East Cheshire NHS Trust has opted to shift its existing patient administration system to a new hardware platform despite being offered incentives of around £1m to move to Lorenzo.
Board papers published in May explain the trust had to make some change because iSoft was no longer prepared to support its Clinicom PAS on its existing Alpha/Unix platform.
Hardware failures were leading “increased periods of unavailability of the patient management system.”
The board papers set out five options, ranging from patching up the existing set up to making more substantial upgrades to the hardware and software to becoming an early adopter of Lorenzo Release 1.9.
They also stated that the trust “may be eligible for a £1m deployment incentive funding for option 5 [Lorenzo]” and that it “could avoid costs of approximately £1m in capital/revenue over a three year period, with a cost avoidance of £405,000 in the first year alone.”
Other arguments in favour of a move to Lorenzo were that it would contribute to the trust’s key objectives of achieving foundation trust status by reducing its deficit, improving the development and support for staff and continuously improving the experience for patients.
However, after seeing an overview demonstration of Lorenzo and after meeting with CSC and the North West Strategic Health Authority, the trust decided that it “did not particularly want to be an early adopter of Lorenzo R1.9.”
The papers state the quality of the product “was not of a sufficiently high standard to give the evaluation team confidence in CSC’s ability to deliver a project on this scale” and some key functions – such as clinical coding and case note tracking – could not be demonstrated.
Instead, the trust will spend £224,000 capital on an “interim option”, which involves continuing to run the iSoft Clinicom PAS, upgrading its hardware platform to an HP-supplied Intel Itanium server platform, and migrating the Clinicom data to the new hardware server. This option will also cost £360,000 in recurring revenue over the next five years.
A statement from the trust said: “East Cheshire NHS Trust is upgrading the hardware for the existing PAS. The PAS on the current hardware platform has become less reliable and is not able to meet future organisational requirements.
“The decision was taken to upgrade the existing hardware whilst exploring the option to change to the national system, Lorenzo.”
The board papers concluded that “[NHS Connecting for Health] are pouring resources into Lorenzo to make it the national PAS of choice” and that the system is “nearly there but might take another six-12 months.”