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SASH cuts to the chase and procures Managed Service

Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has become the first NHS Trust to procure a Managed Service to deliver InterSystems Ensemble, a seamless platform for integration and the development of new connectable applications. The Trust, who appointed ReStart Consulting as its Delivery Partner, originally went out to tender via the Buying Solutions framework to procure a managed service for integration skills in order to achieve its February 2011 target of full system interoperability with the National Care Record Solution (CRS).

The Trust employs approximately 3,000 staff and services a community of over 416,000 people, with an IT department of 18 staff split across technical, development and system support. Ian Mackenzie, Director of Business Intelligence & Technology knew from past experience that a Managed Service would save time and guarantee better results. Mackenzie says “I first procured and installed an integration engine about 10 years ago and realised from that experience that it was essential to work with experts who could support our business need.  The cost and hassle of looking after ‘this’ ourselves is not part of Trust core work and I would always look to outside experts who can come in and quickly deliver solutions.  This also gives us instant access to a wide range of knowledge and experience from other sectors.”

As part of an upgrade to the Trust’s Cerner Millennium system, SASH had the opportunity to implement Order Communications and to extend its integration capabilities. Godfrey Milbourn, Project Manager at SASH identified the requirement for a new TIE that would provide them with the robustness and flexibility to deliver on time, cost-effectively. “We were fairly agnostic about the integration engine that we used. It needed to meet some basic requirements, be recommended by our service partner and enable them to provide a cost effective service.” Milbourn continued, “Our main objective however, is to ensure that we hit the February 2011 deadline of taking over responsibility for integration from our LSP and implementing Order Comms. So we knew we had to employ the right professionals and deploy the right solution to enable us to meet this target.”

Historically, the Trust’s Systems Integration has been limited between Cerner Millennium and other departmental systems. The integration engine, provided by the Trust’s LSP, BT, was limited to only sharing patients’ demographic information between the PAS and supporting departmental systems, such as Cardiology and Pharmacy. “We set out to procure a managed service as being the most cost effective way to support our integration requirements for development and on-going support. Our Managed Service Partner, ReStart Consulting was confident that the InterSystems Ensemble rapid integration platform would be a quicker and easier route to success if we were to hit our 2011 target,” Milbourn added.

ReStart Consulting is providing SASH with a complete Managed Service option that includes the deployment of Ensemble across the Trust and subsequent development to enable full system interoperability between the Trust’s core departmental systems and Cerner Millennium.

The first systems to feel the benefit of the roll out will be Order Comms from Radiology and Pathology systems back to the PAS. Clinicians will be able to place orders through the PAS which feeds information to the departmental systems and back to the PAS with results. “We expect benefits in terms of efficiency and clinical safety. Radiology and Pathology will receive complete patient and clinical information in a timely fashion, and the results will be returned immediately to the Millennium system as they become available,” explained Milbourn. The Trust’s initial priorities are to ensure integration between Cardiology and Pharmacy and achieve Order Comms between Radiology and Pathology to-and-from Cerner Millennium. The deployment can then continue across other Trusts systems as necessary.

The timescales on this project were very short. ReStart had just one month to provide a complete hardware upgrade, using partner Maindec, which included the time given to install the Ensemble solution across the Trust. In just eight weeks, ReStart developed the required interfaces to be ready for Order Comms testing in October 2010.

ReStart Consulting’s comprehensive managed service has removed a great deal of risk and resourcing challenges away from the Trust. This means that the management of the hardware, software, day-to-day issues, uptime, and disaster recovery are all the responsibility of a dedicated and responsive support team of experienced Restart integration engineers. In particular, ReStart has implemented its own comprehensive remote monitoring tools that enable the support team to respond proactively to hardware and software problems before they have an impact on service.

Sean Connelly, Head of Ensemble Practice at ReStart Consulting commented, “Once we received a green light for the SASH integration project we had to react very quickly. With BT setting the pace for the TIE switch over, we were under pressure to deliver key stages in co-ordination with other third party suppliers. Despite a number of late customer requirements we managed to deliver all stages on time to the satisfaction of the Trust.  This is all possible because of the dedication, experience and high level of standards that we work to within the ReStart Ensemble team.”

Mike Symers, Director of ReStart Consulting, concluded by saying, “This is a fantastic example of Trust and supplier working in partnership. The process has been and still is, immensely enjoyable, when we all work together to achieve real results, really quickly. This project is a great example of an InterSystems Ensemble deployment in the NHS.”