University Hospitals of Leicester seeks £600m IT partner

The University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) is seeking a partner for a £600 million, 15-year IT transformation project that will eventually deliver a full electronic patient records system.

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The University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) is seeking a partner for a £600 million, 15-year IT transformation project that will eventually deliver a full electronic patient records system. 

The supplier will support the delivery of “world-class” information management and technology services, and help the hospitals use technology to transform the experience of patients using its health services, according to a tender notice.

“Through this partnership partner we would be able to increase, in an agile manner, the capability and capacity to successfully deliver IT-enabled change.

“The partner would engage with us to provide a range of skills and services to help the organisation ensure it is getting value for money from its IM&T services,” the UHL stated.

The strategic partnership will also be required to help procure and potentially deliver a “full electronic patient record”, and help the UHL become a provider of IT services to other organisations.

It said: “It is further anticipated that we will form a future commercial arrangement, for the financial benefit of both parties, to deliver services to other organisations based on the services and intellectual property co-created through this partnership.”

Silvia Piai, EMEA research manager at IDC Government Insights and IDC Health Insights, said that the contract signalled how the relationship between health providers and IT vendors would evolve.

She said: “Smarter NHS trusts are taking the lead in these quite ‘nebulous times’, presenting their own new strategic approach toward IT. Trusts such as the UHL are tailoring IT contracts around their vision and their needs. Until now, this hasn't been possible because of the NpfIT (National Programme for IT) framework constraints. 

“Establishing a partnership will mean that the vendor that will be selected will need to be proactive, sharing the long-term vision and also be willing to share risks.”

However, Piai warned that the UHL will also have to make sure it sets up a flexible future-prooved governance model that allows enough flexibility to avoid lock-in, and to provide precise and identifiable indicators for results measurement.

Despite the size of the contract, Piai said that the value, spread over 15 years, was still in line with typical shared services scenario. At an annual cost of £40 million, it is significantly higher than the £13 million that the UHL claims to spend each year on ICT.

“What is interesting is the fact that they want to have a major IT partner, who presumably will manage the relationship with other IT vendors. They expect to have savings coming from this approach to IT,” she said.