eHealth NSW upskills staff to accelerate
Cloud-First Strategy

An eHealth NSW case study

Man and woman working collaborative at a desktop computer in the office.

NSW Health’s vision is for a sustainable health system that delivers outcomes that matter to patients, is personalised, invests in wellness and is digitally enabled.

To realise this vision, eHealth NSW, which plans, implements and supports information and communication technology (ICT) and digital capabilities across NSW Health, is pursuing a cloud-first strategy. This will help innovate faster and build scalable, secure and more efficient solutions, while establishing an even stronger, more flexible, patient-centric healthcare system.

eHealth NSW is committed to investing in our people and building capability to meet the technology needs of NSW Health, both today and into the future. In response to the skills shortage of technical talent in Australia - specifically in the area of cloud knowledge and expertise, eHealth NSW undertook a journey to develop an upskilling program to develop relevant skills internally.

In 2020, eHealth NSW introduced a cloud stream into our Digital Academy (DA), one of the largest of its kind in Australia, designed to develop core skills among staff.

The cloud stream is a learning and development program that supports successful migration to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other cloud service providers, strengthening employees’ cloud competencies, and driving continuous learning and innovation. To build a holistic and industry-relevant program, eHealth NSW collaborated with AWS Training and Certification and Bespoke Training Services, an AWS Advanced Tier Authorized Training Partner.

As of October 2022, over 1,500 eHealth NSW staff had completed one or more training module. According to a survey conducted with program graduates, 78 percent of participants say they have been able to apply their learnings to everyday work; 81 percent have seen improvements in their ability to deliver work faster and with more efficiency; and 71 percent say that the Academy and its programs will add value to their career progression.

Expanding eHealth NSW’s cloud skills and capabilities

The training supported eHealth NSW’s staff in successfully migrating 10 critical clinical applications, including mission critical workloads, from on-premises infrastructure onto the AWS Cloud from 2021 to 2022. eHealth NSW’s architects and engineers can now own, operate and iterate upon clinical and corporate environments proficiently, thanks to courses such as AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials, DevOps Engineering on AWS and Systems Operations on AWS.

The training has also helped strengthen eHealth NSW’s cloud security credentials. eHealth NSW handles highly sensitive and personal health information as a shared services provider for the state’s public health system. After the training, staff are better equipped to take advantage of cloud-based security services to enhance visibility and auditing capabilities, and controls across our AWS environment.

Additionally, staff are also able to learn at their own pace thanks to the digital resources available on the Academy. AWS provided over 500 pieces of free self-paced digital learning resources and presented over 30 Lunch and Learn sessions, which were recorded and stored in eHealth NSW’s Learning Management System (LMS) for on-demand viewing. This helped expedite onboarding time and empowered non-technical staff interested in the cloud to develop new skills.

“One of our pharmacists took multiple AWS courses in the Academy, including machine learning and reinforcement modules. As a result, he was able to participate in the AWS DeepRacer league on his own. He believes the confidence he gained by learning new skills translated into immediate value on the job. For example, the increased focus resulted in quicker, accurate and effective solution implementation. It also helped him to build acumen in trying new approaches and learning new skills. These are capabilities that can last a lifetime both professionally and personally,” shared Heather Cardin, Head of Training at eHealth NSW.

Woman conversing with man standing behind reception desk.

Offering both broad and targeted cloud training to meet different needs

The Digital Academy began with a broad-based approach to its upskilling program and currently has nine streams, including; Agile, Analytics, Cloud, Cybersecurity, Human-Centred Design, Safety & Quality, Service Management, and Start with the Customer in Mind.

To develop the cloud stream, Bespoke Training Services and AWS Training and Certification worked closely with eHealth NSW in 2020 to map AWS courses to existing roles within the organization. From there, Bespoke Training Services and AWS made recommendations on the formal training and events to upskill staff across different pathways. This ensures staff have the necessary skills to perform their role after the migration.

As of October 2022, Bespoke Training Services and AWS Training and Certification have supported 6 Game and Jam Days, 30 practice events, as well as over 40 Learning Bytes events. In 2021 alone, AWS Training and Certification delivered training to over 630 technical and non-technical employees through the Digital Academy AWS Cloud Stream.

"I was impressed by the comprehensive upskilling program. It accounted for the varying levels of cloud proficiency within the eHealth NSW team and elevated our knowledge,” shared Oktay Tasdemir, Technical Analyst at eHealth NSW.

“The trainers’ in-depth knowledge, coupled with their willing-to-help attitude, made for a fantastic training experience,” Oktay added.

To better align its training to the specific needs of the organisation and ongoing projects, eHealth NSW refined the Academy with more targeted training, such as Architecting on AWS in Q4 2021. AWS Training and Certification ran an AWS Learning Needs Analysis to identify capability gaps within project delivery teams across eHealth NSW. These findings were then used to develop training plans that were tailored to the changing learning needs and current project objectives, including formal and informal training, both in-person and self-paced.

eHealth NSW aims to train the majority of our 2,000 staff under the Cloud stream by 2023, including more than 1,500 of them on multi-day associate, advanced and specialty AWS courses.

“Investing in our staff’s development not only provides rewarding personal growth opportunities, it also contributes to improvements in the quality of patient care provided to the residents of NSW,” said Farhoud Salimi, Executive Director of Service Delivery at eHealth NSW.