The Whittington Hospital NHS Trust has become the first in the UK to pilot a new single sign-on gateway portal from health software specialist McKesson.

The Horizon Physician Portal, originally developed for the US-market, provides one view of data from disparate source systems and a single point of access to multiple stand-alone systems in use across the trust, removing the needs for repeatedly logging in and out of different applications.

Charmaine McDonald, UK MD of McKesson, told E-Health Insider the portal solution offered a way to provide clinicians with additional value from existing systems, saving time and making it easier to access information, without having to replace them.

McKesson’s Horizon ‘Physician’ Portal comes with a strong US pedigree (the name is a rather obvious giveaway). In the US McKesson says the system is used by 100,000 users and live in 496 facilities with three million log-ins per month.

The portal acts as a gateway to a broad array of resources and system applications from all settings of care, including clinical information systems, imaging and scheduling systems, core PAS systems, communication systems, and internal or third-party content.

“You’re not ripping and replacing. The feeds of data come from many different systems, they don’t have to be McKesson,” said McDonald. “You can pretty easily get a piece of technology that reduces confusion, saves time and adds benefits.”

She said the Horizon Physician Portal represented a useful step forward for trusts awaiting systems from the NHS IT programme. “Effectively there is a lot of confusion in delivering solutions for clinicians right now.”

Describing how clinicians at the trust are beginning to see benefits, McDonald said previously clinicians had to sign-in to PACS and then sign-in to a separate radiology system to view the report on the image. “Now they get both items on the same screen side-by-side. This didn’t exist until Whittington put in the portal”

In phase one of the Whittington installation four systems have been connected, including laboratory systems, with more to come in phase two.

She said the initial install at Whittington had taken about nine months but future sites should expect a three-month turn-around. McDonald said that work had already begun on installing the portal product at a second NHS trust.

McKesson says that by using a single sign-on through a web browser, clinicians can obtain data from systems in use across the trust, and personalise their view of this information. Because the web-based system supports remote access clinicians can have immediate access to critical information whether they are at home, in the office or even by the patients’ bedside.

McDonald said the system is highly configurable: “With Horizon Physician Portal, users can access the information they want to see it, where and how they want to see it. "

The portal is built on McKesson’s Horizon Foundation Web platform on which multiple constituency portals and business process management applications are built and run. Horizon Foundation includes integrated components including security, authentication, content management, personalisation and patient context management for multiple sources of information.