East Sussex to invest £50m in IT

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust is looking to spend more than £50m on IT over the next five to seven years.

The trust’s IM&T strategy, obtained by eHealth Insider via a freedom of information request, reveals the trust plans to invest about £35m in strategic projects over the next five years including an electronic patient record system.

It also has a replacement plan for its end-user devices which it expects to cost £16.5m over seven years.

The strategy – which has not been approved by the board – says the five year programme will see £20m invested in clinical systems. This will deliver replacement secondary care and community and child health systems, including integrated electronic patient records, supported by a trust-wide clinical image store.

“The patient’s complete care record will be held electronically, with the majority of it made up from information collected through the clinical process in dedicated clinical systems or in a single trust-wide integrated EPR system, depending on the chosen systems architecture,” the strategy says.

The document suggests that the trust take a hybrid approach to meeting the trust’s clinical systems requirements.

“The trust would commence a procurement exercise looking for a replacement acute PAS/EPR system which offers sufficient depth of clinical integration within its EPR functionality to enable tight integration with a compatible community and child health system to create a holistic view of the patient record across the organisation,” it says.

It is currently operating three PAS systems. An OASIS PAS is used across the acute care environment and instances of PiMS (patient information management systems) and Clinicom are used within community service areas.

The trust plans to implement full electronic prescribing across the organisation and will integrate prescribing information into electronic discharge summaries for GPs. Decision support will also be implemented in order communications and e-prescribing.

The trust’s vision is for patients to be given access to a summary of their health record which they can share with health professionals involved in their care.

“Patients will be able to add their own information and to interact with those caring for them including requesting changes to their bookings,” the strategy says.

It details how £12.2m will be invested in infrastructure to: “improve provision of end-user devices and to improve security and resilience of LAN and WAN network services, to ensure adequacy of support for an agile workforce.”

About £1.7m will be invested in a replacement data warehouse together with business intelligence solutions and another £500,000 will be invested in service management, non-clinical systems and “revising the structure of the IM&T department.”

Financial pressure has led to a deterioration of hardware across the trust with many service areas working on old or broken PCs and printers or with not enough laptops.

In addition to the £35m funding outlined in the strategy, the strategy calls for a ‘step-up’ in the rate of replacement of end-user devices. The cost of this replacement plan will be £16.5m over seven years.

“Where capital funding is required to progress the workstreams, business cases will be developed to support investment decisions,” the strategy says.

East Sussex Healthcare is part of the Southern Acute Programme, which is hoping to get central funding for investment in IT systems for 21 trusts that did not get systems from the national programme for IT in the NHS.

A spokesperson for the trust said involvement in this programme will not affect the vision or details of the IM&T strategy, but will help progress it.

The trust is also part of the Sussex and Surrey collaborative procurement which recently chose Philips Healthcare to provide its picture archiving and communications system and HSS to provide a radiology information system. The strategy documents says East Sussex is investing about £3m in capital and £2.5m revenue in replacement PACS and RIS systems over ten years.


Last updated: 27 September 2012 11:22

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