Cambridge’s eHospital problems and Scotland’s IT projects

ComputerWeekly.com has published my article on Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s problems bringing in eHospital, a £200m IT system based around software from Epic and hardware from HP. While the trust initially reported all was going well, eHospital has recently been fingered by Monitor and the Care Quality Commission as contributing to the trust’s problems.

I spoke to a number of people with knowledge of eHospital, including this former IT employee of the trust who spoke on condition of anonymity: Continue reading “Cambridge’s eHospital problems and Scotland’s IT projects”

Plymouth Community Healthcare: happy outside the NHS

Guardian Healthcare Professionals Network has just published two articles by me. The first is on Plymouth Community Healthcare, an expanding healthcare company running NHS and social care services in and around the city.

The organisation argues that its status as a not-for-profit, no-shareholders community interest company is better than being part of an NHS trust. It reckons the services it runs are often lost within trusts focused mainly on acute or mental health; that it is more flexible and in tune with local needs; and that it is able to focus its spending on its local area, which NHS trusts can’t do. Continue reading “Plymouth Community Healthcare: happy outside the NHS”

Article on NHS IT and The blunders of our governments

ComputerWeekly.com has published an article by me on the options for NHS organisations on bringing in electronic patient record (EPR) systems, such as big bang (Cambridge University Hospitals and Epic), open source, linking up through a portal and improving imaging (both PACS/RIS and scanning paper records). You can read it here, with copious links to more detailed coverage by ComputerWeekly.com including my piece on Cambridge University Hospitals from December.

The blunders of our governmentsHowever, the clearest lessons I have passed on come from The blunders of our governments, a detailed study of government idiocy by Anthony King and Ivor Crewe. They describe the National Programme for IT (NPfIT), which failed to provide EPRs to most of England’s trusts, as “the veritable RMS Titanic of IT disasters” and “doomed-from-the-beginning”. As they point out, it was started at a meeting “between a prime minister [Tony Blair] who knew next to nothing about computers and a clutch of computer enthusiasts”; it was “wildly overambitious”, “far from being essential” and was apparently never subjected to “a serious – or even a back-of-the-envelope – cost-benefit analysis”. Continue reading “Article on NHS IT and The blunders of our governments”

NHS Wales interview, Cardiff’s Senedd and Devo-City on Kindle

On Wednesday, Guardian Healthcare Professionals Network published my interview with Dr Andrew Goodall, chief executive of NHS Wales. He discussed having a bit more money, pay restraint (which will continue despite the bit more money) and how to get people to understand and agree to reconfigurations of services.

He also said it is easier to make things happen in Wales:

We’re able to bring people in a room, and understand their own views on how they want to develop good services… People can talk about what they want to change in Wales, and we’re able to do something about that.

Continue reading “NHS Wales interview, Cardiff’s Senedd and Devo-City on Kindle”

Cambridge University Hospitals’ Epic £200m IT project

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.” Continue reading “Cambridge University Hospitals’ Epic £200m IT project”