Plans to merge two iPM patient administration systems at a northern trust have been delayed amid concerns about how it will interface with other software.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust was operating two PASs after it became a combined acute and community trust in 2011.

The trust’s 2016-2017 operational plan reported it was to “move to one single patient administration system” covering 800,000 patients in October 2016.

However, the go-live date has been pushed back amid technical concerns about Bolton’s IT systems interface with its integration engine.

Ken Bradshaw, deputy chief informatics officer at Bolton, said: “We have something like 30 systems that are attached to our integration engine which receive messages from PAS.”

“We want to make sure that when we update the demographics from the community system, where they have had a more recent encounter that those changes and updates to the demographics are reflected in all our hospital systems as well.”

The PAS merger had required the trust to import the demographics of every patient who has only been seen in the community, and all the community care details.

The first technical merger took place in July. Bradshaw would not confirm a go-live date, but said the project should be completed by March 2017.

Bolton has been working with NHS Digital and supplier CSC, which has the contract for the trust’s acute hospital PAS. In December 2015, NHS Digital (then HSCIC) agreed to support the merger as part of the trust’s exit from National Programme for IT.

Bradshaw said once the merger is complete, the trust will have a “have a record that spans the whole of the patient’s journey from hospital to community”.  

In October 2015, the Department of Health gave Bolton £8 million in funding to upgrade its IT system. At the time, Bolton’s chief information officer Rachel Dunscombe told Digital Health News the £8 million was for “remediation” and to support the trust exiting NPfIT contracts, which ended in July 2016.

Bolton became the first trust to successfully come out of a financial breach of license by Monitor in 2015, after the 2012 judgement led to the chair and chief executive being replaced.

In June, the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust successfully created a single PAS for its community and acute staff. Wolverhampton inherited an iPM PAS, while the hospital was using a separate Silverlink PAS.


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* Royal Wolverhampton merges community and acute PAS
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