The Department of Health and Social Care will next month seek Tynwald approval for a sum not exceeding £3.2 million to upgrade the IT system at Noble’s Hospital.
The existing system, called Medway, was implemented in 2007 and is now approaching the end of its lifecycle, with technical support due to end in the near future. The latest version of Medway, called Medway Sigma, is widely used in the UK NHS where upgrades of this nature are a regular occurrence, with upgrades to this particular system tried and tested.
Minister for Health and Social Care, Howard Quayle MHK said:
'IT systems are integral to the delivery of safe and effective healthcare and I see enhancements to our IT infrastructure sitting at the heart of our drive to modernise care and deliver efficiencies and value for money for the taxpayer.
'I acknowledge that £3.2 million is a significant sum. The cost isn’t just for the software platform itself, which is in effect a brand new system. It includes full implementation, a process which will run over 55 weeks totalling some 5,150 work days in design, build, configuration, testing and training. So it is a major project of great complexity.'
The Department has considered a range of options and determined that retaining the services of the existing supplier and upgrading to the new platform not only offers the best value for money but also the least amount of risk.
The Minister added:
'Ultimately this upgrade is essential to ensuring patient safety and enhancing care. It will help make the hospital more efficient and allow us to concentrate our finite resources on frontline care for patients, which remains my top priority.'
The software will provide opportunities for further innovations such as self-service kiosks for patients to check-in for appointments and enable the option of mobile working for clinicians, with access to Medway Sigma via a tablet device at the patient’s bedside.
Medway Sigma will also offer major improvements in the level of management information available to the hospital and the Department – such as per patient costing for procedures – information which is vital in managing performance and planning for the future. The system will also deliver usability improvements for the more than 1,000 staff that use the system in the Isle of Man, not least enhanced integration with other healthcare IT systems such as those used for GPs, maternity, accident and emergency and the ambulance service.
The upgrade will allow the Department to take forward its vision of “One Patient, One Record” and to begin the process of making services more efficient, such as digitising paper processes.
If funding it approved by Tynwald, work on the project will commence this summer.