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Insights and best practices for construction management technology and project delivery

Queensland Department of Health Puts Patients First by Automating Data and Cost Management

Janet Poses
Sr. Marketing Manager

Queensland Health, a department of the Queensland Government in Australia, is tasked with administering the state’s public health. It comprises the Department of Health and 16 hospitals and health services and follows five fundamental principles: integrity, customers and patients first, accountability, respect, and engagement.

When Queensland Health’s Capital and Asset Services Branch (CASB) needed a technology solution to improve budget management and cost forecasting in infrastructure project delivery, it sought technology that ultimately would support those key principles. After evaluating alternatives, CASB selected and implemented Oracle Aconex, including Oracle Aconex Connected Cost.

Improved data accuracy and integrity

CASB has improved their data management capabilities by implementing Oracle Aconex and Oracle Aconex Connected Cost as standardized solutions to manage processes across their organization and provide one centralized source of information. This improved accuracy supports Queensland Health’s first fundamental principle: integrity.

Decision-makers have a greater degree of confidence in the timeliness and completeness of the information they are accessing. The potential for error caused by information being passed from person to person is eliminated because the information is directly accessible through the system.

Self-service= time savings

The project finance team saves two to three days per month across all projects as finance no longer needs to download data for quantity surveyors. Executive management and other stakeholders also have access to live projects and can run their own reports as needed.

Finance professionals can now devote more time to higher-value activities, such as forecasting and analysis, instead of administrative tasks.

Customers and patients are the priority

CASB manages 25 to 50 projects concurrently, with a combined capital expenditure for 2019-20 of approximately AU $167 million. The overall capital expenditure for the health portfolio is AU $777 million in 2019-20, with project values ranging from $1 million to $100 million.

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“With Oracle Aconex Connected Cost, we have greater transparency into project cost information, enabling us to identify savings and risk at both project and program levels.”

-Leesa Kevill, Manager, Project Support Services, Capital Project Delivery, Queensland Health

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CASB can examine expenditures and compare those expenditures across similar projects, i.e., remote or metropolitan projects, to develop more accurate forecasts and budgets while accelerating decision-making by implementing Oracle Aconex Connected Cost.

The organization can also more effectively manage projects through the defects and liability phases by capturing and communicating vital information to internal and external parties using Aconex Field. This is especially useful in managing the organization’s portfolio of geographically diverse projects.

The Aconex Field roll-out saves CASB time and money on travel, provides better quality assurance (QA) management, and helps the organization manage projects across 20 facilities and numerous contractors more effectively.

Forecast visibility

The visibility into forecasts against actual costs, as well as defect capture and resolution, helps CASB to plan and execute more effectively. Forecast visibility also helps the organization reduce costs, with savings reinvested into other health infrastructure projects.

In one example, CASB funneled cost savings from efficiencies into a pneumatic tube system to quickly transport items throughout the hospital (you may remember these tubes from 1970s drive-through banks).

In another case, CASB re-allocated savings to provide additional maternity ward equipment to their project scope. CASB is supporting the Queensland Health fundamental principle of “customers and patients first”, by leveraging their budget more efficiently.

“With the standardized system, we can identify patterns across projects, benchmark average costs, and manage suppliers more effectively,” said Kevill.

Accelerated access and reporting increase transparency and accountability

CASB’s access to project information was limited to monthly and manually generated reports before implementing Oracle Aconex and Oracle Aconex Connected Cost. Now, users can update the system regularly.

All appropriate team members can access one central source of information, cloud-based Oracle Aconex, any time—from any place—to assess impacts and make more informed decisions. All users have access to the updates from the tool. This increased visibility has improved accountability—another of Queensland Health’s fundamental principles.

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“Reporting has gone from taking four days manually prepare to virtually nothing each month.”

-Leesa Kevill, Manager, Project Support Services, Capital Project Delivery, Queensland Health

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CASB uses the solution as the primary mode of communication and information dissemination across all projects for document and information management. The organization can control and secure communications to internal and external project team members while maintaining centralized records to support best-practice governance.

“With Oracle Aconex, we can access documents and find what we need much more quickly. Everyone uses the same version, so we can review in parallel and talk about the real issues,” Kevill said.

In the past, CASB had to mail large documents to remote facility managers via USB sticks or CDs because the organization couldn’t risk using unsecured file-sharing applications. CASB often waited for a week or more to receive the facility managers’ input.

Now, CASB can easily configure workflows for each of their review cycles using Oracle Aconex workflows, taking just two days to receive necessary feedback. As a result, CASB can include additional stakeholders in the review, improving the quality of reviews and increasing team engagement—yet another of Queensland Health’s fundamental principles.  

System adoption    

It is no surprise that investment in solutions and adoption rates are even higher when individuals and departments are involved in assessing needs and capabilities. CASB has noted this and started onboarding projects in the business case development stage of implementation.

The project stakeholders are integrally involved with capturing key documents, decisions, and planned cost details in the very early stages of the project, driving further emotional investment in the solution.

This methodology is used on all projects across the state of Queensland. Additional organizations within Queensland Health, such as Hospital and Health Services, are also adopting Oracle Aconex because the system acceptance and benefits to the organization are so high.

“By achieving and publicizing the benefits, we are driving adoption,” said Kevill.

To end with the final Queensland Health fundamental principle: the CASB project teams respect the decision of the organization to implement Oracle Aconex across their organization—a solution known for improving transparency, accountability, and fairness across all organizations on a project.

Learn more about Oracle Aconex.

Oracle Construction and Engineering, the global leader in construction management software and project portfolio management solutions, helps you connect your teams, processes, and data across the project and asset lifecycle. Drive efficiency and control in project delivery with proven solutions for project controls, construction scheduling, portfolio management, BIM/CDE, construction payment management, and more.

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