ComputerWeekly.com has published an article by me on Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s £200m installation of software from Epic and hardware and networking kit from HP. I reckon I’m safe describing it as one of the biggest IT projects ever undertaken by a single NHS trust.
A huge amount of work went into deciding how much to alter processes and how much to alter software. As chief clinical information officer Dr Afzal Chaudhry told me: “It wasn’t a question of fitting our hospital to the system, but fitting the system and the workflows to care for our patients.”
Despite the National Programme for IT, what Cambridge University Hospitals has shown is that NHS organisations can do tech. It just takes a lot of work, crucially involving lots of clinicians cross-training to help set up the systems, with more than 100 staff going through Epic examinations. Dr Chaudhry added:
We believe we’ve made a good choice, and it can transition to other NHS institutions.“I think what’s challenging for the NHS is the model of having analysts upfront, funded properly. It’s hard to find these people, but I think having our own people doing the configuration has been phenomenally successful. If we’d skimped on people, or used people from outside, we wouldn’t have done as well.