German Hospital, Evangelisches Krankenhaus Unna, North Rhine-Westphalia, has extended its contract with iSoft to implement its Collaboration Suite (iCS) portal, to help join patient information between primary and secondary care.

The new contract extends a contract originally signed ten years ago and also covers the continued use of the iSoft’s hospital information system, ClinicCentre. Isoft will provide general availability of all new developments concerning the already implemented modules of ClinicCentre.

Worth a total of €250,000 with an additional €87,000 for support and maintenance over five years, the new deal will provide the hospital with a medical portal, which will allow doctors to access hospital patient information from their GP systems.

Peter Goerdeler, administration manager at the hospital, told E-Health Europe that by providing improved connections with primary care clinicians the portal will help the hospital compete.

“In the last few years Germany has built a more competitive structure in the healthcare sector. The government is saying that we have too many hospitals and therefore the competition between hospitals and the need to cut costs has grown,” said Goerdeler.

Goerdeler said that due to fierce competition it is essential to provide GPs with the tools that make organising the treatment of their patients as easy as possible. Providing such tools help ensure the GP refers to the hospital and not another.

He told EHE: “It is very important to tie the GPs to our hospitals as they have so much power. Around 75% of patients decide on the hospital their doctors recommended. It is paramount that we can offer our partners easy tools with which they can better organise the treatment of their patients.

“By offering such tools we will be able to guarantee the best possible treatment of our patients and a positive economic environment.”

Using iCS, will enable the GP to connect to the hospital information system , improving communication between hospitals and practices, as well as allowing current patient records to be updated and new data to be imported into local patient files.

Goerdeler added: “When GPs get a professional exchange of patient-data in an easy way, the satisfaction with the hospital increases, the GP that admits a patient to the hospital feels more involved with the process as he gets a quick exchange of information, such as a discharge summary before the patient has been discharged.”

The hospital has started rolling out the software free of charge to nearby GP surgeries and if successful will expand the collaboration over the next twelve months.

The deal is the latest in a series of relatively small contract wins and extensions announced by iSoft this year.