KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 – Funding for information and communications technology (ICT) facilities in the Ministry of Health (MOH) this year was increased by a whopping 939 per cent.
According to the Estimated Federal Expenditure 2023 document, expenditure on ICT in 2022 was estimated at RM11.3 million, rising tenfold to an estimated RM117.2 million for 2023.
CodeBlue recently reported that the electronic medical record (EMR) system at Selayang Hospital, a government tertiary hospital in Selangor, has broken down after MOH failed to upgrade the facility’s total hospital information system (THIS).
A radiologist, who previously developed a backup health information system for Selayang Hospital, said that the facility faced an obsolescence problem because its original system, Cerner, was “expected to live forever”.
Since this version of Cerner could only run on Windows XP, every other software acquired by Selayang Hospital had to be backward compatible with Windows XP
A pharmacist at Sultan Ismail Hospital in Johor recently tweeted that her facility was still on Windows 2000.
Besides the 939 per cent increase in allocation for ICT, MOH’s Budget 2023 also allocated a 323 per cent hike for renovations, upgrades, and repairs, from RM94.6 million estimated expenditure in 2022 to RM400 million for 2023.
Research and development received a 271 per cent increase in funding from an estimated RM13.4 million spending in 2022 to RM49.6 million for 2023.
Funding for equipment and vehicles saw a 136 per cent increase from RM256.8 million estimated expenditure in 2022 to RM607 million for 2023.
Facilities for staff quarters in urban areas received a 119 per cent increase in allocations from an estimated RM27.4 million for 2022 to RM60 million for 2023.
Allocations for hospital facilities, however, were cut by 46 per cent from RM759.5 million estimated for 2022 to RM409.3 million for 2023.
MOH set aside RM4.8 billion for development expenditure in 2023, which is 10 per cent (RM447.7 million) higher than the RM4.38 billion allocated in 2022.
MOH’s operating expenditure for this year is set to increase by 12.4 per cent (RM3.47 billion) to RM31.5 billion, up from the RM28.03 billion allocated in 2022.
Overall, the RM36.3 billion allocation for MOH in Budget 2023 represents a significant 12 per cent increase (RM3.9 billion) from RM32.4 billion allocated for 2022.