BT has successfully completed its deployment of Picis theatre systems to six hospital trusts in London under the National Programme for IT.

Announced last year, BT had signed an agreement with specialist developer, Picis, to deliver new operating theatre management systems to six hospital trusts, under agreement by Connecting for Health.

Since then, BT has worked with the trusts – The Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, St Mary’s NHS Trust (now part of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust), Kingston Hospital NHS Trust, Mayday Healthcare NHS Trust, Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals NHS Trust and the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust – where they have installed new versions of the Picis Theatre system, designed especially for the English NHS.

BT’s commercial director for the London Programme for IT, Gareth Tipton, told E-Health Insider: “The Picis interim solution deployment process has been very successful. All six trusts are now live, and it is being used in nine hospitals, covering over 100 operating theatres. For these trusts, it has been extremely welcome moving them from manual paper processes to a very paperless process, which is faster and more efficient.”

Picis Theatre Manager is a British version of the Picis OR Manager, used in operating rooms across the US.

It has been designed to provide trusts with complete surgical scheduling, patient tracking, inter-operative nursing documentation and waiting list management through an 18 month consultation with BT, CfH and trusts from NHS London.

Tipton said the trusts have noticed immediate differences since deployment began at the start of the year.

“The trusts we have been working with Picis are very pleased with the system they now have. They can book theatre sessions, perform conflict checks, view theatre lists and so on. It has helped to provide much improved patient safety, for example, it can inform surgeons of allergies or drug contraindications.

“It also provides real-time checking information for resource management, such as cost control, slot availability, direct impact allocation and staff or cost resources. There are administrative efficiencies to be gained, like a significant reduction in duplicated data entry and a significant increase in theatre productivity. Delays have been minimised thanks to real-time information.”

Trusts have been equally as positive about the benefits of the new system. Kelly Goulding, Picis project manager at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust, told EHI: “Previously we collected information on paper, now on one Smart Track screen, we have real-time access to see theatre progress throughout the day. The data is colour coded to identify its urgency and is much more rich in content. We are very happy with the system and want to make the most out of it.” The other trusts all echoed these sentiments.

Despite positive reception from the six trusts, BT says it has no current plans to change its status from interim best of breed to the London programme theatre system.

Tipton said: “Picis was chosen because it fitted in nicely with our ongoing best of breed strategy. It was only chosen as a system to put into trusts who had no electronic system or very old legacy systems and needed a replacement system immediately. Something to accelerate deployments and get systems out of the ground.

“However, our strategic solution for the acute sector is Cerner Millennium, which has theater functionality built in and should be delivered to all trusts through LC1 in 2008. Barts and the London will be the next R0 site, and then all will be R1 which will include theatre elements.”

He did not however, rule out the interim system becoming a main solution in the future.

Tipton said: “If trusts want to keep Picis as their main theatre system, then they can choose to interface with Cerner Millennium. Of course, our main interim system which turned into a best of breed offering was RiO, where we decided to make it a strategic product and 50% of community and 60% of mental health trusts are now using it in London.”