The Financial Times of London published a story late yesterday saying that CSC, which holds a £3.3 billion National Health Service (NHS) contract to supply two-thirds of England with an electronic health record (EHR) system based on the iSoft Lorenzo EHR system, is "on the brink of being fired" from a large portion of its NHS contract.
In April 2009, the NHS gave both CSC and BT (which supplies EHR systems to the London region) a deadline of 31 March 2010 to get their EHR offerings installed and operating with minimal problems at a large, acute-care NHS Trust hospital. If they could not, the NHS would look at its "alternatives" such as letting acute-care hospitals choose their own EHR supplier instead of having to use the NHS mandated supplier.
BT successfully installed its Cerner-based EHR system at Kingston Hospital by the due date, but CSC missed its installation deadline at the Morecambe Bay NHS Trust’s hospitals. According to this story in ComputerWeekly, that even though CSC's drop-dead delivery deadline looks like it has been pushed back into late April, the company may not be able meet that date either.
Christine Connelly, NHS's chief information officer, said that if CSC doesn't deliver soon, the NHS has the option of canceling part of CSC's contract that has to do with providing EHR systems to acute-care hospitals. That would cost CSC about £1 billion, as well as place the whole £12.7 billion UK national EHR effort at risk..
Early last month, CSC defended its National Programme for IT efforts in an interview with ComputerWorldUK. Andrew Spence, UK healthcare strategy director for CSC, claimed that the company was "ruthlessly focused" on delivering a working EHR system to Morecambe Bay.
Seems both companies have a lot of explaining - or excuse making - to do.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.