Ministry asks health IT sector to consider charges during Covid-19
The Ministry of Health has asked health IT suppliers to consider reducing their charges for additional demand during the Covid-19 outbreak.
A letter sent to industry from MoH deputy director-general data and digital, Shayne Hunter, says the New Zealand health and disability sector is seeing unprecedented demand for health IT products and services, as a result of Covid-19.
Hunter asks suppliers to consider their charges for additional demand, while still taking account of commercial realities.
“The Ministry would appreciate it if charges for the additional products and services we require are fair and reasonable, and that you give consideration to covering your direct costs, with a significantly reduced margin on top,” the letter says.
If health providers need to increase their base of licensed users during the outbreak, the Ministry asks that costs reflect that the demand is largely temporary.
“We propose basing your decisions on an initial period of increased demand of six months,” Hunter says.
NZ Health IT chief executive Scott Arrol sent the letter to all his members and says the majority of responses were positive and supportive of the request.
“It is understandable for some to feel sensitive about this matter during a period when they are drawing on their own resources without passing on some or all of these costs to their customers,” he says.
Arrol says the health IT sector understands the importance of their role in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and has been gearing up their workforce and investing in additional capacity whilst at the same time supporting their staff to work from home.
“I am humbled by how they’re doing this in many cases at their own cost without an expectation of ‘return on investment’, whilst at the same time offering solutions, services, products and licenses for free, at cost or at significantly reduced margins,” he says.
“The enthusiasm to use their skills, knowledge and capabilities is palpable.”