HSE hires second IT consultancy

The HSE has had to contract outside consultants, for the second time, to get a €35m IT maternity system operational in two Dublin hospitals.

The Irish Examiner understands that management consultants Prospectus are the ‘vendor’ selected to support the HSE in rolling out the Maternal and Newborn Clinical Management System (MN-CMS) in the Rotunda Hospital and in the National Maternity Hospital (NHS), Holles St.

Previously, consultants, Deloitte, were brought in as “support partners” to deliver the system at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) and at University Hospital Kerry (UHK).

Deloitte’s role in CUMH cost €500,000 and €200,000 in UHK. Although the HSE signed a €35m, seven-year contract with American multinational, Cerner, to deliver the system nationally, the HSE has conceded that it needed support partners, because its own staff did not have the expertise to “ensure a successful go-live”.

HSE chief information officer Richard Corbridge, who is overseeing the project, told website siliconrepublic.com in January that just 288 people work in digital in the HSE, which he described as “a very low number to support the whole healthcare system”.

The MN-CMS was supposed to be installed in four hospitals in 2016 — CUMH, UHK, Rotunda, and Holles St — with rollout to the remaining 15 maternity units, on a phased basis, in 2017.

However, the CUMH project was delayed six months, barely met its 2016 deadline, and took 9,500 staff-training hours. MN-CMS went live in UHK earlier this year. However, the HSE has confirmed it is unlikely that the system will go live in the Rotunda before this November, followed by the NMH in January 2018.

The HSE also said that, “following a procurement process”, they have selected a “vendor” to act as “support partner” to assist with implementation of the project in the Rotunda and the NMH.

The HSE has declined to name the support partner, the value of the contract, or the duration of the contract, because contracts have “not yet been awarded” and because the information “is deemed to be commercially sensitive, until contracts are in place”.

However, the Irish Examiner understands the support partner is Prospectus.

Asked about the delays beleaguering the rollout, the HSE said the MN-CMS national project team “has, at all times, a responsibility to ensure safe implementation for both patients and staff”.

Mr Corbridge is set to leave to take up a new role as CIO of Leeds NHS Teaching Hospital Trust in the UK.

He will depart the HSE in November. The HSE will begin looking for his replacement in September.

The MN-CMS Project is the design and implementation of an electronic health record for all women and babies in maternity services in Ireland. The record will allow information to be shared with care providers.

The system has had teething problems in both CUMH and UHK. According to hospital sources, it has “gone down” on occasion, which is a problem, if there is no access to patients’ paper files.

Editorial: 10


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