Established in 1987, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government under the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia’s health and welfare.
AIHW’s aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians through better health and welfare information and statistics. They collect and report information on a wide range of topics and issues, ranging from health and welfare expenditure, hospitals, disease and injury, and mental health, to ageing, homelessness, disability and child protection.
Governments and the community use AIHW’s reports and data in discussing, debating, and making policy decisions on health, housing and community services matters.
Absence of an online destination for aggregate and comprehensive information about Australian hospitals
Website development and ongoing support of www.myhospitals.gov.au
- Improved the health and wellbeing of Australians through better health and welfare information and statistics
- The site that is secure and compliant with government regulations
- Data-rich online destination for comprehensive outlook on healthcare status of each local community available anytime, anywhere
While information about Australian hospitals was available at a state level, there was a vacuum for consistent healthcare data across the nation. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) annually provided statistics in paper-based reports, but lack of electronically accessible information made it nearly impossible for a wider Australian public to see how hospitals perform and rank based on the national standard. This situation prompted the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), with agreement from all health ministers, to develop a comprehensive source of data on healthcare services across Australia.
The AIHW was tasked with delivering this source. The agency started its search for a partner that understood the scope and complexity of the project and satisfied exigent requirements, inclusive of:
- Building, testing, and implementing a high performance website
- Ensuring that site’s capacity and availability do not fail with a user load of 2.1 million hits in the first 24 hours with a peak of a minimum of 500,000 hits per hour
- Developing the site with guaranteed 100% application availability
- Staying WCAG 2.0 compliant to be tested and accepted by Vision Australia
- Accounting for security risks
- Cooperating with multiple stakeholders to ensure consistent compilation and updating of the information.
After thorough review and analysis of submitted proposals, the AIHW entrusted Veritec to assist with bringing online the first of its kind national hospitals database.
Within a short time frame from concept to delivery, the project embodied high-profile agile techniques in its procurement and development. It required full cooperation on all levels for information gathering and analysis and unprecedented attention to detail for data verification and delivery.
The website development demanded substantial collaboration between different parties to incorporate data generated from an array of project’s activities:
- Use of focus groups to validate the website design for accessibility and understanding by the general public
- Establishment of a project portal and associated collaboration tools allowing all parties access to project information and enhancing overall management of deliverables
- Fine-tuning the underlying data design to guarantee website performance under high loads
- External hosting of the website to ensure website performance without having to purchase expensive infrastructure
- External testing of the website to provide conformance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) AA standards.
The project included extensive data checking for consistency and accuracy, with constant cross-checking with state/territory jurisdictions. Prior to launch, the site was made available in a hosted test environment so individual jurisdictions and private hospital operators could check their own data. Security was maintained so that parties in the hosted test environment could not access data for hospitals/jurisdictions other than their own.
The team at Veritec developed the site using the latest Microsoft technologies ASP.NET 4.0, ASP.NET MVC 2 and SQL Server 2008 R2. MyHopsitals was designed to deliver quality performance and to accommodate to potentially 500,000 hits per hour. As a result, the implementation of the site is highly scalable, allowing it to respond to public demand. The site was built for access through different browsers from IE6.0, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera to stay inclusive of all users. The site is secure and no security incidents have been experienced since launch. Considerable penetration testing was undertaken to ensure that the site is not vulnerable to attacks.
System maintenance costs are minimized with design elements allowing ongoing updates to the data published on the site. New data can be uploaded and released within 48 hours. The website underwent continuous improvements in the range of hospital information available, as well as expanding its coverage across more and more private hospitals, providing the basis for comprehensive national hospital data to be continually available to all citizens.
- The site allows to view information on more than 1,000 public and private hospitals
- My Hospitals provides consistent, accurate data about performance of local hospitals and how they fare at a national level
- User-friendly, secure website that is easy to navigate and understand