an investigation into the procurement of the $15 million contract with HealthTap in December following a damning Audit NZ report which found it should have been done through an open tendering process, the business case was not written specifically for SmartHealth, and there was no investigation into other options.

In October last year the Herald revealed the business case, which has never been released to the public, was rushed through board approval by former chief executive Dr Nigel Murray and former board chairman Bob Simcock.

In the submission, dated February and March 2018 and signed by association chair Dr Margot Rumball, doctors criticised the lack of detail, transparency and timeline of the procurement in mid-2015.

“Only two clinicians reviewed this document, two days after it was written, and three days before it was approved. The time from first version [July 15, 2015] to the final approved third version [July 20, 2015] was five days, encompassing a weekend,” Rumball wrote.

“This appears to be an extraordinarily short time commitment for such a significant financial commitment.”

One doctor called the business case “woefully short of important detail” and did not explain what the Early Innovator License Fee of $7.39m was based on, or purchased.

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