by Jennifer O'Brien

Bill Le Blanc resigns SA Health, joins ElectraNet

May 23, 2019
Artificial IntelligenceAugmented RealityBig Data

After eleven years driving transformation at SA Health, executive director and CIO Bill Le Blanc is shifting gears, taking on the head of technology role at ElectraNet in South Australia. He starts the new role July 15.

“Never one to shy away from a challenge, I’ll be heading up and driving transformation in the technology team that keeps the electricity grid on in SA,” he told CIO Australia.

IT veteran Le Blanc – who clinched the number one spot on the CIO50 List in 2017 – is well known for his role in spearheading and delivering IT innovations at the futuristic, tech-savvy Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH), which opened September 2017.

At a cost of $2.3 billion, it is considered one of the most expensive buildings in the world.

At the time it opened, Le Blanc told CIO Australia it is “without question” the most technologically advanced hospital in the country.

Specifically, the RAH is home to a huge robotic pharmacy distribution system (one of the biggest in Australia), and more than 100 automated dispensing cabinets in patient wings to support the accurate and timely distribution of medicines.

It also features telehealth facilities for staff to consult with patients across the state, digital imaging technology which allows clinical images to be streamed live from operating theatres and procedural rooms for diagnostic and training purposes; and the largest automated microbiology system in the southern hemisphere.

Essentially, the high tech hospital of the future touts driverless robots, electronic tags, an automated pharmacy system and other tech innovations that shake up the healthcare environment, Le Blanc said.

The hospital, considered to be the most technologically advanced hospital across the country, can now also be considered Australia’s “most advanced digital hospital,” Le Blanc told CIO Australia at the time.

“This is the biggest investment that the state government has made in its history. It is extremely significant,” he said.

“It’s positioning us to provide healthcare to the community for the next 30 years. It’s absolutely a step change. There is no comparison between the old hospital and the new hospital – and in fact there’s no comparison between this new hospital and any other hospital in Australia.”

But is hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Le Blanc, who took a few blows during his time as SA Health tech chief.

Back in 2016, he faced the wrath of medical unions and the scrutiny of the national media after a glitch caused an outage in the health authority’s enterprise patient administration system, EPAS.

EPAS – first in use at Noarlunga Hospital in August 2013 – was implemented to replace paper medical records in a bid to significantly reduce medication errors and improve patient safety.

But just recently, the South Australian government announced it plans to roll out a new electronic medical records system for the state’s hospitals after what it says is the former Labor government’s ‘failed enterprise patient management system (EPAS) debacle’.

This past January, the Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said an independent review into the EPAS has recommended a fundamental reconstruction of the medical records program and that the EPAS brand should be dropped.

More to come.