For the first time since the National Programme for IT in the NHS was set up in 2002, stories about it failed to dominate the ‘most read’ news on EHI in 2013.

Instead, company news, big IT failures, big IT contracts, and – predictably – money dominated the ‘top ten’ news stories published on in the course of the year.

Top of the list was the 8 May news that McKesson had decided to dispose of its International Operations Group, and with it McKesson UK.

The San Francisco-based company argued that this accounted for only a small percentage of its revenues, and that getting rid of it would better enable it to focus on core business.

But the move still came as a surprise, given that a significant number of trusts still use its legacy patient administration systems, and it had apparently committed to the UK market in 2011 when it bought System C and with it Liquidlogic.

An update saying that McKesson hoped to complete the sale by the end of the year also featured in the top ten; but EHI understands that the sale is now due to be finalised early next year from a shortlist of three potential buyers.

More company-focused news that attracted a big readership in 2013 was the announcement that GP-supplier Emis had decided to buy Ascribe for £57.5m, and EHI’s own research revealing that a staggering 85% of desktops in the NHS are still running the Windows XP operating system.

Microsoft has insisted that it is definitely going to end support for XP in April 2014, so this is an issue that is likely to crop up in the ‘most read’ news of the coming year, as well.

The third and tenth most read stories of 2013, meanwhile, were about major system deployments going wrong.

Monitor stepped in at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, following its Meditech v6.0 deployment, and Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust said its finances had been hit by its deployment of Cerner Millennium.

More hopefully, the news that Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had signed a deal with Epic came in at number six; and a story linked to an in-depth interview with the director of Cambridge’s ambitious eHospital programme, Carrie Armitage, at number nine.

The year, of course, started with health secretary Jeremy Hunt calling for a ‘paperless’ NHS by 2018. Rather oddly, in the light of subsequent events, the news story about the initial announcement did not make the top ten.

But EHI’s response, the launch of The Big EPR Debate, was the second most read story of the year, and the outcome of the first round of bids for the money that eventually followed the announcement was fifth.

Full details of what has been funded from the first round of the ‘Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards: Technology Fund’ bidding process will be unveiled by Hunt in the new year.

Most read news stories of 2013:

McKesson UK put up for sale

Take part in The Big EPR Debate

Monitor blasts Rotherham’s EPR programme 

Emis buys Ascribe for £57.5m

£260m tech fund approved

Cambridge signs with Epic

McKesson UK to be sold before New Year

Eight in ten NHS desktops still on XP

Cambridge goes for Epic big-bang

Royal Berks finances hit by Millennium.

If the endless shake-up of the NHS and the travails of the national programme failed to dominate EHI’s news in 2013, they still registered in its Insight coverage.

A feature analysing the likely impact of the reorganisation triggered by the ‘Liberating the NHS’ white paper in 2008 was the tenth most read Insight of the year, while columnist Joe McDonald’s funeral oration for NPfIT was third.

The problems at Royal Berkshire and the ‘Epic way’ at Cambridge also featured in the most read Insight items, but the top ten was otherwise dominated by debate about open source and, in particular, the benefits or otherwise of anglicising VistA, the US Veterans Health Administration’s open source EPR.

EHI editor Jon Hoeksma’s editorial arguing that NHS England would be better to look at open source developments closer to home, as it eventually did, was far and away the best read Insight of the year, while a personal view from partial convert Ewan Davis was fifth.

Most read Insight items of 2013:

Open Eyes to NHS Open Source (Jon Hoeksma’s editorial, assessing VistA)

An Epic test (interview with Cambridge eHospital programme director, Carrie Armitage)

A right royal mess (analysis of Royal Berkshire’s problems with Millennium)

Joe’s view of the end of CfH

A new view of VistA (Ewan Davis, assessing the VA’s open source EPR)

All SystmsGo (visit to Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, which is using TPP software)

Another view (GP Neil Paul’s popular column, calling for IT to help prevent child deaths like Daniel Pelka’s )

Section 251-ed (analysis of the commissioning problems caused by tighter rules on data use)

EHI interview: Kingsley Manning

All change please (analysis of the latest NHS reforms and what they mean for NHS IT).

Read EHI’s look back at 2013, as reflected in its main newsletters, in today’s Insight section.