That will force the HSE to fork out for upgrades to maintain existing systems in the interim.
The national MedLIS project, which had a start date of October 2015 and was due for completion in 2019, failed to go live at St James Hospital, Dublin, last December, as part of phase one of the rollout.
The new, “expected” go-live date for phase one, which also includes Regional Hospital, Portlaoise and Regional Hospital, Tullamore, is now the second quarter of 2018.
The HSE said the project is behind schedule “to accommodate changes that are required for the system to work in the right way for the Irish healthcare system”.
It is the second major hospital IT project behind schedule. The go-live date for a €35m IT system for 19 maternity hospitals was delayed six months at the first rollout site — Cork University Maternity Hospital — and is stalled until a digital link is in place to allow electronic sharing of data between the hospitals and GPs.
In addition, the HSE had to bring in outside consultants to help get the Maternal and Newborn Clinical Management System over the line at a cost of more than €1m.
American multinational Cerner was awarded the contract for delivery of both systems. The HSE said the €33m MedLIS system “is based on implementation and licences” and that there are “no additional supplier costs relating to this delay”.
However, the cost of systems upgrades in five hospitals, in 2014 and 2015, came to €1.7m. Further upgrades were carried out in 2016 and 2017, but the HSE failed to supply costs for this period.
Richard Corbridge, the HSE’s chief information officer, who is to leave his post next week, said that MedLIS “is an extremely complex programme”, designed to replace “many different systems”.