B.C. Health Ministry eyes shared services for health authorities

The Government of British Columbia will establish a new organization that will be tasked to explore the feasibility of providing non-clinical shared services across the province’s health authorities.

The new Health Authority Shared Services organization will look at other cross-jurisdictional collaborative initiatives currently underway and build upon those to fuel the feasibility study and build business cases.

“In order to ensure that health-care dollars are focused on direct patient care, we are continually seeking ways of reducing overhead costs and duplication in non-clinical services across health authorities,” B.C.’s Health Minister George Abbott said in a statement.

The feasibility study and business cases will enable the province to determine more effective ways of delivering non-clinical shared services initiatives. If successful, net savings accumulated from the proceeds of such collaborative initiatives will be redistributed to the various health authorities for the enhancement of patient care and clinical services, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Health.

“In 2006, we engaged with our health-care partners in the unions and associations through a range of labour agreements to build new and innovative ways of delivering health-care services that provide direct patient benefits,” said Abbott.

He added that the province will continue to work with health-care partners in this new initiative “to provide even further benefit to patients and the taxpayers of British Columbia.”

The Health Authority Shared Services group will be an independent entity reporting to a board, which has for its members the six health authority CEOs as well as the chief operating officer of the Ministry of Health, and possibly two external members. Lynda Cranston, CEO of the Provincial Health Services Authority, has been initially appointed as the board chair.

“Much work must be done before any specific plans are developed and before any potential impact on employees can be identified,” said Cranston. “We believe the shared services organization will provide new opportunities to leverage our collective buying power, expertise and experience, leading to increasing sustainability of the health-care system.”

Some of the non-clinical services being considered for the shared services approach include common products procurement, warehousing and logistics, payroll and transactional human resources, and information technology, which covers data centre, desktop management, and contact centre or help desk support, according to the B.C. Ministry of Health.

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Shared services cut costs survey finds

Shared services A CIO’s success story

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