Northern Ireland has chosen HP as the supplier for a framework agreement worth up to £100m to improve the region’s health IT services, refresh its patient administration system infrastructure, and implement a new electronic prescribing system.

The Business Services Organisation, which delivers regional ICT services to primary and second care providers in Northern Ireland, has agreed a four-year contract with HP.

The company will now transform the regional health data centre infrastructure, refresh Northern Ireland’s GP network and PAS infrastructure, and extend its Health and Care Number patient identifier service.

It will also help to implement a new, regional e-prescribing solution, providing hardware and software, programme and implementation services, and ongoing IT service management.

For the e-prescribing project, along with others, HP will also manage multiple partner and SME organisations.

David Bingham, the BSO’s chief executive, said the organisation chose HP because it was looking for a single technology partner to help it with streamline and support vital healthcare services across Northern Ireland.

“This new agreement gives BSO the opportunity to further develop the services and value for money we can deliver to our customers.”

Northern Ireland is making a signficant investment in IT to support the modernisation of its health and social services.

In 2011, it unveiled a strategy – 'Transforming Your Care' – to encourage a significant shift away from hospital services and towards nursing homes, social and community services, and GP practices.

The strategy said technology would be a 'key enabler' of the new model. And in 2012, it announced that it would deploy a £9m electronic care record across health and social services, supplied by Orion Health.

The seven year contract will see a portal-based EPR rolled out across 18 acute and community hospitals, the community, mental health and social care services run by five regional trusts, and all GP practices.

The system should cover Northern Ireland's emergency care summary, PAS and lab systems, among others.

HP won a contract to deliver its performance optimised data centres to Northern Ireland's largest integrated health and care organisation, South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, which unveiled them earlier this year.

Jackie Crooks, HP’s Northern Ireland account director, said of the latest announcement: “By delivering a broad range of services, applications and infrastructure safely, securely and efficiently, HP will underpin vital work in healthcare in Northern Ireland.”

Brendan O’Brien and Des O’Loan, the chief clinical information officer and chief information officer of Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care Board, will be speaking about Northern Ireland’s IT plans in the CCIO Leaders Network conference that will take place alongside EHI Live 2014 in Birmingham this November.

The conference will be exploring information sharing, and the two Northern Ireland speakers will be talking about “information sharing in an integrated health and social care organisation.”

This year’s show takes place at the NEC in Birmingham from 4-5 November, and registration is open now. Visit the EHI Live 2014 website for details.