Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has implemented new project management software to help it tackle the efficiency savings target set by the ‘Nicholson challenge’.

The trust needs to find recurrent savings of around 4.5% on its revenue of £120m a year, as part of the overall challenge to the NHS to find £20 billion of efficiency savings by 2015.

It is running around 100 ongoing efficiency projects and these will be managed through Cora Systems’ ProjectVision software, which replaces a trust-built Microsoft Excel application.

Nick Hodson, head of service improvement and programme assurance at Derbyshire, said: “This provides us with greater control of our projects.

“When I go to the board, I want them to be assured that wherever we make a saving, patient care will not be affected.”

ProjectVision replaces a system developed by Hodson to help the mental health trust to achieve ‘foundation’ status; which it did in April last year.

The new system, which went live in January and is used by more than100 members of staff, overcomes some restrictions to this system.

For example, it allows multiple users to view and update information at the same time, to search and share the information efficiently, and to access information remotely.

Hodson said: “We have learnt a lot from Cora and they have provided a great system which satisfies our needs. Staff really like it, and we can make decisions that won’t be to the detriment of patient care.”

Cora Systems was set up in 1999 and operates from offices in New York, Ireland and London. It has a number of council clients, and a handful of NHS clients.

ProjectVision is a modular-based system that can be hosted by Cora Systems or by trusts – Derbyshire Healthcare has opted for external hosting.

It can be accessed on any web-enabled device and staff at Derbyshire Healthcare are accessing it on desktops, notebooks and iPads.

Philip Martin, chief executive officer of Cora, said: “The risk management process is improved as you can highlight and flag potential risks in the savings, ensuring there is not an increase in patient mortality because of it.”