McKesson has been selected by Fujitsu to provide its CarePlus child health software to NHS trusts across the South of England under the NHS IT modernisation programme.

Fujitsu is the prime contractor – or local service provider (LSP) – for the £12.4bn NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) in the South, responsible for upgrading NHS IT systems across the region.

The deal with Fujitsu allows for McKesson’s CarePlus Child Health solution to be made available to all strategic health authorities within the south. A number of sites in the South, including PCTs across Kent, already use the system.

McKesson said its CarePlus child health system has been selected by Fujitsu to assist in connecting child health to the NPfIT objectives ahead of alternate systems from other suppliers which are currently not ready for deployment. Fujitsu told E-Health Insider that CarePlus was not a replacement for Cerner Millennium but an ‘interim’ alternative system.

The move does however appear to indicate a significant step back from Fujitsu’s previous strategy of relying on US clinical software provider Cerner to provide one integrated system – Cerner Millennium – to cover all delivery of healthcare, from hospitals to GPs, community clinics and specialist services such as child health and mental health services. Instead Fujitsu now seems to be moving towards a best of breed strategy relying on different suppliers to provide specialist systems.

This mirrors the approach taken by BT – the LSP for London – which is actively pursuing a best of breed strategy based on using Cerner for the acute sector, InPS for primary care and CSE Servelec for community services.

CSC are currently deploying two child health solutions: SystmOne (TPP) in the North East and East and East Midlands clusters, and HSW, an interim solution, in the North-west and West Midlands cluster. SystmOne Child Health has already been rolled out to over 60 Trusts

In addition to covering child health the CarePlus system offers a series of modules covering community and mental health. The CarePlus system is also accredited by CfH.

Commenting on the selection, Andy Hall, business development director at Fujitsu said, “Fujitsu turned to McKesson over alternative NPfIT suppliers as they are an established healthcare supplier with a proven track record. Over many years McKesson has consistently delivered systems that work on time and on budget that meet the needs of medical professionals and patients alike.”

According to McKesson CarePlus is a web-based medical information product that provides a full tool-kit of facilities to control the Child Health program within a single trust over a number of trusts or Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs). The system can stand-alone or integrate seamlessly with other CarePlus Primary Care products.

CarePlus is a modular solution with each component supporting a different aspect of the child health service. The core modules are registration and an immunisation module, which ensures that children are invited for their correct immunisations. Other modules can track children through their pre-school and school health careers, or support special groups such as Child Protection and Sure Start.

Commenting on Fujitsu’s selection, Simon Manley, sales and marketing director at McKesson, says, “The provision of child health is complex – while 20 years ago the focus was simply upon scheduling immunisation; today’s child health providers require more proactive support. Having our CarePlus child health system available to all southern SHAs and Trusts will allow the provision of child health to become more efficient and effective through streamlined, shared processes.”

Manley added that CarePlus is designed to capture the small percentage of children failing to develop as expected and to provide social, educational and health providers with the information required to deliver appropriate support. This is carried out by the system creating a detailed, centralised information repository about a child and its family, from birth, enables key trend monitoring at both a local and national level.

Manley concluded: “The CarePlus system will enable all departments to work effectively to support the NHS CfH programme’s objectives and deliver a solution that supports both current and emerging child health requirements allowing the NHS to plan better for the future.”