Agfa HealthCare has launched its proven ORBIS electronic patient record system in the UK for the first time. The software is already used by 800 hospitals internationally.

The system is Agfa’s most comprehensive hospital-wide clinical information system which delivers a complete electronic patient record as well as modules for scheduling, activity management and communication software.

Agfa Healthcare’s business manager of the IT division for the UK, Ireland and Nordic regions, Philip Tesh told E-Health Insider: “We have been doing ongoing work to get this product ready for the international markets over the last 12 months, and to date it has been a success in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia, Italy, the USA and Canada.

“Based on this success, a decision has been made to start to introduce the system in the UK. The main issue we face is dealing with language differences, but this has not been too difficult thanks to the work we have done in the USA and Canada. We are working hard to refine the workflow processes to suit the main needs of the market using the product.”

The ORBIS EPR product was originally developed by German healthcare software firm GWI for the German market. GWI was purchased by Agfa in 2005 and its EPR product developed into ORBIS.

By using ORBIS EPR, Agfa says NHS trusts can benefit from a system capable of meeting the everyday needs of a healthcare environment from administration to prescriptions and care records, as well as registration, scheduling, order management, results reporting and clinical documentation.

Agfa showcased the product at last month’s Healthcare Computing conference in Harrogate where Tesh said interest was higher than anticipated.

“Considering the national programme is offering a similar system to ours, we had a phenomenal interest in ORBIS at Harrogate. No-one thought that it wasn’t quite right, they were pleased to just see a live, working process system. It is not completely ready, but it is available and more ready than other competitors’ EPR systems.

“One of the key strengths of the system is integration, which is fundamental for systems to work together. We are providing a solution which will integrate with the existing legacy systems used in hospitals. Over 800 hospitals in Europe with more than 450,000 daily users and we have managed to provide integration with third party systems for all of them.”

Also included in the system are ancillary clinical disciplines such as radiology, pharmacy, laboratory, therapy services, nursing management and critical care, as well as specialist solutions including surgery suite management, critical care unit management, skilled nursing facility, home health, workflow and logistics.

Tesh said: “The EPR will give hospitals a specific method of electronically and digitally taking central administrative systems and incorporating them all to different hospital departments to interact with one single system. It will make help improve efficiency, security and flexibility, and most importantly will help to improve patient care.”

Agfa hope to pilot the system in trusts soon and have a completed system ready to offer NHS trusts and private sector hospitals by the end of this year.

“At this moment in time, we are in negotiations with certain sites and we will nominate two of them as pilot sites," said Tesh. "As part of the pilot, we have two main criteria to resolve – the first to finish refining the product for the NHS and to design a product to meet the appropriate requirements for trusts.

“We are actively looking for interested trusts now. Trusts have already come forward on the back of Harrogate and we are currently identifying potential sites. We are looking to deploy systems after the pilot sites later this year.”

Agfa hope that the release of the EPR system will help them to expand their business in the UK and told EHI that they are looking closely at Connecting for Health’s Additional Supply Capability and Capacity tender.

The company claim that ORBIS will expand Agfa’s client lists into paediatrics, dermatology, oncology, psychiatry, urology, internal medicine, gynecology, ophthalmology, general surgery, and even dental medicine and nursing.

Agfa Healthcare UK’s director, Adrian Stevens said: “Expanding Agfa Healthcare’s IT offering across the health enterprise enables much faster and easier data transfer and processing so that the productivity of all teams within the hospital environment can improve dramatically.”

Tesh added: “We are beginning to get more interest and our hope is that ORBIS gets good market interests and helps us to expand our UK presence enormously, so that we are not just a radiology firm. With the CfH tender, it seems that pretty much everything is now up for grabs and it would be wonderful if we could get involved.

“In particular, if we could get our patient administration system through, it would help us to enable ORBIS to work together with the PAS and map current processes into the right format. ORBIS is beautiful for this, offering total flexibility for workflows to be adapted but the tools are so user friendly, that we envisage people sorting their own workflows, at least 80-90% will want to do this.”


Agfa Healthcare