Fixing NHS IT
A Plan of Action
for a New Government
About This Publication 6
About The Authors 7
1. Executive Summary 9 6. National Infrastructure & Organisation 39
1.1. Background 9 6.1 National Infrastructure and Services 39
1.2. Key Drivers 9 N3 (Contract: BT 2004-2011) 39
1.3. The Programme in Overview 9 NHSmail (Contract: Cable & Wireless 2004-2013) 39
1.4. Local Service Providers 9 PACS 40
1.5. Under-exploited Opportunities beyond the Programme 10 Spine (Contract: BT 2003-2013) 40
1.6. National/Local IT Services 11 Choose and Book (CaB) (Contract: ATOS 2003-2009) 42
Fig1.1 Plan for Action 11 EPS (Contract – part of BT Spine) 42
HealthSpace - and Personal Health Records 43
2. Introduction 14 6.2 Future National IT Organisation & Structure 44
2.1 Background 14 Fig 6.1 Required Future National IT Organisations 45
2.2 Government’s responsibility for Health IT 14 NHS IT Set-up 46
2.3 This Report 15
A. Appendix: List of Contributors 47
3. Where can Healthcare IT Offer most Opportunity? 17
3.1 Electronic Health Records 17 B. Appendix: Glossary 48
Fig3.1 Organisational Challenges affecting the CRS 18
3.2 Telemedicine 19 C. Appendix: Relevant EC Communications on EHRs
3.3 Collaboration and Communication Technology 19 and Telemedicine 50
3.4 Prescribing Value Chain 20 The EHR IMPACT Study 50
3.5 Document & Record Management 21 Telemedicine 50
3.6 Shared Services 22
D. Appendix: Case Study - Transformation through Collaboration
4. NHS IT / NPfIT in Overview 23 and Communication Technology 52
4.1 The NHS Needs for IT 23
4.2 What NPfIT intended to do 24 E. Appendix: Case Study – Developing an ICP-based EPR
4.3 The Situation now 25 system in the Independent Sector 53
4.4 Guiding Principles for the Future 27
F. Appendix: LSP Recent History & Developments 54
5. Localised NHS IT 28 London LSP (BT as LSP) 54
5.1 The Original LSP Model – in Concept 28 North Midlands East (CSC as LSP) 54
5.2 Why have there been such Difficulties? 29 South (formerly Fujitsu as LSP) 55
5.3 LSP Progress and Recent Developments 30
5.4 The LSP way forward 31 G. Appendix: EPR Architectural Options 56
5.5 What alternatives exist to the LSP model? 32
Architecture 33 H. Appendix: Open Source as an Option 57
Interoperability, Standards and Open Source 33
Delivering Shared Care across Local Health Communities 35 About 2020health 58
Procurement and Catalogues 36
Since the creation of the £12billion National Programme for Information Technology in 2002, the subject of
NHS IT in England has been much commented on, not least because of its ambition, delivery record and cost.
A new Government would need to assess how to gain the best from IT investment in the NHS and what should
be done with the centrally run Programme. There is a risk of a hiatus around NHS IT after the Election.
In response, 2020health believed it would be helpful if we undertook a short, independent research project to
map out an action plan for NHS IT, with a particular focus on the Programme, to assist policy makers determine
the way forward.
The NHS is shifting more and more to a complex, federated system and away from a centralised hierarchical
1.2 Key Drivers
model. This has profound implications for IT.
As the plurality of providers grows, IT becomes a vital prerequisite to enable patient-centric, joined up
healthcare services. As care becomes more personalised, patients increasingly want access to their own health
records, have control over who has access to them, and exercise informed choice over their care.
A new Government must work IT planning intrinsically into its policy and strategy (not treat IT as a cost - it is
an asset). A constant dialogue is needed on strategy, refreshed at least yearly, linking business / policy plans to
IT investment priorities, governance, processes and capabilities that the NHS needs.
The perception that IT projects can be axed, or made successful simply by renegotiating contracts, is entirely
false. Unless a new Government genuinely recognises that they must deliver massive change in the way health
and care are provided, supported by IT, they will fail again. Localising / fragmenting the existing problems will
only make things worse.
The Programme was conceived to address the problems of a highly fragmented IT situation across England. Its
1.3 The Programme in Overview
central feature is the NHS Care Records Service, with a central core (the NHS Spine, a national database of key
information about patients’ health and care) supported by a national infrastructure. The two remaining Local
Service Providers are responsible for the delivery of local care records solutions, which connect into the Spine.
In retrospect it is clear that the Programme tried to do too much, too quickly, with a limited focus on early
winners to gain credibility and acceptance with the NHS. There was a collective failure to get the Programme
positioned as an enabler for transforming healthcare services, and gain full clinical engagement and
While the delivery of the overall vision remains 5 or more years away, the Programme has had some success,
especially in delivering infrastructure, defining standards and some local care records.
The Programme’s most significant failure lies in acute hospitals where centrally provided solutions have been
1.4 Local Service Providers
very late because the NHS does not conform to a ‘one size fits all’ model, and for a mixture of contractual,
software delivery and deployment reasons.
There have been successive attempts to make the Local Service Providers model work better over the years
through several contract resets, with some improvement. Both contractors are now in further contract resets, due
for conclusion by 31 March. As a starting point, a new Government must test the contractual arrangements and quality well ahead of where many are now. Over time, the NHS should therefore address consolidation
baseline plans against key criteria that we set out in the main body of the report. opportunities, such as rationalising NHS data centres into either large-scale off-site facilities or a “cloud-based”
provision, once established and safe.
Without sight or knowledge of the commercial situation or current state of negotiations, we do not know how
close the revised arrangements are to meeting these criteria. Furthermore, where feasible, IT staff should be organised into shared services aligned to the natural health
communities that they serve. i.e. county or metropolitan level, to deliver more critical mass and offer career
Irrespective, there are elements of the local solutions that work well (e.g. infrastructure; shared care records in progression. Going forward these local organisations should take responsibility for strategy, integration with
primary and community care; secure data centres) and these should continue in one form or another. In the national programmes and play a leading role in the selection and implementation of front-line systems.
hospital area, much has been invested in time and money, some sites are operational and we are told that both
solutions are close to being fully ready.
In the event that the new Local Service Provider arrangements do not meet the criteria, the acute solutions Our view is a national approach to IT should only be taken when one or more of three principles can be met:
1.6 National/Local IT Services
should be exposed to competition with the small number of other viable solutions, through becoming part of
an acute systems procurement catalogue. Local health communities could call-off what they need based on their • to avoid redundant variation for infrastructure and back-office solutions on a once and once only basis;
own capability, maturity, starting point and plans.
• to provide economies of scale, associated with using NHS purchasing power;
The catalogue should be created and coordinated centrally, but be accountable to the NHS. To incentivise
Trusts to use the catalogue, partial central funding should be available. Suppliers must show clear adherence to • to meet the ‘national’ nature of NHS patient care, through essential central coordination
well defined interoperability standards. or regulation, e.g. standards, security.
This would also allow fairness in those parts of the NHS which already fall outside the preserve of Local Service A new Government would wish to do an urgent stock-take of NHS IT projects, assets and organisation against
Providers (principally the South). A process is underway to provide local solutions here but there is a risk that these principles and we set out specific recommendations in Figure 1.1. It shows our recommended plan for
contracts may be rushed through, resulting in a sub-optimal solution for the NHS. action for NHS IT for the new administration’s first 12 months in office. The timetable is explicitly tight, since
long drawn out reviews are not what is required. We do not have access to accurate costing information,
Adherence to standards here is a critical element but there is as yet no ‘magic bullet’. There is a vibrant but believe the recommendations in totality will save more than £1bn and accelerate improvements to
community internationally, in which the centre participates on behalf of the NHS. Here we recommend that patient outcomes.
the centre take a more practical but informed approach, and follow international/ EU standards unless there
is an overwhelming case otherwise. National IT organisation(s) would be needed to deliver relevant services in support of these principles. The
presumption is that they should have a limited remit and be performance managed by the NHS. They need to
exhibit a culture of transparency, pragmatism, and learning / promulgating lessons to support NHS-wide IT-
enabled change. A small, linked organisation is also needed to interpret policy as a bridge with the Department
A new Government needs to consider carefully the potential of: of Health and set a national direction for IT.
1.5 Under-exploited Opportunities beyond the Programme
• telemedicine (to provide remote access to specialised care, extending the reach of clinicians Beyond this, and respecting any nationally agreed contracts already in place, local NHS organisations should be free
into the domestic care setting, improving service and overall efficiency); to set their own strategy to take advantage of national assets, with far greater emphasis on local choice of front-line
systems. A single IT strategy must be set at the local health community level (i.e. to match the scope of the local IT
• collaboration services (network technology, enabling productivity & mobility, as a platform for organisation - e.g. county-based), as opposed to a free-for-all which would be impractical. Foundation Trusts would
improving working practices); not be mandated to participate but would be encouraged, in order to meet the local healthcare strategy.
• electronic document records management (scanned paper medical records). The totality of IT provision must support the delivery of joined-up care. The emphasis must be on technology-
enabled service improvement aligned to the core process of delivering care to improve patient outcomes, as
In each case pilots have taken place and there is a need to define a national strategy based on best practice in opposed to an over-emphasis on technology.
the UK and elsewhere, including both technology and process change aspects. Where appropriate, enabling
national infrastructure would need to be procured and/or establish call-off catalogue arrangements as required.
Although the Programme is helping to address the matter of improving the prescribing value chain (i.e. the
electronic linkage of patients, prescribers, dispensers and the reimbursement agency), a review is needed to
secure clinical and administrative benefits in a timelier manner than the current plans.
Finally, the nature of the current provision at local NHS IT level is highly-fragmented, with limited resilience
against failure. If the NHS is to get value out of IT, local IT services need to be transformed to a scale and
(The references relate to specific recommendations in the main report. The benefits to be derived from the
Figure 1.1 Plan for Action
activity are shown in italics.)
Theme 0-3 months 3-6 months 6-12 months Theme 0-3 months 3-6 months 6-12 months
Accelerate 6.G Deploy no-cost patient access to 3.D: Accelerate adoption of case notes 3.A: Telemedicine: Establish a national Enabling 5.C: Interoperability and standards: 5.B: Integration technologies: Initiate 5.D: Open Source: Commission research
benefits GP systems, where practical (enable scanning and record technology in framework on how best to exploit its local IT Ensure centre is taking a practical, research and pilots to test out the viability around the potential of clinical Open
personalised care) hospitals. (clerical & clinical productivity, potential, based on best practice in the informed and transparent approach, and impact on business case of different Source solutions in the NHS, with a view
patient experience – fewer wasted visits UK and elsewhere (patient experience adopting international/ EU ones unless local approaches (flexibility of IT to exploiting its potential in the medium
3.C Review, simplify (where feasible) and from lost notes) and control over own care, remote there is an overwhelming case otherwise approach, enabling market innovation, term (improve collaboration, cost savings,
accelerate Electronic Prescriptions Service access to clinical specialists, clinical (enabling interoperability and local cost savings) transparency, remove high barriers to
(back office savings, reduced fraud and productivity) choice of systems) entry for innovative suppliers)
wastage, patient safety) 5.E: Local Health Communities: Review
3.C Prepare coherent strategy to bring and establish best practice for local 3.E: Local IT: Assess potential from
3.B Leverage immediate opportunities for together a unified prescription record shared care records (patient safety and consolidating NHS data centres and other
collaborative technology, using Nottingham across primary and secondary care experience, clinical and clerical local infrastructure management (4.A, 6.I)
as a case model (patient throughput and (patient safety, monitoring effectiveness productivity) (6.E) (economies of scale, improved service)
experience in A&E, clinical productivity) nationally of treatment programmes)
3.E: Local IT: Assess potential from
consolidating local IT staffing (4.A, 4.B,
Develop Retain and restate commitment to key 6.A: N3: Ensure N3 is capable of meeting 6.A: N3: Plan for N3’s successor, to meet 6.I) (economies of scale, improved
& exploit national infrastructure: N3, NHSmail, bandwidth and other capability needs in tomorrow’s needs and fit into the evolving service, more career progression for
PACS, Spine (excepting the Summary Care the medium term, for exploiting Public Sector Network (platform for future) IT staff)
Record- SCR) (exploit sunk investment) telemedicine, collaborative technology etc
(3.B) (platform for future) 3.B: Collaboration and communications
technology: establish a national Strategy & 4.B: Stock-take: Test the existing IT 4.A: NHS and social care IT strategy: 6.I: National IT organisations: Rationalise
6.B: NHSmail: Ensure the current and framework on how best to exploit its Organisation activities of the centre against the guiding Create and publish a new national and re-organise current central functions,
future service meets the needs of the potential (6.A) (clinical productivity and principles in 1.6, to inform the future strategy, in the context of new to meet the new national organisational
largest Trusts. (reduce redundant mobility, management of scarce scope of national IT programmes and Government policy, setting out a clear remit and required future functions (3.E,
variation across NHS) resources – cost savings, patient organisation(s) (purpose, effectiveness, direction of travel for informatics, 4.B, 4.A) (aligned governance to NHS,
experience) efficiency) including IT, and a costed plan. (on-going effectiveness and cost savings)
6.C: PACS: Develop national business alignment of IT to policy objectives,
case on extending PACS into other 6.B: NHSmail: Review options in advance clarity of direction)
imaging modalities, and to enable image of contract expiry (platform for future)
sharing across NHS. (patient safety and
experience, clinical productivity) 6.C: PACS: Assess possible service
delivery options prior to contract expiry
prior to contract expiry (cost savings)
Review, halt 5.A: LSPs:Review of progress and Depending on 5.A, 5.F: Look to create
or repurpose contracts. Retain those elements that an acute systems procurement
work well, e.g. infrastructure, primary, catalogue to open up competition
mental health and community care and choice (cost savings, sharing of
solutions. Halt acute deployments, pause experience, avoid unwieldy or fragmented
and reflect on case for continuing with procurements)
current approach (minimise hiatus,
exploit sunk investment) 6.F: Choose & Book: Review in context
of new Government policy on choice (If
5.F: ASCC procurements in the South: to be retained, assess how to improve
halt and test the effectiveness of the its ease of use and fit to local business
procurements (ensure optimal route processes)
6.G: HealthSpace: Review options in
6.E: SCR: Halt SCR roll-out, initiate a the light of decisions on SCR (6.E).
review of it – covering clinical validation, Consider enabling connectivity to 3rd
architecture / security and business case – party PHR suppliers (enable patient
consider repurposing it as an ‘urgent care access to their records, more
record’ (simplify, clarify purpose, address personalised care, cost savings)
BMA and others concerns)
Indeed, the current Government has not adequately taken into account the cost and complexity of IT investment that
Since the creation of the National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT) in 2002 , the subject of its policies have created, before launching policy initiative after policy initiative (e.g. Choose & Book, 18 week wait).
NHS IT in England has been much commented on, not least because of its ambition, delivery record and cost.
In particular, the National Audit Office presented two reports on NPfIT (in 20062 and 20083) to the Public A new Government must work IT planning intrinsically into its policy and strategy (not treat IT as a cost - it is
Accounts Committee (PAC) and in turn the PAC made evident its concern with NPfIT’s progress, given the an asset). A constant dialogue is needed on strategy, refreshed at least yearly, linking business and policy plans
planned expenditure of over £12 billion. to IT investment priorities, governance, processes and capabilities that the NHS needs.
To deliver savings to the taxpayer and enable improved patient outcomes, a new Government would need to We return to and address these themes throughout our report.
consider profound changes to NHS IT and NPfIT. For example, the Conservatives commissioned an
“Independent Review of NHS and Social Care IT” which, when it reported in summer 2009, suggested a new
direction for NHS IT towards a more localised approach based on a clear interoperability framework. In
response to this, the Conservative Party set out high level policy in terms of a move away from the current Building on the 2020health seminar of May 2009 on “Using IT to deliver improved patient outcomes”, our work
2.3 This Report
centralised model to one where local health organisations drive the IT that they require4. Likewise the Liberal took place over an 8 week period between late January and March 2010. The work has explored a number of
Democrats have recently signalled that they see localisation as the way ahead5. key issues:
On a wider basis, in January 2010, the Government published its Government Information Communications • where best IT can support the transformation of healthcare services;
& Technology (ICT) strategy6 to “deliver a high quality ICT infrastructure…against a background of economic
pressures…to enable the transformation of the way public services run”. • how local NHS IT should be taken forward, especially in hospitals;
Whatever its outcome, after the General Election there is a risk of a hiatus around NHS IT. In response, • the role of standards and procurement catalogues in enabling NHS IT;
2020health believe it would be helpful to map out a blueprint and high-level implementation plan for NHS IT,
with a particular focus on NPfIT. This could assist policy makers (irrespective of who forms the next Government • the guiding principles that should drive national approaches to IT;
in 2010) in forming a view on the best way forward.
• the way forward for current national IT infrastructure, services and organisation.
As a short, sharp study, it was not practical to attempt to cover the full scope of a review that a new Government
Arguably, the only means a new Government will be able to meet the demand and productivity targets that the would no doubt require, and in particular time did not permit us to address such important matters as the following:
2.2 Government’s responsibility for Health IT
NHS is facing, is for IT-enabled new ways of working.
• NHS-social care interaction (a highly complex subject in its own right);
Health, and health IT, is uniquely complex and requires expert leadership and interpretation. There is no such
thing as a health "IT" project in isolation, its success depends on several integrated strategies and activities - • back office systems;
policy, business decisions and processes, clinical processes, organisation, employee engagement and technology.
• GP computing (which, relative to the rest of NHS IT, is a success story and where the plan
The perception that IT projects can be axed, or made successful simply by renegotiating contracts, is entirely of action is clear);
false. Unless a new Government genuinely recognises that they must deliver massive change in the way health
and care are provided, supported by IT, they will fail again. Localising or fragmenting the existing problems • the role and effectiveness of NHS Enterprise-wide agreements;
will only make things worse.
• information governance.
Over the last 20-30 years, centrally led NHS IT projects have more often than not resulted in technology for its
own sake, with limited upward linkage to policy and forward integration into genuine business benefit for the Relevant stakeholders and industry specialists were consulted through a total of 30 interviews and workshops,
NHS. The net result has frequently been additional cost, failure to meet the critical business needs, and many of them anonymous (see Appendix A). In total, the NHS viewpoint covered representative views from
sometimes new islands of technology. across the country, from a range of IT leaders and clinicians. This did not include NHS Connecting for Health
(CFH). Industry input was received from a wide range of international and UK IT providers to the NHS. A
number of other thought leaders were also consulted, including members of the ‘Independent IT Review’
team. 2020health gratefully acknowledges all the contributions which have made this report possible.
02 Introduction 03 Where can Healthcare IT
Offer most Opportunity?
The remainder of the report is structured as follows: In 2006, the Royal Society commissioned a policy report on Digital Healthcare7. Its views resonate well four
• Section 3 – Where does healthcare IT offer the most opportunity? – building on best practice nationally
and internationally as context. “Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have the potential to transform radically the delivery of healthcare and to address
future health challenges. Whether they actually do so will depend on the design and implementation processes sufficiently accounting
• Section 4 – NHS IT / NPfIT in Overview – describes the key NHS requirements of IT, describes for the users’ needs, and the provision of adequate support and training after their introduction.
what NPfIT was intended to address, the current situation and proposes guiding principles for the future.
For example, patients may be able to monitor chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes in their own homes using modified mobile
• Section 5 – Localised NHS IT – describes the current situation around the delivery of systems by ‘phones to access and process their data, which may give greater convenience and better management of their conditions and reduce
Local Service Providers (LSPs) and what alternatives exist, especially in the delivery of IT to support the the need to visit their local health centre. Electronic health records (EHRs) should allow healthcare professionals access to patients’
clinical operational needs of hospitals and local health communities. data wherever they are in the country and potentially worldwide. This should allow the many different healthcare professionals with
whom an individual interacts during their treatment (who are often in different locations) to share information and make better
• Section 6 – National Infrastructure & Organisation – considers the way forward for the NPfIT informed healthcare decisions.
national infrastructure services and what should be the structure and remit of future national organisations.
It also considers how best Personal Health Records may be delivered. The single most important factor in realising the potential of healthcare ICTs is the people who use them. The end users of any new
technology must be involved at all stages of the design, development and implementation, taking into account how people work together
In addition there are several supporting appendices, including a glossary of terms (Appendix B). and how patients, carers and healthcare professionals interact.
To deal with the complexities of the healthcare environment we strongly advocate an incremental and iterative approach to the design,
implementation and evaluation of healthcare ICTs.”
In the course of our research project, we asked about our contributors where they most felt IT in healthcare
should play a role. The following summarises them.
As introduced above, EHRs provide the basis for cross-sector records sharing. They represent a common,
3.1 Electronic Health Records
universal vision. In 2009, the European Commission (EC) published a series of reports on the socio-economic
impact of interoperable EHRs and ePrescribing systems in Europe and beyond8. The case studies represented
projects which had been long running and several had close relevance to the NHS in England.
Appendix C provides a summary of key conclusions of the report. They make for powerful reading. Overall,
the authors conclude that,
“For all cases, the socio-economic gains to society from interoperable EHR and ePrescribing systems eventually exceed the costs,
albeit quite often only after a considerable length of time. This is why investment in such systems is worthwhile, and justifies their
net financial boost…the results of the EHR IMPACT study give grounds for optimism in the success, value and deployment of
interoperable EHR and ePrescribing systems across Europe.”
While these reports reference developments on cross-sector records sharing, many of the opportunities and
challenges also remain valid in planning for the implementation of care record solutions within healthcare
providers, typically referred to as Electronic Patient Records (EPRs). Essential organisational ingredients to
implementing EPRs successfully include: clinical leadership, empowered to and able to assume an enterprise-
wide role; accountable senior responsible officers (SROs), ideally the Chief Executive; formal project gateway
reviews; and effective benefits management. Figure 3.1 provides a case example in support of this.
We return to this in more detail in Section 5.
03 Where can Healthcare IT
Offer most Opportunity?
In 2008, the EC sent a Communication9 to European organisations including the European Parliament on
Figure 3.1- Organisational Challenges affecting the CRS 3.2 Telemedicine
telemedicine for the benefit of patients, healthcare systems and society. Appendix C also provides a summary
of key conclusions of the Communication. It concluded that
As an example of the serious organisational systems, like maternity or pathology systems, the
challenges associated with implementing CRS, Chief Executive cannot just approve the EPR
“Telemedicine can improve access to specialised care in areas suffering from a shortage of expertise, or in areas where access to
David Kwo the then IT Director at Chelsea & business case and let the clinicians and IT
healthcare is difficult…Telemedicine will only realise its full potential if Member States engage actively in integrating it into their
Westminster NHS Trust spoke of experiences in specialists ‘get on with it’.
implementing its EPR in the 1990’s:
EPRs are mandatory. Unlike other systems, clinical
In contrast to EHRs which form part of NPfIT, the NHS in England has taken a very different approach to
“Our experience was that the main EPR challenges staff have no choice as to whether or not to use EPR
Telemedicine. Three large scale Whole System Demonstrators were established and a major national evaluation
were not really technological or funding-related as part of their jobs. Our doctors must use the EPR
is due to be published later in 2010.
(although the right technologies and budgets are for their everyday activities, e.g. to order tests, to
essential), they are about clear vision and access results, to prescribe drugs, to find a bed, to
While evident that Telemedicine can offer a great potential, it does create challenges, especially in terms of its
management resolve, particularly given the number book a clinic appointment, to schedule a physio, to
funding and impact on current reimbursement schemes. There are also important legal and ethical issues to
of years it takes to realise the vision. pre-assess a surgical admission, etc.
be addressed. These issues aside, by extending the reach of physicians into the domestic care setting, there is
considerable scope for service improvement and more efficient delivery of care.
Clinical leadership is essential to ensure that EPRs EPRs are pervasive. Practically every single staff
are driven by process redesign, benefits member and patient that comes into contact with the
Without clear direction from the centre, the risk is that a fragmented, point-to-point approach is adopted without
management and the movement to improve the organisation is affected by it.
taking advantage of common national infrastructure.
quality of medical care through evidence-based
medicine. EPRs are dynamic and developmental and can go
Recommendation 3.A: an incoming Government needs to establish a national framework on how best to exploit
on to support new and changing clinical
the potential of telemedicine, based on best practice in the UK and elsewhere. In particular, it needs to:
Chief Executives, not IT specialists, are the prime requirements long into the future, as any good
movers of EPRs. The Chief Executive needs to drive adaptive system should do.
review and publish the results of the Whole System Demonstrators;
personally the overall organisational change
programme (i.e. modernisation) which EPR EPRs should be the basis of clinical research
procure enabling national infrastructure and/or establish call-off catalogue arrangements as required;
implementations can and should catalyse. because they are like any other powerful medical
advance that has the potential to both do great harm
support the wider NHS in adapting their care processes and procuring the enabling technology.
Furthermore, EPRs take a long time to implement. and do great good: they need to be evidence-based
They require the Chief Executive’s personal attention and high quality clinical research is needed to
over a period of years, like a major building project. prove or disprove their value as they evolve (we are
But, unlike building projects, EPRs cannot be only at the beginning of their development and
We face an environment where there is a need to deliver dramatic improvements in productivity, safety and
3.3 Collaboration and Communication Technology
‘handed-over’ to a project manager to deliver deployment curve).”
quality through reliable, repeatable processes in a knowledge industry that has many human-action processes.
because there are practically no EPR project
Health record applications are necessary but not sufficient here.
managers in the NHS who have ‘done it all before’
The Internet Protocol (IP) network provides a platform to deliver collaborative applications that can improve
productivity, mobility and be a foundation for business transformation. By this is meant a variety of applications
EPRs are invasive. Constructing a building is less
identified in Cisco’s ‘Network Architecture Blueprint for the NHS’, for example:
complicated than an EPR in terms of the deep-
rooted clinical/operational processes being
video – learning, consultations, carbon savings;
redesigned which must therefore be Chief
mobility – asset and people tracking, anytime, anywhere access to information;
EPRs are hospital wide. Unlike departmental
communications, collaboration and messaging – improving links to Social Care and others,
identifying expertise, instant referrals;
• intelligent buildings – lower capital costs, energy efficiency, improved estate security.
9. COM(2008) 689
03 Where can Healthcare IT
Offer most Opportunity?
Through rigorous analysis of current business processes, the technology can be exploited in line with new support solutions available today. The Audit Commission report “A Spoonful of Sugar” in December 2001
organisational design and practice to make dramatic clinical productivity and patient satisfaction improvements offers some interesting statistics:
• 10.8% of patients admitted to hospital experience an adverse event;
Appendix D references a report just published (see www.accaglobal.com) on the audited evidence of the benefits
gained from technology-enabled transformation in the A&E department at Nottingham University Hospital • each adverse event leads to an average 8.5 additional days in hospital, costing the NHS
NHS Trust (NUH). around £500m per year;
As co-sponsors, the European Commission stated in the report’s foreword that it provides “a persuasive account of • 70% of these errors could be eliminated by the use of computerised prescribing and
the huge impact the new communications infrastructure deployed at NUH has had on re-engineering the day-to-day working processes clinical information systems;
of its emergency department.” In particular, it shows a reduction in the patient journey time of 23% for adult patients
and 33% for paediatric patients, and an increase in clinical productivity of 12%. • 1,200 lives per year can be saved.
The report makes a compelling case to exploit IP-based communications and collaboration technology on a The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) will enable prescribers - such as GPs and practice nurses - to send
wider basis beyond busy A&E departments, e.g.: prescriptions electronically to a dispenser (such as a pharmacy) of the patient's choice. When fully implemented,
it is designed to connect with the reimbursement agency (Prescription Pricing Division). This would enable
• in acute hospitals, where process times are dependent on human-human, ungoverned processes that substantial back-office savings as well as providing a rich source of connected prescription information at a
can be accelerated, made visible, repeatable and reliable. For example, the discharge of in-patients national level. The issue here is one of scope and urgency of the roll-out.
where ward, pharmacy and transport functions must collaborate efficiently to free up bed-space quickly;
Recommendation 3.C: A full review of the existing EPS programme is needed with a view to securing clinical
• to assist the efficient execution of processes that cross professional or organisational boundaries - and administrative benefits in a timelier manner.
e.g. in community nursing or provision of poly-services.
The review should define a phased approach with increasing scope and maturity, for both primary and
Recommendation 3.B: a new Government would need to establish a national framework on how best to exploit secondary care, taking into account the long-term needs of the prescribing stakeholder community and the
the potential of collaboration and communications technology, based on best practice in the UK benefits that can be secured by changes to both front-line and administrative processes.
The national role should be to establish best practice linked to a series of model business cases. Beyond this,
further activity should follow a similar pattern to that of telemedicine regarding infrastructure and call-off If the widespread adoption of EHRs represents tomorrow’s vision, then today’s reality in hospitals is paper
3.5 Document & Record Management
arrangements linked to favourable NHS-wide pricing. However, as always the emphasis must not be on case notes, the legacy cost of which will be with the NHS for many years to come. Many new hospital builds
technology but instead on the realisation of benefits through more efficient working practices linked in turn to have no capacity for the storage of physical records.
a sound business case.
The key driver on the path towards being paperless or ‘paperlite’, is the role of Electronic Document Record
Management (EDRM) solutions in respect of the paper case notes. EDRM provides a way to scan, digitise and
store the paper records, so that the clinician not only can see the electronic information from the point of
Primary care prescribing is a multi-billion pound industry, the supply chain is supported by a series of point implementation through the EPR but also an integrated scanned view of the historic record. It is essential that
3.4 Prescribing Value Chain
information technology solutions and a large and expensive central administrative infrastructure. EDRM solutions fit well with clinical practice and must meet patient safety and information governance
Experience from other countries such as the US, where the prescribing value chain management is more mature,
is that IT has the potential to: address the significant levels of fraud; help reduce drug wastage; improve control EDRM solutions were not included as a core LSP service at the outset. The view of some we spoke to is that
over prescribing habits (e.g. use of generics); and improve patient safety through a reduction in medication errors. the technology has now matured to the point where it is robust, scalable, affordable and quickly deployable.
More work needs to be done on its business case and to learn lessons from early pilots. The potential benefits
Clinicians also pointed out to us the value of a complete medication record across primary and secondary care. are significant around clerical and clinical productivity for notes that are regularly accessed, as well as the patient
A focus upon providing tools to raise the levels of acute prescribing to those of primary care and to provide for care benefits from the avoidance of cancelled appointments due to lost notes, and the savings in the space
reconciliation and a local shared medication record would have an immediate and dramatic impact both upon needed to store paper files.
acute sector patient safety and improved medication management and outcomes across the continuum.
Recommendation 3.D: A review is needed of EDRM experience to-date, to establish both the maturity of the
Whilst the use of electronic prescribing in the primary care context is almost universal, in contrast the market technology solutions and the associated business case, with a view to accelerating its adoption in hospitals.
penetration in acute sector is minimal. There is a small unit within CFH that provides helpful guidance on
ePrescribing in hospitals. The economic benefits and patient safety issues are well suited to the hospital decision
03 Where can Healthcare IT 04 NHS IT / NPfIT in Overview
Offer most Opportunity?
It may be that the national role should be to establish best practice linked to a series of model business cases, Self-evidently, IT needs to respond to the business and clinical needs of its users and not be an end in itself. In
and in time associated national pricing and call-off arrangements. In addition, guidance should be shared on this section we introduce some of those needs, describe what NPfIT was intended to address, what the current
the necessary front-line and back office process changes needed to secure the associated benefits. situation now is and propose what should be guiding principles for the future.
The NHS itself has a highly varied estate of data centres and computer rooms. At the top end, the NPfiT- Since the advent of NPfIT, sadly there has been no published, overarching health informatics strategy10 that sets out
3.6 Shared Services 4.1 The NHS Needs for IT
provided services come from highly resilient, state-of-the-art Data Centres. At the other extreme, by clearly the clinical and business objectives that IT needs to support, and explains how the different elements of the
extrapolation there are at least 500+ local NHS computer rooms, some of which would fail rudimentary health IT architecture fit together now and in the future in support of these objectives, providing a realistic expectation of
and safety checks (e.g. we heard of one centre with rat infestations). future plans. Crucially an active link is needed between NHS policy makers and those responsible for informatics11.
The NHS has examples of IT-related shared business service programmes. The most noteworthy are the Most recently, the NHS guidance on Informatics Planning guidance 2010/11 states, “to support the NHS in a
Electronic Staff Record (ESR) which provides a single NHS-wide HR and payroll system, and the Shared coordinated national approach, an updated strategic direction for informatics will be developed over the coming months in collaboration
Business Services (SBS) which delivers a finance and accounting shared service to about 120 trusts. While each with the NHS and its partners, to move from a ‘replace all’ to a ‘connect all’ philosophy.”
is rightly regarded as a success in its own right, at a local IT level, there are complaints because they operate
separate engagement and service delivery models to NPfIT. Although both run on Oracle platforms, there is We take it as a starting point that all political parties are committed to the NHS being and remaining a publicly
minimal integration only at the file transfer level. funded health service, with healthcare largely free at the point of delivery, based around a federated model of
healthcare provision. The recent trend is for it to become more federated, as provider plurality increases and
The unit of organisation of NHS IT staff varies from the small hospital-level IT functions to county or SHA- patients exercise more choice. The NHS is shifting more and more to a complex adaptive system and away from
wide shared service provision. In many cases these organisations are below critical mass in scale and unable to a centralised hierachial model. This has profound implications for IT.
attract/retain the range and depth of IT skills required. However local knowledge, accountability and
ownership is essential for successful implementation of frontline clinical systems. Reinforced by the economic constraints facing the UK, and in the context of an ageing population, future
healthcare will most likely entail a further substantial shift of resources away from highly expensive acute care
If the NHS is to get value out of IT, local IT services need to be transformed to a scale and quality well ahead to more localised provision including polyclinics and home based care, with an increased emphasis on public
of where many are now. healthcare and self-care.
Recommendation 3.E: Assess what economies and improved service can be gained from consolidating NHS data For example, the Transforming Community Services Programme aims to improve community services so that
centres and local IT staffing: they can “provide modern personalised and responsive care of a consistently high standard”. It will involve significant re-
provisioning of current PCT-provided services, potentially leading to more providers. And in London, for
1. where practical, NHS data centres to be consolidated into either large-scale facilities or a “cloud-based” example, 130 ‘poly-systems’ around polyclinics are being developed, which will radically change not only
provision, once established and safe.; primary and community care, but remove substantial parts of current care provision from acute hospitals.
2. the ESR and SBS Programmes to be examined for potential integration into the wider NHS At the same time, and in response to the Darzi Next Stage Reviews, the NHS is demanding an increased focus
infrastructure; on delivering quality – for example, the Commissioning for Quality & Innovation (CQUIN) framework is
intended to “reward genuine ambition and stretch, encouraging a culture of continuous quality improvement in all providers.”
3. where appropriate, and if agreed to by affected Foundation Trusts, IT staff should be organised into
shared services aligned to the natural health communities that they serve. i.e. county or at most SHA The full IT implications of this shift in care provisioning priorities are difficult to predict. As the plurality of
level. Consideration should be given to national career ladders and professional development paths, providers grows, IT becomes a vital prerequisite to enable patient-centric, joined up healthcare services at the
together with staff exchange programmes to the benefit of all concerned. In future, these local point of care. It has a key role in measuring performance and enabling patient participation through the use
organisations should take responsibility for strategy, integration with national programmes and play a of information produced as a by-product of data collected in supporting core care processes12.
leading role in the implementation of front-line systems, following national guidance. They should work
under the local clinical leadership of IT-enabled change programmes, reducing time, cost and local
variability in selecting clinical systems locally.
10. The most recent comprehensive NHS IT strategy dates from 2001 – “Building the Information Core: Implementing the NHS Plan”, which drew heavily on a more comprehensive
review in 1998 (‘Information for Health’). The 2002 document “Delivering 21st Century IT Support for the NHS” focused on setting out the basis for a national Programme, in
terms of the procurement and management approaches. The 2008 Health Informatics Review signaled a new direction in certain useful areas such as clinical engagement and leadership
but limited detail was given on the IT or future plans.
11. The implementation of the 18 week wait (referral to treatment) in 2006 was a case in point where policy implementation commitments were reputedly made without full regard
of the practical organisational and IT difficulties involved.
12. “We will make more use of information-based technologies to design new models of care as well as improving the performance of existing services. We will integrate information
around the patient, deliver relevant information at the right time to clinicians and use technology to drive efficiency for both patients and clinicians” NHS 2010–2015: from Good
to Great - DH December 2009
04 NHS IT / NPfIT in Overview
To that regard, any single organisation providing NHS care services cannot have a monopoly over its patient Other key components or work streams within the NPfIT are:
information. Its reimbursement must be based not only on adhering to quality metrics but in its adherence to
nationally agreed record sharing standards, subject to confidentiality and privacy constraints. • a national broadband IT network for the NHS (N3);
As individuals become more information aware and empowered through the web 2.0 revolution, the desire for • ‘NHSmail’ – a central email and directory service for the NHS;
more personalised care is rapidly growing. Patients increasingly want access to their own health records and
control over who has access to them. Not only do they want to connect with other patients with the same • ‘Choose and Book’, an electronic booking service (CaB);
condition, they want to connect with their GPs and other clinicians13.
• an Electronics Prescription Service (EPS);
Recommendation 4.A: A new national strategy is needed for NHS and social care IT, in the context of new
Government policy. • ‘Picture Archiving and Communications Systems’ (PACS);
The future Government needs to give early priority to setting a clear direction of travel for informatics and IT • IT supporting GPs including a system for GP to GP record transfer.
in the NHS and so give clarity to all stakeholders, within the context of its aspirations for the NHS and new
policy environment. The resulting strategy must support the policy and clinical agenda with due regard to
transformational change and overall cost of ownership. This needs to be consistent with and support the recently
published Government ICT strategy. A constant feature over the last 20-30 years has been that NHS Informatics has struggled with organisational
4.3 The Situation now
alignment in two senses:
• between a remote, central function and sub-scale IT departments in Trusts (except now in larger FTs
The aim of NPfIT was to assist the NHS in providing better, safer care, by delivering modern computer systems and some county Health Informatics Services);
4.2 What NPfIT intended to do
and services that improve how patient information is stored and accessed. CFH was formed in 2005 as a
Department of Health (DH) Directorate charged with delivering NPfIT. • the split between information and IT, including at the centre, has led, in many cases,
to a dysfunctional approach to collecting and processing information.
Over many years, the NHS has developed and deployed a number of key national information assets (e.g. a
common format NHS number, Read codes, NHS Central Register, NHSnet, Secondary Uses Service as the In regards to the latter, particularly with the demands for quality information, as one NHS IT Director
commissioning clearing service) which all had their origin long before NPfIT. All of these needed proper commented to us, “The NHS has developed an increasing and ravenous demand for information with little regard for how it
management, control and development and these were brought in and transformed under CFH. It is now will be collected and at what cost”. This issue applies to requirements for information emanating both from the
responsible for all nationally coordinated major IT programmes across the NHS. centre and from commissioners, leading to multiple short term local and national initiatives.
NPfIT was also conceived to address the problems of a highly fragmented IT situation across England14. If each provider now had an integrated EPR system as intended through the LSP Programme, the information
collection could flow as a by-product of the operational systems. Instead, the problem of IT silos has if anything
The detailed background and chronology behind the creation and execution of NPfIT has been well got worse and has militated against a strategic approach to IT at local level.
documented elsewhere and is not repeated here. In outline, the central feature is the NHS Care Records Service
(CRS), comprising central and local elements. The central core is the NHS Spine, which provides a unique Turning to the Programme itself, NPfIT sought both to specify and direct the central infrastructure (as enablers
reference point for patient demographic and summary clinical information, and the security and access controls for joined-up care the NHS) and to fix the local operational IT problem, especially in hospitals, community and
to central patient based data. LSPs are responsible for the delivery of care records locally, which connect into mental health services.
However, in retrospect it is clear that NPfIT tried to do too much, too quickly, with a limited focus on early
winners to gain credibility and acceptance with the NHS.
NPfIT has had a number of notable successes, including: the delivery of central infrastructure services; in the
13. “Our plans to transform care for patients with long-term conditions will involve people being offered personalised care planning and support for self-care. This will help them to roll-out of PACS across the country; in improving the professionalism of IT services in the NHS; in assurance
manage their condition and cope with any exacerbation of symptoms. New systems of care and technology will allow them, their carers and their professionals to monitor their care, processes to warrant systems connecting in with the national infrastructure; and in the delivery of IT solutions
intervene early to prevent deterioration and avoid hospital admissions.” NHS 2010–2015: from Good to Great - DH December 2009 in many primary, community and mental health organisations.
14. “In the past, individual NHS organisations procuring and maintaining their own IT systems and the procurement and development of IT within the NHS has been haphazard,
with individual NHS organisations procuring and maintaining their own IT systems, leading to thousands of different IT systems and configurations being in use in the NHS. These In directing a central push of IT solutions to the NHS, the perception was formed that NPfIT was trying to
are provided by hundreds of different suppliers, with differing levels of functionality in use across the country. The large number of different and incompatible systems has meant that impose IT (especially in that clinical engagement was limited initially). There was a collective failure to get
the NHS’s IT systems infrastructures have been built up to create silos of information, which, with few exceptions, are not shared or shareable even when, for example, different GP NPfIT positioned as an enabler for transformation of services. (During our work, we met with UK Specialist
practices use the same GP system. As a result, the information required for safe and efficient care may be absent. This directly impacts on clinicians’ ability to deliver holistic and Hospitals Limited, which operates four independent treatment centres in the South West. Although on a much
safe care. The Department did not consider this approach to have been successful, and one of the aims of the Programme has been to provide strong central direction of IT development, smaller scale, their approach started by developing the Integrated Care Pathways (ICPs) for each procedure to
and increase the rate of take-up of advanced IT” (NAO report on NPfIT 2006)
04 NHS IT / NPfIT in Overview
be undertaken, and then integrating them into an EPR system shared across the centres (see Appendix E). One aspect that NPfIT has successfully addressed was the historic low level of investments in IT, averaging less
than 2% of NHS revenue. The most recent survey conducted by CFH shows a projected NHS IT spend in
In 2007, the NPfIT Local Ownership Programme (NLOP) was introduced, promoting a shift in governance 2009/10 (revenue and capital) totalling £4bn, of which NPfIT’s share is £1.8bn17. This represents 3.15% of
towards NHS ownership over NPfIT, with CFH acting more in a supporting role. However, these arrangements total NHS revenue spend, and 25% of NHS capital spend.
are neither fully centralised (with authority to match) nor fully decentralised (local responsibility) and represent
a half-way house which lacks clear responsibilities and accountability. As commented earlier, CFH has driven a more standardised and professional approach to ICT, both nationally
and locally. For example, the National Infastructure Maturity Model (NIMM) Programme has provided a useful
What is required is a clear demarcation of responsibilities for business implementation, standards, procurement capability maturity tool used for benchmarking local IT infrastructure services. Additionally, the LSP
/ sourcing and process design. Some elements need to be national or ‘corporate’ (done once), some things need Programme set a useful mandate to ensure Trusts invest sufficiently to create a warranted technical environment.
a ‘collaborative, opt-in’ approach (with local responsibilities), and others purely local. We return to this in
Section 4.4 below. In contrast, it was pointed out to us that in the South, where there is now no LSP, this onus has been lost and some
Trusts are reluctant to invest in a sufficiently professional approach. In many areas outside the Programme, ICT
In summary, the delivery of the overall vision for the Care Records Service remains at least 5 years away, based around remains highly fragmented and variable, with many home grown solutions remaining supported by a ‘man in a
some major failures, especially in the LSP arena around the delivery of modern EPR-like capability in hospitals. van’, a long way from the aspirations set out in the Government ICT strategy of hosted solutions in the G-Gloud.
The original vision was for an “integrated care records service” (ICRS), with LSPs responsible for deep
integration across the NHS around single enterprise instances of clinical systems. As this has proved enormously
difficult to deliver, the LSP contracts have gradually shifted towards more traditional, organisational-centric In 2020health’s view, a national approach should only be taken when one or more of three guiding principles
4.4 Guiding Principles for the Future
solutions with thinner integration capabilities cross-sector. can be met:
Furthermore, each LSP was given exclusivity around a set of core functionality within a set geography15 (five 1. there is an overwhelming case for doing something once and once only across the NHS to avoid redundant
regional clusters were defined, with four main contractors) such that local NHS Trusts had no choice over the variation and provide a baseline model for local business cases (e.g. infrastructure and back-office solutions).
solution they were to receive.
National systems run centrally would also fit into this category (e.g. NHSmail, ESR) but would be typically
The contracts provided for the eventuality of failure by one LSP, allowing another to step-in. (This was the back office or infrastructure related, leaving the wider NHS to select and implement front-line systems
situation in 2006 when Accenture withdrew from the NE and East clusters, and CSC stepped in from its applying available national guidance and interoperability standards;
neighbouring NW and W Midlands cluster to form a complete NME pan-SHA cluster).
2. there are clear, unequivocal economies of scale so that the NHS purchasing power can be maximised –
Due to LSP exclusivity, the market for local IT in these core areas was locked-up. The barriers to entry have e.g. enterprise wide agreements for licences;
stifled the innovative drive of suppliers outside the Programme and a lack of available, new suppliers to provide
a competitive market still remains. This is now recognised nationally16. 3. to meet the ‘national’ nature of NHS patient care, through essential central coordination or regulation,
e.g. standards, security.
In the meantime, many hospitals continue to rely on core Patient Administration Systems (PAS) that emanate
from the 1980s, with a limited amount of integration between the core and departmental systems, and islands Where pursuing national approaches, a clear approach of evolution should be adopted, i.e. robustly test out the
of information, especially in more automated parts of the hospital such as Intensive Care Units (ICU) and concepts and ideas in a demonstrator; learn and assimilate lessons; get the model business case established; and
theatres. Many hospitals have been in ‘wait and see’ mode since the Programme’s inception, in some instances then plan for a wide roll-out. This would need to include recommended process changes, stakeholder
for much longer because EPR procurements in train prior to 2002 were cancelled by NPfIT. management, senior clinician change leadership and comprehensive training for affected staff at all levels from
consultant to nurses, junior doctors and administrative staff.
Applications commonly implemented in hospitals internationally have yet to fully penetrate the acute sector, e.g.
order communications and ePrescribing. Investment has in many cases been made in ‘interim’ point systems, Outside these, and respecting any nationally agreed contracts, 2020health believes that the principle should be
albeit some of them highly functional, which in turn may become the ‘new legacy’. that local NHS should be free to decide on its own approach to IT, consistent with the needs of its organisation
and to support the delivery of joined-up care locally and nationally.
Recommendation 4.B: a new Government should test the existing activities of the centre, with respect to NHS
IT & NPfIT, against these principles, which in turn will inform the future scope of national IT Programmes
15. The East of England was an exception with the LSP having no exclusivity
16. Mike O’Brien, Health Minister, commented in parliament on 2009, “The Department's Chief Information Officer has recently made clear our commitment to opening up the
health care IT market to new suppliers and new technological developments, to inject more pace into the Programme. Our aim is to help trusts configure systems to best meet their local
needs, as well as taking advantage of market developments to make more use of the information they hold.” 17. Source: http://www.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk/resources/imtstaff/survey
05 Localised NHS IT
This section looks in more detail at the LSP delivery of solutions to the local NHS, where and why there have
been difficulties and what the way forward ought to be. It also considers how to move forward outside the LSP Much has evolved since the LSP contracts were signed in 2003/04, changing the baseline NHS environment
5.2 Why have there been such Difficulties?
environment, notably the South, in terms of interoperability, procurement and shared care records. and so affecting the IT requirements.
Without seeking to attribute blame, it is evident that there have been difficulties on both sides. In our view, the
main reasons include:
As stated in Section 4, a core element to NPfIT was the delivery of an Integrated Care Record Service (ICRS)
5.1 The Original LSP Model – in Concept
at the local level. The intent was to provide modern operational systems across a core range of functionality • while the CRS Programme was conceived as a change project, it quickly was repositioned
in an integrated fashion across a whole health community. and driven as a large scale IT deployment challenge, with change management reduced in priority;
The country was divided into five clusters, each with a LSP acting as prime contractor for the delivery of the • clinical engagement and leadership were lacking at the outset, and although clinicians locally
full ICRS scope. Each LSP would have exclusivity around a core set of functionality.18 There was also an were initially enthusiastic, the repeated delays in the delivery of solutions have eroded NHS confidence;
additional services catalogue allowing Trusts to call off other services.
• the NHS does not conform to a ‘one size fits all’ model around a standardised process model;
Requirements were defined by the CRS Output-Based Specification (OBS). (There was a crucial assumption
that requirements could be standardised across the NHS, leading to a standardised process model.) • large scale deployment in an environment with a high degree of complexity has proved
Although specialist healthcare application software would underpin the service, as leading global IT service
providers, the LSPs were selected to act as prime contractors and orchestrate the ‘heavy lifting’, e.g. programme • there has been limited local ownership over the solutions, in part because Trusts have had no
management, hosting, software configuration, environment management, systems integration, large scale choice in the solutions they receive (in four out of five clusters, LSPs had exclusivity);
• there was no direct relationship between customer/user (Trust) and application provider.
The on-going responsibility of LSPs in this regard was recently reaffirmed by Ministers19, The contractual relationship is between CFH and LSP, with cluster and SHA leadership as
intermediaries. Trusts were frustrated that they did not have direct access to the product
“The role of national Programme local service providers (LSPs) is to deliver information technology (IT) systems and services across specialists. Ensuring all parties remained aligned proved very difficult;
the National Health Service within defined groups of strategic health authorities. LSPs ensure the integration of existing local
systems and, where necessary, implement new systems so that the national applications can be delivered locally, while maintaining • there were boundary issues over which party has responsibility for what, such as interfacing,
common standards. All LSPs have contracted to develop and deliver a fully integrated NHS care record solution.” data migration, change management;
The contracts were successfully negotiated on the principle that the NHS would only pay when solutions were • local IT environments are disparate, affecting the ease of integration;
delivered and benefits realised:
• the original OBS was generic and not specific enough to baseline the requirements.
“NHS Connecting for Health bought the systems at a fixed competitive price transferring financial and delivery risk to the suppliers, There were many different and valid opinions about the requirements, which has led
and it does not pay suppliers until services are proven to be delivered and working. So, although there have been delays in delivering to serious change control issues;
the NHS Care Records Service, the suppliers have borne the cost of overcoming difficulties in delivering the software and not the
taxpayer.”20 • the work needed for the core software to comply with requirements has been much more
extensive than ever envisaged;
The actual models enshrined in contracts differed from one cluster to another, and these differences have
increased rather than decreased. • serious technical, organisational and commercial complexities emerged in delivering
a single domain model (i.e. one shared application / database straddling a widely dispersed
• a ‘big bang’ approach to roll-out was chosen initially, rather than an approach of implementing
the full solution at one or more pilot sites to iron out all the issues, prior to roll-out.
Many of these points are understood and accepted by all parties involved, and there has been a gradual
approach to address them over recent years through successive contract resets, with some improvement.
For example, the ‘iSOFT 7’ (seven Trusts in London and the South who already had iSOFT systems) is one
18. as defined in the 2003 Output–Based Specification (OBS)
example of a contract variation from the standard LSP mode. Here the framework allowed for aligned opt out
19. Mike O’Brien, Health Minister - Hansard 21 May 2009
which carried forward the broad thrust of the Programme’s aims but is less prescriptive about how. In another
20. NAO 2006 report On NPfIT
05 Localised NHS IT
case, to speed up delivery of solutions, the enterprise-wide approach to ICRS was broken up, replaced However, the early releases of Cerner in the South were problematic, with gradual improvements with successive
by organisational-centric solutions and a level of prioritisation - at least within the acute space - around deployments. However, when contract reset terms could not be agreed with Fujitsu about the future deployment
the ‘Clinical 5’21. and configuration models, CFH terminated the contract in May 2008. A termination settlement has yet
to be reached.
Both LSPs are now in further contract resets as discussed below. The question remains is whether the model is
fixable, and on this the jury is out. Following the second NAO review on NPfIT in 2008, the PAC stated in early 2009 that they expected to see
demonstrable CRS product delivery within the next 6 months . In response, CFH announced a series of tests
Finally, it is difficult to determine whether the LSP model is delivering value for money (compared to a more that both products should meet by 30th November 2009 .
localised procurement approach). It needs more consideration, particularly in terms of the unit prices for
software licence and deployments as compared to similar procurements elsewhere22. We return to this point later. The remaining two LSPs (BT for London and CSC for NME) are again in contract reset. As health minister Mike
It needs to be benchmarked against the costs of Trusts who have opted out of the Programme, and against O’Brien MP confirmed on 2nd March , the resets have in part the objective of achieving £600M savings already
other UK and international pricing. announced by the Government, with the intent of signing Memoranda of Understanding by the end of March.
Recent LSP developments in London and NME are discussed more in Appendix F. There appear to be some
common features across the current contract resets. For example, both are considering options such as: some
[The history of developments around the LSP Programme has been documented in detail elsewhere. What level of Trust opt-out (i.e. local choice, to a degree); revised delivery models; greater inter-operability around
5.3 LSP Progress and Recent Developments
follows is our interpretation on events]. the prescribed solutions; and some reductions in functionality with a view to the suppliers saving cost through
a reduced scope and associated risk.
Initially, in 2004, two of the four winning LSPs (BT in London and Fujitsu in the South) relied on hospital
software from a leading US provider, IDX, while the other two (CSC and Accenture) planned to use solutions
from a leading UK supplier, iSOFT. Significant difficulties ensued.
By the time a new Government is in place after the Election, the LSP contract resets may or may not have been
5.4 The LSP way forward
In the case of the latter, iSOFT intended that a brand new product (Lorenzo) would be designed and built to successfully concluded. Either way, it will provide a baseline to work from, and for a new Government to do its
meet the full scope of the ICRS requirements. This proved much more time consuming and protracted than own full scale review. Likewise the success of the Lorenzo deployment at Morecambe Bay will be known,
planned so that both LSPs chose to deploy working ‘interim’ solutions: in CSC’s case around iSOFT’s legacy assuming it has gone live on time.
iPM and iCM products (PAS and enterprise clinical solutions) in the acute space; in Accenture’s case, primary
care and community software from TPP. As a starting point, a new Government must test the LSP contractual arrangements and baseline plans against
key criteria such as the following:
As a result of these changes, significant numbers of large scale product deployments of ‘interim’ solutions into
secondary, community & mental health have created a platform for shared care, and enabled improved workload 1. are the future deployment plans credible and realisable? Do they match up to the evidence of recent
and case management. deployments? Have the products and deployment approach been fully stress tested?;
After accumulating losses of over $300 million, Accenture withdrew in September 2006 and with the agreement 2. where necessary and demanded by the Trusts, is there a satisfactory direct ‘customer’ relationship between
of CFH, their contracts were novated to CSC for the whole of the three clusters forming NME. Trust and application supplier? (So that the specific expertise of the application provider is directly and
readily available locally);
Meanwhile, the IDX software that was to be used as a common solution set across the South and London,
proved unable to meet the UK requirements. During 2005 and 2006, Fujitsu and in turn BT replaced IDX with 3. is the value add of the LSP model worthwhile (e.g. programme management, technology infrastructure,
another US clinical software provider, Cerner, also a recognised leader in the US market. This was on the basis systems integration)?;
that an ‘as is’ version of the Cerner system already deployed in the Newham and Homerton hospitals would
be taken, which could be readily deployed as Release 0 elsewhere. A design process would be followed to meet 4. to what degree is local choice enabled and on what basis might other application providers compete?;
the full ICRS requirements through subsequent releases of Cerner.
5. how will Trusts who opt-out of the LSP Programme be handled? Are the alternative arrangements
6. do the arrangements represent value for money, benchmarked against other UK and international
21. The 2008 Health Informatics Review suggested an initial focus should be around the “Clinical 5” : (1) Patient Administration System (PAS) with integration with other systems
7. how will local configuration be allowed to meet specific Trust needs?;
and sophisticated reporting; (2) Order Communications and Diagnostics Reporting (including all pathology and radiology tests and tests ordered in primary care); (3) letters with
coding (discharge summaries, clinic and A&E letters); (4) scheduling (for beds, tests, theatres etc.); (5) e-Prescribing (including ‘To Take Out’ (TTO) medicines).
8. is there a workable, practical and cost effective split of responsibilities between Trust and contractor,
22. The reputed deployment charge per Trust is between £20-£30m, as against £3-5M in Scandinavia. The contract value for the recent award for Patient Management
particularly in areas such as data cleansing, data migration and training?;
Systems in Scotland was “in excess of £44m” for five NHS Boards.
05 Localised NHS IT
9. what flexibility exists in the implementation roadmaps and integration of existing systems? Can Trusts
chose a model that meets their own capability and maturity? Does it provide an open, low-cost platform In outline, a hospital-wide EPR solution must meet the following broad requirements: rich functionality; deep
that other specialist application providers can readily leverage?; integration; fast response times; a full view of all relevant clinical information as a basis for intelligence /decision
support; an intuitive user interface; and the use of IT-supported ICPs. It must also be able to drive out and
10. how will the arrangements enable and bring about joined-up care (around the detailed sharing of records) report on the NHS quality agenda and other key information needs.
at the local health community level?
Clinicians need absolute confidence in the integrity of the electronic record if they are to move away from
Without sight or knowledge of the LSPs commercials or current state of negotiations, we do not know how close reliance on paper case notes. Only in this way can the full benefits of an EPR be gained.
the revised arrangements are to meeting these criteria.
There are many who are convinced that the only way to achieve this level of integration and benefits now is
If the view is taken that the revised LSP arrangements do not pass these criteria, the LSP contracts would need through a ‘monolithic’ solution, around a single supplier database. Such integrated hospital systems were around
to be deconstructed in a carefully planned fashion retaining what is best and transferring the hospital EPR long before NPfIT and were implemented from the 80’s onwards – for example, at Winchester, Wirral and
elements into a catalogue. Burton. While delivering high levels of in-built integration, there may be compromises in the level of
functionality in specific modules as compared to a best of breed approach, especially in relation to PAS.
Whatever emerges, those LSP elements that work well (e.g. delivery of primary, community and mental health
CRS solutions; PACS; resilient hosting services) should continue in one form or another. The Cerner solution is an example of the single database approach and clinicians we spoke to saw it as being
well ahead of alternatives in terms of the depth of its functionality and its ability to generate task lists and
In the hospital EPR area, much has been invested in time and money, some sites are operational and we are told prompt alerts across the enterprise.
that both solutions are close to being ready.
There is also an emerging view that an alternative ‘surround and replace’ strategy is viable, based on progress
To test this and ensure they offer value for money, we believe that the acute solutions from Cerner and iSOFT in other countries. This is discussed more in Appendix G. It potentially represents a more flexible, perhaps lower
should be exposed to competition through becoming part of an acute systems catalogue (discussed at the end of cost way of meeting the requirements. On the other hand, it is not proven in the NHS. In our view, the approach
Section 5). Trusts could call-off what they need based on their own capability, maturity, starting point and plans. is worthy of closer research and validation.
The catalogue should be created and coordinated centrally, but be accountable to the NHS. To incentivise Interestingly, in Scandinavia, open integration standards to enable “incremental evolution around a common
Trusts to use the catalogue, partial central funding should be available. Suppliers must show clear adherence to platform” have been prevalent for some time. Here, we understand that the trend has gone back towards single
well defined interoperability standards. supplier EPRs on the basis that multiple suppliers add cost, complexity and management overhead.
This would also allow fairness in those parts of the NHS which already fall outside the preserve of LSPs Recommendation 5.B: more research is needed, and potentially pilots, into the viability of other local integration
(principally the South). technologies and approaches such as ‘surround and replace’, and the resulting impact on business cases. It
should endeavour to address the circumstances when such approaches may be more fruitful than a traditional
Recommendation 5.A: A full review is needed of the LSP progress and contracts using the specified criteria. approach of ‘rip and replace’.
Retain those elements that work well. Halt acute deployments, pause and reflect on the case for continuing
with the current approach. Consider exposing the acute solutions to direct competition in a specific acute systems
catalogue. The EU usefully describes ‘interoperability’ as:
Interoperability, Standards and Open Source
“the ability to exchange, understand and act on patient and other health information and knowledge, among linguistically and
culturally disparate clinicians, patients and other actors, within and across jurisdictions, in a collaborative manner”.
Beyond the LSP model, there are at least four aspects to consider: Separately, the EU has identified that:
5.5 What alternatives exist to the LSP model?
• the architectural approach - what alternatives exist beyond the LSP approach of ‘rip and replace’ “Full record sharing requires at least two levels to be achieved:
(or versions around it);
1. functional and syntactic interoperability: the ability of two or more systems to exchange information (so that it is human
• interoperability and standards – both within and across organisations; readable by the receiver);
• shared care records at the Local Health Community Level; 2. semantic interoperability: the ability for information shared by systems to be understood at the level of formally defined entities,
so that the receiving system can process the information effectively and safely.
• procurement and catalogue alternatives.
Semantic interoperability is essential for automatic computer processing to underpin real value-added EHR clinical applications, such
as intelligent decision support, care planning, etc. What is at stake here is not only exchanging data and information but reusing and
processing them. The degree to which information can be re-used and processed is the measure of semantic interoperability.”
05 Localised NHS IT
The mechanisms that are used to implement interoperability must meet Information Governance (IG) Amongst those we interviewed, it was felt that a more pragmatic mandate is needed around the CFH standards
requirements, as driven by legislation and rules that implement that legislation. agenda for it to be more informed but practical, reflecting an appropriate and valid need for patient safety to be
balanced against the need for progress and a vibrant market open to new and innovative suppliers. The concept
Although falling outside the scope of our work, it is worth noting that CFH has developed significant and of ‘good enough’ is important, to avoid over-engineered solutions that make their usability less than optimal.
comprehensive policies around IG. From both the NHS and industry viewpoint, questions were raised about There is also a need for more transparency on where to locate authoritative versions of current standards.
whether the balance is right between protecting privacy and ensuring solutions are usable. For example, in
interviewing leading GPs from the iSOFT primary care user group (see www.isug.co.uk), they commented, Furthermore, the NHS should follow international / EU standards unless there is an overwhelming case
“connecting to the Spine to check patient demographic details, to make CaB referrals, or to issue the new-style prescriptions with bar otherwise. For example, confusion was expressed on NHS-driven initiatives such as the Logical Record
codes may only have an overhead of ten seconds each, but the frequency with which these operations are done throughout the working Architecture whose purpose and remit needs clarifying, and its relationship to well-established international
day means a huge amount of clinicians’ time is wasted each week”. initiatives such as OpenEHR and IHE.
At the technical standards level, there is a vibrant community internationally not only at EU and US levels, but In passing, it is worth noting that the whole environment around EPRs and interoperability standards is
increasingly global. The NHS has been active in this community for some time, and CFH has built significantly developing rapidly due to the massive stimulus to health IT in the US. Incentive funding is being provided to
on this. hospitals that ‘meaningfully use’ electronic records, and are compliant with a comprehensive layered set of
standards, which suppliers must meet27. In realigning the CFH standards work, much could be learnt from the
Within this context, CFH’s Data Standards team works at several levels to agree authoritative standards: US model.
• professional practice standards – covers generic medical record keeping standards, such as those Recommendation 5.C: A review is needed to ensure that the centre is taking a more practical but informed
developed by the Royal College of Physicians. It has also driven the GP2GP solution, enabling the approach to technical and IG standards, and that the NHS is following international/ EU standards unless
transfer of electronically held information on GP systems when a patient moves; there is an overwhelming case otherwise.
• operational standards - that directly support implementation of operational systems, such as in A related relevant factor concerns whether open source solutions have a place to play in the EPR market.
the definition of message standards with the Spine and secondary use datasets; A brief analysis is presented in Appendix H. While the open source technology solutions market is already
vibrant, a market in clinical applications is starting to emerge, particularly in the US. There is clear engagement
• fundamental standards - components out of which operational standards are constructed. from leaders in the international standards community.
These include SNOMED CT (Clinical Terminology)26 and ICD10 (Disease Classification).
Open source solutions are particularly suited to collaborative environments such as healthcare. The main other
In practical terms, the NHS Spine and associated national services represent interoperability mechanisms across potential advantages of open oource relate to: reduced total cost of ownership (10-20%); the avoidance of
NHS organisations. vendor lock-in; transparency; and the removal of high barriers to entry.
In 2009, CFH announced the creation of an ‘NHS Interoperability Toolkit’ (ITK) to “incorporate a national and In the medium term, open source clearly has enormous potential applicability to the NHS, perhaps through
a local approach to encourage interoperability, provide standards and governance, allow users to get more value from their systems developing complimentary services around the NPfIT core and specific clinical solutions, subject to strict
and to innovate. The toolkit provides a framework and standards for local integration within and between NHS trusts for better compliance with standards. It is not a short term panacea. It should continue to be actively explored, with pilots
integration between Spine and non-Spine accredited systems.” promoted in specific clinical areas, to assess whether it can be a realistic solution. These explorations should
look carefully at the business case and long term benefits.
The initial scope of the ITK is to enable third party integration with LSP systems. This is now extending into
Proof of Concept work in areas such as discharge summaries. Some of the complexity around interoperability Recommendation 5.D: Commission on-going active research around the potential of clinical open source
is illustrated by a comment we received from one Trust IT Director, “Asking doctors to type in a history in a large solutions, based around pilots and learning lessons.
hospital is futile. Our discharge summary is not just a document with some pharmacy workflow. It pulls data from the operation
notes and previous co-morbidities”.
As the LSP model has shifted away from delivering an overall ICRS across large cluster(s) towards a more
Delivering Shared Care across Local Health Communities
While recognising that it is potentially a valuable initiative, some we consulted with were confused about the organisational-centric approach, the way in which IT can support shared care and treatment across a local
ITK’s precise purpose and mandate. This could usefully be clarified and transparent plans publicised. health community (LHC) becomes more challenging. At its simplest level, it involves supporting messaging
The governance around data standards is provided by the Information Standards Board which has close
engagement with the Royal Colleges. They are responsible for Information Standard Notices (ISNs). While 27. “Recovery funding has been designated to modernize the health care system by promoting and expanding the adoption of health information technology by 2014. Achieving this
taking a valuable role, there is concern that those who have to implement ISNs (e.g. Trusts, suppliers) are not goal will reduce health costs for the federal Government by over $12 billion over the next 10 years….our approach to the adoption of standards, implementation specifications, and
as well engaged in the process as they might be. certification criteria is pragmatic, but forward looking…we believe it will allow those who adopt Health Care IT (HIT) to choose from a variety of offerings ranging from subscription
services, to vendor-based products, to open source products. An innovative and competitive HIT marketplace needs to exist much like the marketplace for consumer electronics…we
believe that it will be common in the near future for Certified EHR Technology to be assembled from several replaceable and swappable EHR Modules.” Excerpts from Health
26. One example of central use is "The dictionary of medicines + devices (dm+d)" which provides, among other things, medicines with codes and terms linked to SNOMED CT Information Technology: Initial Set of Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology; Interim Final Rule” Department
concepts.” It is a key platform for the delivery of the EPS. of Health and Human Services, 13 January 2010
05 Localised NHS IT
and communication between local GPs and Trusts, with a focus around key transactions such as referral letters, significantly work against delivering joined-up care across the NHS and would represent a return to the
clinical correspondence and hospital discharge summaries. At a higher level, the requirement relates to fragmented approach of the 1990’s. Then, while some Trusts with clear and engaged leadership had successful
supporting cross-sector ICPs and more complex record sharing and functionality. EPR projects, many others without such capabilities were unable to proceed far.
As a rough guideline, 95% of the patient flows reside within such areas (i.e. metropolitan or county levels). Some form of collaborative procurement would be much better, ideally facilitated by appropriate catalogues of
There are however important exceptions such as clinical networks (especially cancer). Independent sector- reputable suppliers to choose from.
provided services pose particular challenges in terms of integration of patient related data. Many ISTCs are part
of geographically dispersed chains so the IT provision is based on organisational efficiencies not on integration In response to the PAC criticism about lack of contingency around LSPs, in 2007/08 CFH ran a procurement
with different local health economies. called Additional Supply Capability and Capacity (ASCC) to create a four year framework of available
additional supply. Its aim was to have available additional Systems Integrator capacity and services available
In the NME case, TPP SystmOne is effectively providing such a care record across a wide geographic health on standby, and to allow Trusts to acquire point clinical solution services.
area, at least across primary, community and child health sectors, which also enables workload and case
management. CSC is committed to providing ‘click through’ functionality across SystmOne and Lorenzo in the As described in Appendix F, an accelerated process is underway under the ASCC framework to procure centrally
acute space. funded point applications in community, ambulance and acute trusts in the South. CFH have stated that central
funding will be available until 2015, presumably being left over from the previous LSP contract. As part of the
And as mentioned elsewhere, London planned on its own ‘London Care Record’ as part of CCN2, but now is process, CFH is aggregating demand across the Trusts and is looking for products which are immediately
looking to use the Summary Care Record integration capabilities. We return to this in Section 6. available for deployment. This has come about as an understandable reaction to the difficulties with the LSP
arrangements. Contracts are intended to be let from March onwards. From the NHS side, our discussions
Outside NPfIT, some LHCs have been pursuing shared record initiatives. For example, Hampshire’s Health suggest that trusts appreciate the well-intended nature of the procurement, and are keen to receive centrally
Record28 has been running for some time based on document sharing technology across all sectors and, although funded systems. There is more concern and scepticism from the supplier side. Several key issues remain need
relatively limited, the system is widely used. Kent has more ambitious plans through their Bluebird project for clarifying:
cross-sector functionality to enable many-to-many communications, for example to allow the reconfiguration
of pathology services. The approaches in Wales and Scotland also have parallels here. The development of • funding - what national business case exists, with what level of approval to spend and when;
interoperability standards internationally is especially helpful here, such as IHE.
• responsibilities – there is no single point of contact and Trusts may end up holding the integration
However as the technology scope extends beyond thin, portal-like capabilities, so the need for strong, secure risk (with separate contracts in place for applications, deployment services, integration support
supporting infrastructure is more essentially. This makes a business case more complex and potentially and hosting);
• integration - how a participating Trust can be sure it will receive bundled, integrated solutions, for
Tools such as Map of Medicine (available nationally) are being successfully used to address total cost and quality example if it requires several of the Clinical 5 components. As one supplier commented, NHS Trusts
of provision across the full cycle of care and have the potential to support inter-organisational working around may receive a ‘bag of bits’;
ICPs more widely. The NHS needs to determine how best to exploit its potential, for example its full
effectiveness can only best be realised when integrated into operational systems. • configuration - the extent of local configuration possible.
Although far from straight-forward, organisational engagement and buy-in is probably more readily dealt with There is a risk that contracts may be rushed through, resulting in a sub-optimal situation for the NHS.
at an LHC level rather than at a national level, provided there is visible leadership.
There is an alternative approach which links in with the discussion at the end of 5.3. This would involve creating
Recommendation 5.E: LHC shared care initiatives need active encouragement nationally, in the context of a catalogue framework specifically around acute sector EPRs, resulting in a small number (six or less) of kite-
future plans for the SCR. marked suppliers. It would have consistent adherence to a national agreed vision and standards, while enabling
local choice. Care would be needed since there is already a proliferation of frameworks.
As discussed earlier, parts of the NHS already fall outside the preserve of LSPs. This principally applies in the The model could be along the lines of GPSoC and have the following features:
Procurement and Catalogues
South following Fujitsu’s termination in 2008. However some FTs had already broken away from NPfIT (e.g.
Wirral, Royal Berks, Rotherham and Newcastle). Most have a strong executive and clinical leadership around • rigorously vetting nationally around an updated OBS (so Trusts do not have to each repeat the
the value that the EPR can bring the Trust, and have selected single supplier, single database EPRs. process) around a minimum set of core functionality (for example, ‘the clinical five’ as a start);
If there were to be no national contracts or catalogues, the NHS would revert in full back to a ‘free for all’ with • compliance to standards mandated;
each Trust following its own separate procurement. This would be a significant retrograde step. It would
• transparent pricing;
• lead application supplier responsible for systems integration and deployment;
05 Localised NHS IT 06 National Infrastructure
As discussed in Section 4, perhaps the greatest criticism of NPfIT is that it attempted to do much, too soon
allow easy call-off by Trusts based on their capability, maturity, starting point and plans; through a centralised approach. This over-ambition meant that many useful national initiatives have since
become - rather unfairly - tarred with the brush of ‘NPfIT failure’.
performance managed by linking to commissioner targets (e.g. 24 hour discharge summaries).
This section therefore takes a dispassionate view on how the key national projects have progressed and makes
Funding incentives would be available to Trusts only if they were to follow these standards. One idea to be recommendations for a new Government to consider. It also looks at what central / national informatics
explored would be that funding is provided only on a pro rata basis rather than absolute, for example being function is needed to support this and enable the successful local adoption of IT, as described in section 5.
proportional to the Trust’s size. This ensures that the Trust has proper ‘skin in the game’.
In section 4 we discussed the guiding principles to be applied to the major national components of the NPfIT
It would be important to support these catalogues with appropriate knowledge management tools. To make it Programme. We begin to apply these in this section.
transparent as possible, a Wikipedia-type approach could be considered as a means to store templates,
repositories of common specifications, best practice guidelines and so on.
Recommendation 5.F: Halt and test the effectiveness of the ASCC Southern procurements, particularly against In this sub-section, the material includes discussion on N3, NHSmail, Spine, CaB, EPS and PACS. Time
6.1 National Infrastructure and Services
an alternative acute systems catalogue model. precluded us addressing important other national IT areas such as national screening and registry systems, and
The NHS N3 national broadband network is a success story. It provides a managed service allowing Trusts easy
N3 (Contract: BT 2004-2011)
connection to services. In certain cases, Community of Interest Networks (COINs) have enabled local health
communities to work collaboratively with N3 for the delivery of higher function local Wide Area Networks
(WANs). The service has been developed and extended continually, for example a national videoconference
services over N3 was recently offered. It is an essential enabler to exploit the full potential of telemedicine, and
the collaboration and communication technologies discussed in Section 3.3
As the service develops, there are important considerations about its future requirements in advance of contract
renewal. For example:
• how N3 should fit relative to the overall Public Sector Network (PSN);
• the potential from using thin client technology;
• the delivery of Voice Over IP (VOIP) services or a national basis;
• the support of technology at the edge of the network, whether services to mobile or disconnected
users (outside 3G coverage);
• the future requirement for bandwidth and switches to support the on-going explosion of images
(PACS and beyond) and the need for their sharing.
Recommendation 6.A: Build on N3’s success, extend and develop in the context of new technology requirements
and the evolving Public Sector Network.
NHSmail is the secure email and directory service for NHS staff in England and Scotland, approved for
NHSmail (Contract: Cable & Wireless 2004-2013)
exchanging patient data with NHSmail and Government Secure Intranet (GSi) users. There are 500k users
with NHS.net addresses. Most small NHS organisations use it as their internal email services but take-up has
been slower amongst larger Trusts. It was upgraded in 2007 to Microsoft Office Exchange.
The head of the NHSmail programme recently stated that he wants “most” NHS organisations to have migrated
to NHSmail by the time its current contract expires in July 2013.
06 National Infrastructure
However there is a vigorous debate amongst the IT community about whether this meets local Trust concerns. GPs have repeatedly expressed concern about it as a clinical and performance management tool, and
requirements especially in terms of running a local Active Directory, the use of it as an archiving tool, the more recently the British Medical Association (BMA) has criticised the pace of the SCR roll-out. Its architecture
limitations of relying on N3 bandwidth for the local exchange of images, and the mobile connectivity and security have also received heavy criticism, and in response, extensive efforts have gone into building in
requirements of Blackberry’s and the like. clear consent models.
Recommendation 6.B: Retain NHSmail and review in advance of contract expiry. The current and future Outside the SCR, there are a number of less controversial aspects, in particular:
service must meet the needs of the largest Trusts.
• the Patient Demographic Service (PDS) is centred on the patient’s NHS number and is a successor
service to earlier generations of centrally provided demographic services such as the NHS Central
Picture Archiving & Communications Systems (PACS) were a late addition to the LSP contracts in 2005. Register and the Strategic Tracing Service. It is fully operational and covers all 50M patients in
England; The PDS should remain a fundamental part of any future NHS IT infrastructure.
At that stage, it was a relatively mature technology, with a well proven business case (starting from cost savings
through the removal of X-ray films), a clear implementation roadmap and a relative isolated change impact • smartcards and security: Access to the Spine is provided through smart card readers which
(compared to EPRs). About a quarter of NHS Trusts already had PACS installed through direct supply from authenticate the user. There are significant operational issues about the level of security versus the
the small number of leading global suppliers. usability of the system;
The LSP PACS contracts allowed for a common service hosted locally within each Trust, with off-site LSP data Recommendation 6.D: The NHS needs to review policy around smartcards to ensure an appropriate balance
centres providing access to archived solutions and some level of business continuity. By 2007, all sites had been between security and usability. The review should consider ways to improved clinical adoption such as : how
implemented. In this regard, the PACS Programme has seen to be highly successful. logon speed can be improved; how contactless smartcards should be supported to aid use of portable devices
at the point of care delivery; and whether a Single Sign On solution(s) should be offered as an option to ease
In our view, the main considerations about the future of a nationally provided PACS service relate to: security burdens.
• the relatively high running cost of the service. We were told that the cost of LSP-provided PACS • secondary Uses Services (SUS): Provides valuable anonymised management and reporting
services typically exceed those which are directly supplied in comparable Trusts, reflecting some information. This enables Payment by Results, processing an estimated £34bn of financial
degree of extra service. Given that some of the LSP PACS contracts run out in 2013, the value transactions for 2009/10; SUS should be retained and developed.
of this extra service needs considering or whether it would be more optimal to return to a model
with each Trusts (or LHC) having a direct contracts with their PACS supplier; • the Summary Care Record or PSIS (Personal Spine information Service): this was originally
conceived as a means to provide a ‘thin’ central record about key clinical information regarding the
• nationally, a business case needs considering to extend PACS into additional modalities, patient. The initial vision was that it would provide key static and event clinical information,
for example ultrasound, endoscopy, colonoscopy, mammography and pathology; and would be fed by compliant primary and secondary care systems.
• the original LSP contracts did not support inter-organisational transfer of PACS images The current version of the SCR contains GP summary data, including allergies and medications information.
(the XDSi protocol is the international standard for image exchange protocol). This is an essential The first release of the SCR went live in pilot form in 2007, with further sites following in 2008. A team from
enabler for cross-site reporting and the rationalisation of reporting services. Elsewhere, Wales and University College London formally evaluated progress on these early adopters and their report was published
Scotland are already embarked down this route, and Scandinavia is also well ahead in this regard. in April 200829.
Latterly CFH has procured an approach (Burnbank) which allows images to be pushed out to
requesting services, however this falls short of the full requirements. The NHS needs actively to It is mainly used by out of hours services. There are 1.2m records live today, which may rise to 2M by the end of 2010.
determine the benefits and costs of moving to a full image exchange service.
A plan is in place to send out 34m Patient Information Packs (PIPs) by the end of April to 105 PCTs, to alert
Recommendation 6.C: Continue and fully exploit the existing PACS national services. Develop a national patients that their records are planned to be loaded onto the SCR and give them the opportunity to provide
business case on extending PACS into other imaging modalities, and to enable image sharing across NHS. Assess consent or not. The BMA has recently objected to the speed of the planned roll-out30. To date, the level of opt-
prior to contract end whether services should be provided via LSPs or directly contracted from PACS vendors. outs has been less than 0.7%.
Further releases including some pilot schemes in Bournemouth and Bury are intended to broaden out the record to
The NHS Spine provides a national messaging and database, intended to provide a single, authoritative include clinic letters and discharge summaries – i.e. requiring a feed from other sectors, such as Cerner and iSOFT
Spine (Contract: BT 2003-2013)
repository of demographic and clinical information about the patient across the NHS. It provides a platform in the acute space. Transaction message structures are governed by the Message Implementation Manual (MIM).
for other services such as CaB and EPS (discussed below). The Spine is now fully operational, although it
continues to be developed. Further releases may widen the integration capabilities, possibly to support ICPs across care settings.
At one level, the Spine has been misunderstood by both the public and politicians, for example in references to
the ‘NHS Computer’. Most of the attention has been around the Summary Care Record (SCR) and its privacy 29. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/media/library/screvaluation
06 National Infrastructure
In our view, the SCR has suffered from a lack of clarity of purpose, causing confusion. As time has progressed, It will enable automated repeat dispensing, a significant benefit for some patients. In time, it will link up with
more ideas have been added in and its precise purpose is now rather opaque. Its true value may only be apparent the PPD providing significant productivity savings as well as the potential for much improved and timely
when summary GP data from across the whole country is loaded onto the database. Our suggestion is that, for information around medicines management.
now, it be repurposed as an ‘urgent care record’ and kept as a thin record until there is full national take-up. The
case for a much broader national record needs clarifying particularly in the context of local shared care records, Experience from other countries such as the US where such a service is mature is that it has the potential to:
which as discussed in Section 5 are worthy of encouragement. address the significant levels of fraud; help reduce drug wastage; improved control over prescribing habits (e.g.
use of generics); and improve patient safety through a reduction in medication errors.
Recommendation 6.E: The SCR needs a full review by a new Government, with consideration given to
repurposing it as an ‘urgent care record’. This needs to cover both a clinical validation of the SCR (to establish Clinicians also pointed out to us the value of a complete medication record across primary and secondary care.
its worth beyond doubt), a review of the architecture and security of the Spine, and a review of its business case.
Recommendation: as per 3.C
CaB is a national application service (NASP) that runs off the back of the Spine.
Choose and Book (CaB) (Contract: ATOS 2003-2009)
HealthSpace is an online personal health organiser, free to the public, to help manage people’s health, developed
HealthSpace - and Personal Health Records
It was originally planned and named as ‘eBooking’ to enable the passing of referrals and first appointment and managed by CFH. It has also been developed to allow patient access to the SCR, currently only available
booking information from primary to secondary care. As the Government then introduced a choice policy to patients in the early adopter areas. As such, it provides the basis for a personal health record (PHR).
(giving patients the right to choice of where to go for secondary care treatment), the service was renamed and
reconfigured as ‘Choose and Book’. As discussed in Section 3, a PHR is a key enabler towards more personalised healthcare, opening up health
records to the patient and empowering the patient with tools, information sources and informal networks. There
GPs receive incentive payments to use the service. The original intent was that 90% of first referrals nationally is a growing body of evidence for the use of PHRs and how they can improve patient care.
would use CaB, but latest usage figures show this at about 50%. The system involves a booking agent on the
primary care software, linking into a central application, which in turn communicates with hospital appointment However, PHRs are but one element of using IT to deliver more personalised care through new interactive
scheduling software, usually part of the PAS. channels to communicate with the patient and provide them with self-service capability. Nor are they a
substitute for investment in care records to support the clinical and operational processes in and across
With certain GP systems, the GP-end of CaB involves additional effort on the part of the doctor during the healthcare organisations.
consultation. They criticise its usability for that reason. There are operational issues, for example a CaB booking
should be accompanied by a referral but is often delayed. Furthermore, hospitals have chosen to implement in There is a strong body of evidence that patients want to be more in control of their health records and who has
different ways, in some cases through their own service. access to them. For patients managing chronic conditions, they provide a valuable tool to track and manage the
condition. But equally they can enable the ‘well’ to manage their health better, and potentially not use avoidable
The original contract with ATOS expired in 2009. Its future needs to be tested against what the policy choice healthcare treatment. There is a wealth of authoritative sources of healthcare information available to patients.
needs are – now and in the future – e.g. greater plurality of suppliers, as how the service can be improved. The PHR market for solutions is developing rapidly with much innovation, with many freely available tools.
Recommendation 6.F: The original CaB policy intent needs to be reviewed in the context of the policy on There are genuine questions about whether a state-driven development of a PHR (i.e. HealthSpace) can keep
choice. Once its future purpose is clear, the fit between the IT systems and local operational practices, in up with the full innovation of the market. It is of note that HM Treasury reputedly rejected a CFH business in
particular the impact on the GP consultation process, need assessing. 2009 to invest a further £100M to create a HealthSpace 2 service.
Outside NPfIT, software already exists to enable the patient to have access to their primary care record with some
As discussed earlier in section 3, the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS), will enable a prescriber - such as a of the major solutions. Many patients already benefit from booking GP appointments and ordering repeat
EPS (Contract – part of BT Spine)
GP or practice nurse - to send prescriptions electronically to a dispenser (such as a pharmacy) of the patient's medications in this way. Some 50 or so GP practices have provided full patient access to view their record and
choice. When fully implemented, it is designed to connect with the reimbursement agency (Prescription Pricing the capability exists for it to be activated on a much more widespread basis.
Division - PPD). Access to the EPS is tightly controlled through the use of smartcards and pin numbers which
give users different levels of access appropriate to their role. In time, these approaches could provide secure messaging, patient questionnaires, PCT surveys based on clinical
conditions, links to voluntary /carer organisations, distribution of patient leaflets, as well as plug-in applications.
Release 1 involved placing a bar code on the paper prescription at the GP end, which then avoids the need for Understandably, there are concerns among some GPs about the impact of opening up their records, particularly
the dispenser to rekey the information. EPS also tracks whether the patient has picked up their medication. All at the practical level of managing access but also at the wider level of how it will change the relationship with
GP and pharmacy systems are now compliant and the service is operational. the patient and how they use the service. Such fears may or may not be groundless. Thoughtful management
of the process may be able to minimise any such risks.
Release 2 involves the removal of the paper prescription provided that both prescriber and dispenser are both
live. The respective GP and pharmacy systems are still proceeding through CFH technical accreditation and One aspect worthy of central consideration concerns eConsultations. In certain situations, a face-to-face visit
roll-out approval, so - beyond some pilot sites - the service is not yet operational, to the doctor could be avoided if there is a shared record with the patient. But there are important ethical and
reimbursement considerations that the centre would need to consider and address.
06 National Infrastructure
A range of possibilities need looking at by a new Government concerning the development of future PHRs: Figure 6.1 – Required Future National IT Organisations
• broaden access to the SCR via Health Space. This could be slow and limiting;
Function Key Activities Organisational Location & Behaviour
broaden access to the SCR by specifying a range of interoperability and governance standards
and allow third party vendors to connect in. Approved PHRs would be kitemarked. Patients would
1. Strategy, On-going engagement on the informatics A small unit, straddling DH and NHS.
have the choice on which PHR to use and select. The role for HealthSpace would be limited or none
leadership and implications of policy.
at all. This approach could be a no cost option to the NHS;
direction setting The DH Informatics unit formed after the 2008
Determining where collective investment makes NHS Informatics Review provides the basis for
in the short term, enable access to the GP record through established software packages that offer
senses. this but currently has too low a profile and is
a patient front-end (as described earlier) to leading GP systems.
not transparent. (e.g. there is no public DH
Top level clinical engagement with Royal Informatics web site)
Recommendation 6.H: Review PHR and HealthSpace options in the light of decisions on SCR. Look for an
early opportunity to enable no-cost patient access to GP systems, where feasible. 2. NHS IT Design Technology roadmap and policies Largely done by the CFH Technology Office
Authority and now – some elements may now fall within
standard setting Standard setting DH Informatics.
On the basis of the earlier discussion and recommendations about local and national NHS IT provision and
6.2 Future National IT Organisation & Structure
Need to ensure practical rather than purist
the guiding principles established in 4.4, we now turn our attention to how NHS IT should be organised approaches are taken regarding implementation
nationally and how this fits to the current set-up. of IG and technical standards, and ensure
international/EU standards are applied/enforced
In our view, there remains a strong case for national organisation(s) to coordinate national IT and deliver national within the NHS where relevant.
IT services, but we would suggest some important changes to the current model. Figure 6.1 sets out our view
on the four main functions needed to promote connectivity, transparency and security: Could logically be integrated with Function 1.
3. National IT Central contract management. To cover the essential national services and
Infrastructure and nationally run contracts on a business
Services Delivery Operations management. as usual basis
Programme Office. Possible case for the function to be outsourced.
4. Helping the NHS Enabling the NHS to deliver better on localised Needs to be NHS-facing and accountable.
deliver IT enabled IT, e.g. EPR, telehealth.
business change Need not be centrally provided, but possibly
Establishing national catalogues for hardware, through regionalised NHS resources provided
services and solutions. Maximising purchasing by different HIS functions or specialist
power through enterprise-wide agreements. contractors, with extensive use of eLearning
and knowledge management.
Providing specialist deployment support
and project management resources.
Developing and promulgating worthwhile
guidance on enabling NHS IT through R&D,
capability maturity models, promoting pilots,
learning and promulgating lessons, model
business cases, clinical engagement models.
06 National Infrastructure A Appendix:
& Organisation List of Contributors
While Functions 1 and 2 are not far from the current model, there are important behavioural differences. What The following lists the contributors to the work. There were many others who contributed on an anonymous basis.
is needed is clear transparency, leadership and a practical mindset on setting achievable and realistic targets
and standards. Steering Group
Elements of functions 3 and 4 are addressed by CFH but the roles seem blurred. Crucially Function 4 in our
2020health Julia Manning (CEO, Chair of Steering Group and Series Editor)
opinion must get its mandate from the NHS and be accountable to them. The presumption should be that the 2020health John Cruickshank (NHS IT Policy Chairman and Principal Author)
organisations should be small and nimble31, with a relatively small span of projects. Independent Consultant Julian Wright (Supporting Editor and Author)
We did not gain access to CFH during the work so did not have the opportunity to discuss these views.
Ascribe (WCI)* Tim Giles
University of the West Dr Tony Solomonides
Recommendation 6.I: A full review is needed of current central functions (including DH Informatics and CFH)
of England, Bristol
to meet the new national organisational remit and required future functions.
As mentioned in Section 3, in many parts of the NHS, the organisations are simply too small to be effective,
NHS IT Set-up Kings College Hospital Dr Hugh Cairns (Consultant Nephrologist)
especially in relation to infrastructure services.
NHS Foundation Trust
Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Dr Paul Altmann (Consultant Nephrologist – also Clinical Director
Given the emphasis in the Government ICT strategy, there is a strong case for aggregating IT delivery into
NHS Trust of Health Informatics, South Central SHA)
shared service organisations like the Health Informatics Services. Here they could serve (some of) the IT needs The Rotherham David Kwo (Deputy Director of EPR)
of organisations across a local health community. Their scale could be large enough to be professional, provide Foundation Trust
economies of scale for service delivery (especially around 24/7 service), but close enough to the users and offer
a career structure to the IT professionals involved.
Primary Care iSOFT Dr John Lockley (Chair) and Dr Peter Harris
A wider range of mature, capable local NHS IT organisations would facilitate greater devolution of
NHS Connecting for Health Invited to contribute but no response was forthcoming
responsibility from the centre. A network of these organisations could facilitate work in the national interest in
collaboration with a future central NHS IT body. Industry Contributors
Ascribe (WCI)* Tim Giles, Carl Adler
Cambio Tomas Mora-Morrison
CSC Andrew Spence
dbMotion Johan Hjord
HP Craig Wilson, Mark Vincent,
Independent consultants* Ruth Gardiner, Jo Watts, Julia Hopper
Map of Medicine Nat Billington
PAERS Dr Brian Fisher
Steria Nick Wensley & colleagues
Tolven Neil Cowles
Tribal Prof Matthew Swindells (BCS Health Chair)
Independent IT Review members Dr Glyn Hayes (Chair), Gail Beer
UK Specialist Hospitals Limited Fiona Calnan (CEO)
* speaking in an individual capacity rather than as company representatives.
31. The most recent figures for CFH (January 2009 – source Hansard) show 1,465 FTE emplyees and contractors.
A&E Accident & Emergency N3 NHS National broadband Network
ASCC Additional Supply Capability and Capacity NAO National Audit Office
BMA British Medical Association NLOP NPFIT Local Ownership Programme
CaB Choose and Book NHSmail NHS email service
CCN Contract Change Notice NIMM NHS Infrastructure Maturity Model
CEO Chief Executive Officer NME North Midlands East pan-SHA
CfH Connecting for Health NPFIT National Programme for Information Technology
CIO Chief Information Officer NHS National Health Service
CMM Capability Maturity Model NHSmail NHS-wide email service
COTS Custom-Off-The-Shelf Solution NUH Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust
CQUIN Commissioning for Quality and Innovation OBS Output Based Specification
CRS Care Records Service OGC Office of Government Commerce
DH Department of Health OpenEHR Open standards specification of an EHR
DSCN Data Set Change Notice OPCS Office of Population, Censuses & Surveys
EC European Commission PAC Public Accounts Committee
ED Emergency Department PACS Picture Archiving & Communications System
EDRM Electronic Document and Records Management PAS Patient Administration System
EHR Electronic Health Record (straddles across health organisations) PCT Primary Care Trust
EPR Electronic Patient Record (to support treatment within an organisation) PDS Personal Demographic Service
EPS Electronic Prescriptions Service PHR Personal Health Record
ESR Electronic Staff Record PIP Patient Information Packs
EU European Union PPD Prescription Pricing Division (NHS Business Services Authority)
FT Foundation Trust PSIS Personal Spine information Service
FTE Full-Time Equivalent RBAC Roles Based Access
GP General Practitioner ROI Return on Investment
GPSoC GP Systems of Choice SBS Shared Business Service
GSi Government Secure Intranet SCR Summary Care Record
HealthSpace On-line personal health manager, and patient window into the SCR SOC Systems of Choice
HIS Health Informatics Service Spine Single NHS-wide reference point for patient information
HIT Health IT SDS Spine Directory Services
HL7 Health Level 7 interoperability standard SHA Strategic Health Authority
HR Human Resources SNOMED Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine
ICN Information Change Notice SOA Service Oriented Architectures
ICP Integrated Care Pathway SRO Senior Responsible Officer
ICRS Integrated Care Records Service SUS Secondary Uses Service
ICT Information Communications Technology TCO Total Cost of Ownership
ICU Intensive Care Unit TCV Total Contract Value
IG Information Governance VOIP Voice over IP
IHE Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise UKSH UK Specialist Hospitals Ltd
IM&T Information Management and Technology WAN Wide Area Network
IP Internet Protocol XDS Cross-Enterprise Document Sharing
ISB Information Standards Board
ISN Information Standards Notice
ISTC Independent Sector Treatment Centre
ITK NHS Interoperability Toolkit
IT Information Technology
LHC Local Health Community
LPfIT London Programme for Information Technology
LSP Local Service Provider
MIM Message Implementation Manual
C Appendix: Relevant EC Communications
on EHRs and Telemedicine
This Appendix provides key extracts from: the European Commission EHR Impact study (www.ehr-impact.eu) Telemedicine can improve access to specialised care in areas suffering from a shortage of expertise, or in areas where access to
to investigate the socio-economic impact of interoperable EHR and ePrescribing systems in Europe and beyond, healthcare is difficult.
and a Communication (COM(2008) 689) to European organisations including the European Parliament on
telemedicine for the benefit of patients, healthcare systems and society. Telemonitoring can improve the quality of life of chronically ill patients and reduce hospital stays. Services such as teleradiology and
teleconsultation can help to shorten waiting lists, optimise the use of resources and enable productivity gains.
“EHRs and ePrescribing are not quick wins, they are sustainable wins. It takes at least four, and more typically, up to nine years Despite the potential of telemedicine, its benefits and the technical maturity of the applications, the use of telemedicine services is still
The EHR IMPACT Study
before initiatives produce their first positive annual socio-economic return, and six to eleven years to realise a cumulative net benefit. limited, and the market remains highly fragmented. Although Member States have expressed their commitment to wider deployment of
telemedicine, most telemedicine initiatives are no more than one-off, small-scale projects that are not integrated into healthcare systems.
Plans to invest in EHRs and ePrescribing systems should have a clear focus on achieving changes at the right time; neither too late,
nor too early. It comes as a paradox that in the complex environment of EHR and ePrescribing systems, longer time scales are Telemonitoring is a telemedicine service aimed at monitoring the health status of patients at a distance. Telemonitoring is particularly
generally associated with lower risk of failure. useful in the case of individuals with chronic illnesses.
The sub-analysis of financial, or cash, impacts underlines the extensive reliance on executives’ and managers’ skill and expertise in • It can contribute to re-organisation and re-deployment of healthcare resources, for instance
organisational change and resource redeployment to realise financial returns. by reducing hospital visits, thus contributing to the greater efficiency of healthcare systems.
Healthcare provider organisations bear most of the costs and are the main beneficiaries. Long phases of engagement, planning and • It has proven to increase quality of care for patients, in particular chronically ill patients.
design lead to net socio-economic costs followed by net benefits at later stages. Citizens, healthcare professionals and third parties tend In the context of an ageing population and an increasing burden of chronic diseases, the benefits
to reach a net benefit quicker. its wider deployment can provide are crucial.
The EHR IMPACT cases show that interoperability is a prime driver of benefits from EHR and ePrescribing systems. Benefits • It requires a coherent approach and partnership involving patients, health professionals,
rely on access to information regardless of place and time. Local, closed ICT systems lacking interoperability would not release these healthcare providers, payers and the industry, to ensure sustainability of the services.
Most telemonitoring services are still limited to the status of temporary projects without clear prospects for wider use and proper
Policies have to create the right climate and incentives for Health Provider Organisations to pursue the required investments. This includes integration into healthcare systems. Member States are responsible for the organisation, provision and funding of national healthcare.
a political commitment to goals such as improving the quality and increasing the efficiency of healthcare, and the removal of potential The leadership of their health authorities in achieving wider deployment of telemedicine is essential. Collecting evidence and sharing
regulatory and other system barriers. The second plea to policy makers is to allow investors, project teams and stakeholders enough time to good practice on implementation of telemedicine services and reimbursement schemes are therefore critical in order to secure the
achieve net socio-economic returns. necessary acceptance and commitment on the part of the health authorities.”
EHRs and ePrescribing bring about considerable strategic gains for healthcare and should be approached as a clinical venture, not
as an ICT project. Using EHRs and ePrescribing as part of successful change in clinical and working practices is an essential
component of improving health services delivery and performance. By taking the socio-economic perspective, initiatives can achieve
returns of close to 200% on their total investment, and an average of about 80% over some nine years.
The EHR IMPACT study identified two not to miss opportunities for all EHR and ePrescribing systems. One is to organise
engagement and a productive dialogue between users and ICT experts preceded spending large sums of money on actual solutions.
Continuous engagement with healthcare professionals from the outset is essential and time-consuming, but must not be avoided. If
it is, it has bigger costs downstream.
The other opportunity is to use interoperability is a prime driver of benefits. It makes life easier for users and provides gains that rely
on access to information regardless of place and time, and from re-using information for multiple purposes. Without the meaningful
sharing and exchange of information, the gains would be marginal and not justify the cost of investments.”
“Telemedicine encompasses a wide variety of services. Those most often mentioned in peer reviews are teleradiology, telepathology,
teledermatology, teleconsultation, telemonitoring, telesurgery and teleophthalmology. Other potential services include call centres/online
information centres for patients, remote consultation/e-visits or videoconferences between health professionals.
European citizens are getting older and are increasingly living with chronic diseases. Their health condition often requires enhanced
medical attention. Medical support may not be available in remote areas and for certain specialities as easily or as frequently as their
health condition would require.
D Appendix: Case Study - Transformation through E Appendix: Case Study – Developing an
Collaboration and Communication Technology ICP-based EPR system in the Independent Sector
This appendix references extracts from a report entitled “Collaboration and communication technology at the
Heart of Hospital Transformation”, published on 15 March 2010 by the Association of Chartered Certified With new facilities opening in November 2009 at three locations across
Accountants (ACCA) in collaboration with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) and the UKSH is a leading edge the South West and a clinical workforce who would be travelling and
European Commission Information Society Directorate – General. independent sector healthcare working across the various locations, UKSH needed strong systems and
company with a first class record infrastructure in place to ensure high quality care and effective patient
As Florin Lupescu, Director, ICT Addressing Societal Challenges at the European Commission comments in of delivering quality results, management. In planning the service delivery, UKSH identified the use
the Foreword: innovation and efficiency. of an electronic patient record (EPR) system as the key enabler to drive
high quality care.
“The report provides a persuasive account of the huge impact the new communications infrastructure deployed at NUH has had on UKSH operates four treatment
re-engineering the day-to-day working processes of its emergency department. The report highlights the role of communications tools centres across the South West in The challenge for UKSH was to harness technology to enable the
in creating a more efficient, streamlined and peaceful working environment in which NUH can deliver high quality care to patients.” Bristol, Wiltshire, Somerset and patients to receive their care and aftercare interchangeably across
Gloucestershire and has treated multiple sites. The EPR system had to follow a clinically led model.
Key extracts from the report now follow: over 40,000 NHS patients to date.
“This report tells the story of how one acute teaching hospital, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH), has embraced In 2008, UKSH embarked on a process of developing detailed evidence
ICT and used it to engineer change and to begin to revolutionise service delivery across its emergency department – one of the largest based integrated care pathways (ICPs) for each procedure that would be
and busiest in Europe. The IMS MAXIMS electronic health undertaken at the new centres. UKSH led this work with its own clinical
record architecture enabled UKSH workforce and input from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Utilising telephony services provided by fixed and portable handsets, the new system enables staff to instantly contact any other to load the detailed ICPs and
member of the ED team – wherever they are located within the department and beyond. The new processes make finding and speaking integrate them into their advanced These ICPs followed the full pathway from referral, pre-assessment,
with people much more efficient and add governance to person-person process steps. electronic patient record system procedure, inpatient/ day case and discharge through to follow up. The
which includes: ICPs were then extensively reviewed by a panel of experienced NHS
These changes have fostered a more collaborative working environment with all staff working together to ensure the new system’s success. Patient scheduling consultants to ensure compliance with the highest UK standards. All
They have also resulted in an increase in patient satisfaction due to shorter waiting times and improved comfort levels. Having taken Choose and book integration evidence supporting the ICPs is referenced and can be accessed by
the decision to make a significant investment in both new processes and new technologies the Trust was committed to assessing the Patient flow management clinicians to review relevant articles and research that support the
benefits. This report begins that process. At the time of writing the new collaboration technology had only just been introduced to the Theatre management pathway.
emergency department of NUH. Patient and referrer At the same time, UKSH looked at the various technology solutions
correspondence available and sought to identify a system that met its needs.
However, significant improvements are already evident, including: PACs ordering and review
In April 2009, when the ICPs were agreed and completed, UKSH
Pathology and pharmacy
a reduction in the patient journey time of 23% for adult patients and 33% for paediatric patients ordering and review began the process of integrating them into an electronic patient record
system developed with its IT provider, IMS MAXIMS.
Detailed clinical metrics,
an increase in productivity of doctors treating minor injury patients equating to a potential time saving of over seven tracking and reporting
hours per day or one doctor per year capabilities
The chosen system was built up from the clinical perspective with every
Developing the system
• cost containment that will allow a full return on investment in the new technology to be realised in just 14 months. aspect of the pathway integrated into one seamless, robust and
accessible platform. Before going live the system was extensively tested
Overall the new system has been a great success. Indeed it has been such a success that, just six weeks after roll-out during a planned to make sure it could manage the patient’s treatment from start to finish.
four hour system outage, staff complained that without the phones, despite the established fall back procedures, they could not do their
“We consistantly focus on delivering
jobs properly.” The web based system features high levels of security, user identification
high quality results for our patients.
and locks down, and allows clinicians to access the patient information
Our new clinically led system is
they need whichever site they are on. This integrated electronic solution
driving a standardised care
also ensures complete and up to date patient information is available.
approach, high quality outcomes
and delivering detailed data and
The clinical approach taken from the outset made the system more intuitive
metrics. For UKSH the technology is
for the clinicians to use and manage and training across all skill levels meant
an enabler rather than a controller of
staff were engaged and understood the system and its value to the patient
activity and feedback from clinicians
has indicated that the system works
for them in an effective and
The system went live in November 2009 to support the opening of
seamless way to support high
UKSH’s three new sites in the South West.
quality patient care.”
Fiona Calnan, CEO, UKSH
F Appendix: LSP Recent History
BT was awarded the London LSP contract in December 2003, based on using the IDX software around a At the time their contract was terminated in May 2008, Fujitsu had deployed Cerner into 8 out of 41 acute
London LSP (BT as LSP) South (formerly Fujitsu as LSP)
single database and instance of the software. During 2005, when it became evident that IDX would not be Trusts in the South.
available for some time to support GP and community care, a decision was made in CCN1 to bring in specialist
solutions (respectively INPS and Rio). These deployments have been a success with all but one community CFH subsequently agreed a contract Memorandum of Understanding for BT to take on these live Cerner sites
trust now using Rio. Subsequently, and in view of similar developments in the South, a decision was made in (bringing them onto the same code base as the London version of Cerner), deploy four new ‘early adopter’
CCN2 in 2006 to switch the hospital system from IDX to Cerner, and create a London Shared Record to Cerner sites (N Bristol, Oxford Radcliffe, Bath and one other), together with a series of ROI deployments across
straddle across the care sectors in London. the South. The contract was valued at £540M in September 2009. Fujitsu’s PACS responsibilities related to
the GE system were in turn taken on by CSC.
However, like the Southern Cerner acute deployments, the early London deployments were problematic. The
Royal Free problems received the highest profile, with the Trust reporting £8M in attributable losses following In April 2009, the new NHS CIO announced that those Southern acute, community and ambulance Trusts
its implementation in 2008. There was more than a year’s delay before the next deployment of the improved remaining outside the LSP Programme would be able to receive centrally funded systems through the Additional
Cerner system at Kingston Hospital in late 2009. This was based around a new delivery model, including: Supply Capability and Capacity (ASCC) procurement framework established in 2008. She announced that a
much more Cerner presence on site; working in a single domain; and a training system to match the live one. new procurement would start shortly.
This new implementation passed the CFH ‘30 November 2009 deployment test’ and is now seen as a replicable
model for the next planned deployments at St George’s and Imperial.
A contract reset CCN3 is in process to formally recognise this new deployment model and reflect the new
requirement to meet the emerging IT needs of Polyclinics, in the context of a Government requirement to save
£100M from the TCV.
After the 2006 exit of Accenture, further delays occurred to the development of Lorenzo resulting in more
North Midlands East (CSC as LSP)
contract reset activity between CFH and CSC. Lorenzo was essentially a development project with difficulties
on both sides.
The result from the contract reset signed in 2008 was a layered four release programme (‘Penfield’). The first
deployment of Release 1.9 (covering the core Care Management functionality) went live in Bury PCT in late
2009 (a small community provider), with the first full deployment due at a large hospital (Morecambe Bay Trust)
in late March 2010. After a gap to learn lessons, CSC plan 3 further early adopter Lorenzo implementations
in summer 2010, followed by a further 12-13 sites during the remainder of the year.
The practicality of these plans remains to be seen. Typically in the software industry, it takes 18-24 months after
the initial α or β implementation before a complex software product is really ready for general release. CSC
told us that while Lorenzo is not yet ready for general release, it is further ahead than a β release.
Although no public announcement was made, we understand that Lorenzo did pass the ‘30 November 2009’
deployment test based on the outcome of the Bury PCT deployment.
Meanwhile, the TPP implementations in primary, community and mental health have been regarded as a
success, with over 15 million patient records live in the North East and East. Trust contributors reported to us
that they are evaluating using the product in hospital outpatients.
As with BT, the contract with CSC is in reset to achieve £400M in total savings. It appears to be dependent on
the Morecambe Bay go-live being successfully achieved32.
G Appendix: EPR Architectural Options H Appendix: Open Source as an Option
[The material in this appendix is kindly provided by Ruth Gardiner, independent consultant] As part of this study, we took a brief look at the state of the open source industry as regards clinical IT systems,
by speaking with key players internationally.
Prior to NPfIT, there were two schools of thought on architectural approaches around hospital EPRs:
In summary, we found that there is clear engagement around open source from leaders in the vibrant
• ‘rip and replace’ - involves the replacement of all major patient systems with a single EPR solution international standards community (see http://www.openhealthtools.org/index.htm) and commercial open
from a single vendor, sometimes managed by a systems integrator; source healthcare vendors.
• ‘best of breed’ approach - involves procuring and using best in class systems for each A number of the open source projects have reached a level of maturity that included referenceable deployments
departmental function, integrated through an integration engine. and many of the on-going developments are targeted at President Obama’s Recovery & Reinvestment Act in
the US, which is providing funding for the adoption of “Meaningful Use” of EPR products33. The certification
The pro’s and con’s of each were heavily debated. However, while providing the opportunity for rapid, tactical process will include mechanism for both proprietary and open source products. To become accredited. a number
progress, the generally accepted view was ‘best of breed’ was sub-optimal. Its level of integration was of open source projects are centred on the provision of standardised open infrastructure, repositories and
traditionally limited to data integration, with an inability to enable effective workflow to achieve optimised application development frameworks around which clinical applications can be developed (similar in manner
processes on an enterprise-wide level (such as ICPs). to iPhone applications).
At least until recently, the LSP model fitted into the ‘rip and replace’ approach. Open source solutions are particularly suited to collaborative environments such as healthcare. The other main
potential advantages of Open Source relates to reduced total cost of ownership (10-20%), the avoidance of
There is now emerging a third alternative – ‘surround and replace’ - which some Trusts in the South are looking vendor lock-in, transparency, and the removal of high barriers to entry.
to pursue, which takes a middle ground and seeks to take the best from both approaches. It enables a more
flexible approach, but is dependent on factors such as timescale, finance, risk and the starting point. Custom-off-theShelf (COTS) vendors are increasingly choosing to build elements of their product stack based
on open source technology (e.g., database, application server and operating systems) giving them access to the
It involves retaining some of the existing patient systems which are fit for purpose, and bringing other new code and potentially easing multiple support problems. The next generation of COTS solutions are starting to
systems either to replace some functionality or add new functionality. It uses more sophisticated integration include open source platforms and technologies beyond the use of core open source technologies seen today.
technologies specifically designed for healthcare to enable interoperation between systems to give the appearance
of one system. The key difference compared with the legacy approach to ‘best of breed’ is that the component In the course of our work we also spoke with Dr Hugh Kairns, Consultant Nephrologist at King’s College
systems are designed to support and optimise corporate wide processes or ‘lines of business’ such as enterprise Hospital, who spoke of their progress in the renal unit with a specialist clinical open source system:
scheduling. The departmental systems approach typically reinforced departmental ways of working and creates
a barrier to improving efficiency and effectiveness across the organisation. “We have already developed a powerful, open source specialty database (Renalware) at King’s College Hospital in the Renal unit
and are now developing a parallel database within the Institute of Liver Studies. The experience within Renal indicates that the use
In outline, the functional components need to be brought together through an effective enterprise wide of a specialty database — designed from the start around clinical need, under local control and continually evolving as data
integration platform that either incorporates or can work with a clinical decision support engine, workflow requirements change and core software develops — dramatically improves data quality whilst facilitating activity-based costing.
management and can provide a longitudinal view of patient interventions, outcomes and key clinical
information. Clinicians and other staff have a primary interest in entering and maintaining an accurate database as they all derive speciﬁc and
immediate beneﬁt. User designed audit of outcome measures is now almost seamless in Renal and drives quality improvement.
The aim is to achieve seamless information flow integrating disparate application systems into a comprehensive Current user-friendly software permits clinicians to develop rapidly additional clinical audit and costing analysis screens, which
distributed information system. This is difficult to achieve as individual applications typically are not designed non-specialty hospital databases cannot possibly provide as they do not handle the relevant metadata.”
to cooperate. The integration strategy must ensure data integrity and also enable the context or and meaning
of data exchanged between systems to be maintained. It should also minimise the need to move between As with proprietary software, to avoid practical implementation issues associated with running open source
different systems for the user and ensure functionality is aligned to core business processes as closely as possible. software there needs to be organisations providing commercial support for open source solutions. In addition
Across the globe, there is a growing trend towards using emerging interoperability technologies to make better to this, the use of open industry standards is essential to ensure that integration with existing technologies is
use of existing systems whilst moving forward with new and innovative solutions for specific tasks as they become possible. For example, the NHS makes wide use of Microsoft products, such as Word which is the default
available. This includes solutions that use Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) and internationally agreed standard for document preparation (e.g. clinic and discharge letters).
standards for messaging and communications. These systems enable the linking of distributed systems either
through a centralised hub or through a federated approach to data held in different databases. In the medium term, open source clearly has enormous potential applicability to the NHS, perhaps through
developing complimentary services around the NPfIT core and specific clinical solution, subject to strict
Example suppliers of such integration products include Cambio, DBMotion, ICW, iSOFT, Orion and Tolven. compliance with standards. The discussion about PHRs in Section 6 is an example.
Major questions remain on whether the ‘surround and replace’ strategy is truly viable. The major issue
associated with all multi-vendor approaches is ensuring the parties can work together and as smaller niche
solutions are acquired by larger vendors this becomes increasingly complicated. But as a means to enable choice
and progress at Trust level, it represents an avenue worthy of consideration.
2020health is a health and technology think tank
with a vision of more people enjoying good health.
• We want to improve health through effective commissioning,
competition and technology.
• We seek a level playing field between the public and private sector
as the work to improve health outcomes.
• We search forways in which the workforce can take more
responsibility in local healthcare.
• We examine the consequences of healthcare decisions
on society, lifestyle and culture.
We are ‘professional’ led, ensuring all we do has the constant input of people working for and in the public services.
Our unique emphasis is on giving people who work delivering healthcare, the ‘grass-roots’, the opportunity to use
their experience and expertise to direct our work.
2020health's work is made possible through partnership and sponsorship.
Please do contact Julia@2020health.org if you would like to know
more about getting involved in our work.