Mid-Staffordshire General Hospitals NHS Trust has begun piloting iSoft’s iCM clinical management system on two wards, five years after they signed a ten-year deal with the supplier.

The trust first signed a contract with iSoft in October 2002, just before the National Programme for IT began in earnest and have been sporadically working on implementing systems from iSoft ever since.

Isoft got off to a good start delivering its iPM patient administration system in just one month. Further departmental systems for radiology and theatres followed, but progress on the core iCM clinical system became badly delayed and contract disputes arose.

The trust had been banking on iSoft providing its iCM system, which includes order communications and result reporting, as a key step in Mid-Staffs’ development of an electronic patient record (EPR).

However, the project to install the iCM system stalled for three years between 2003 and 2006. Revisions to the deployment timetable were only finally agreed earlier this year. The hiatus coincided with iSoft being appointed a key software supplier to the NHS IT programme.

Since signing contracts with local service providers CSC and Accenture, and latterly just CSC. Isoft has struggled to complete its Lorenzo next generation software and CSC has so far installed iCM at just one trust, Ipswich.

Head of IM&T at the trust, David Haycox, told E-Health Insider: “We signed with iSoft five years ago as we needed a new patient administration system (PAS) urgently with our Siemens contract expiring in March 2003."

Haycox said initially things went well, but then problems began: "Isoft were very good and deployed an iPM PAS for us within a month. Since then, progress had not been as good as we hoped due to lengthy slippages."

The trust had hoped to quickly move on to deploying iCM as part of its planned EPR strategy, but instead there followed a four year hiatus. The trust finally agreed new timescales to the contract with iSoft earlier this year. Since then they have begun deploying new systems, including the latest version of iPM and Picture Archiving and Communications (PACS)

An iSoft spokesperson told EHI: “The contract for an EPR was agreed five years ago ahead of the National Programme for IT and initiatives such as Choose and Book. Mid Staffordshire’s priorities have changed to accommodate these new demands and iSOFT has worked closely with the trust to fully meet its changing business needs. The project to install iCM has been delivered to a revised contract schedule agreed with the trust.”

In February the trust completed an upgrade of the iPM PAS to ensure it was Choose and Book compatible. Then in June, Mid-Staffs had PACS installed as part of NPfIT.

Once these systems were in place, the trust agreed with iSoft to pilot the iCM system in two wards – one medical ward, and the Children’s Ward- at the Staffordshire General Hospital.

The two-month pilot project started this month on two wards at the Staffordshire General Hospital. Roll-out of iCM to around 60 areas including wards, outpatient departments and clinics at the Staffordshire General and Cannock Chase Hospitals is scheduled to begin in September. Once this phase is completed, the trust will begin implementing other iCM modules for care pathways and multi-disciplinary records.

Haycox said: “After extensive testing for around three months ensuring that the system was configured to meet trust requirements our clinicians had asked for. The system has been in place since July and so far feedback has been good. It offers our clinicians quicker mechanisms for ordering tests and x-rays, and also provides a quicker turnaround on results.

“The improved efficiency in ordering and receiving results electronically will help to improve the care to patients by speeding up the process for diagnosis and treatment. As nursing and medical staff become familiar with the technology, it will ultimately mean patients benefiting from shorter stays in hospital.”

Ultimately, the trust want to extend the functionality of iSoft Clinical Manager product to include e-prescribing.

Haycox added: “In September, we will do a post-project formal review and then reflect on the pilot before rolling it out across the trust within the next nine months.

“So far, nursing and medical staff on both wards have found the system easy to use and have commented that it provides them with a speedier and more efficient way to request tests and x-rays and to receive the results ”

The systems being put in place are similar to those being offered to other trusts in the North, Midlands and Eastern region by local service provider, CSC.

Haycox added: “I believe that the systems we have will provide similar functionality to that which will be used in the cluster. Aslater versions are released, it will ultimately depend on whether and when we take them."

He said it was not yet certain whether the trust would take Lorenzo when available, but was using integration technologies to allow its systems to communicate. “We are in discussions over if we will take the Lorenzo system or not, but are using iSoft’s own integration engine to connect iPM and iCM and Orion’s Rhapsody engine to interface iCM with the HSS Radiology system we are using and so far, so good.”

Last July EHI reported that Mid-Staffs neighbour, the University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, had gone live with iSoft’s iPM and iCM systems some three years after it first signed the contract outside NPfIT – two years later than planned. The implementation initially proved fraught for trust leaving it unable to bill for certain activity or recover income.


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