Thirty community and mental health trusts in London and the South have released a collaborative tender worth up to £300m to prepare for the end of their national RiO contracts in 2015.
The tender is for a framework agreement and will be worth between £50m and £300m over four years.
Peter Gooch is the associate director of ICT at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust and chair of the 2015 Clinical Information System Consortium.
This represents trusts that deployed CSE Healthcare’s RiO electronic patient record system as part of the National Programme for IT in the NHS.
Gooch said that by acting together, the consortia would save a “massive amount” of public money.
The 30 trusts will have different needs, so the tender has been split into three lots to provide “maximum flexibility and control.”
The first lot is for application software – along with deployment, change management and maintenance – to support the delivery of community health services, child health services and mental health services.
The second is for a “robust, secure and flexible infrastructure to support the current and future needs of the participating trusts in relation to the running of the hosting arrangements.”
The final lot will cover a “full range of reporting, integration, interoperability and cross care functional modules and their associated services.”
Gooch said some of the trusts may want to keep RiO, but the tender process is completely open.
His understanding is that under the national contracts the trusts own the license to the latest RiO system in use in 2015, in perpetuity.
Cerner wrote to London and Southern trusts that deployed its Millennium EPR as part of the national programme, explaining that they would own the license beyond 2015. But Gooch said trusts had received no correspondence about RiO.
Gooch said the 30 trusts’ usage of RiO varied widely, but the NHS in general has built up a good knowledge base about EPRs.
“We know what we want and what we don’t want. We have learnt that from the national programme,” he told eHealth Insider.
“The clear message is that (trusts) want to be able to share the electronic record across the whole pathway – GPs, acute trusts, mental health trusts, social care – seamlessly and easily.”
Gooch said the message from clinicians is that they want the flexibility to adopt evolving technology when it becomes available, instead of being “locked down” into inflexible contracts.
He said trusts are also looking for a patient-centred and empowering solution, such as a patient portal where people can access their own records and participate in their care.
Gooch said there would be a number of suppliers selected for the framework. After that, groups of trusts with similar needs will hold “mini competitions” lasting ten to 12 weeks to decide which suppliers will be awarded contracts.
Individual business cases will be developed as the tender progresses and costs are “firmed up.”
The consortia will hold a supplier briefing day at the end of July and requests to participate are due by 25 July.
A list of successful suppliers should be ready around March next year and Gooch expects the first trusts to start moving to the new contracts around September/October 2013.
Gooch said the supplier base has limited capacity to move trusts off one system or contract onto another, so any changes will have to be phased over time. The £300m estimate includes the potential cost of other trusts also using the framework over its lifetime.