The University College London Hospital (UCLH) is one of the most complex healthcare organisations in the city and is continuously called upon to bear the brunt of emergencies.
It's Director of ICT James Thomas's job to ensure the systems that support the hospital are up to the job. Like the rest of the NHS, the hospital is highly regulated and scrutinised in terms of quality of care and expenditure.
One part of Thomas's initiatives to fulfill those requirements has been to develop a ground-breaking unified communications network that links the hospitals many buildings. With seven separate sites including the historic Georgian buildings facing the trust’s busy office, providing a seamless technology experience is a challenge for Thomas, his team and suppliers.
Rationalised printer deals and a full involvement in the transformation of the organisation which has expanded using a surplus when the rest of the NHS is struggling to balance its books.
Two years ago he moved the UCLH datacentre out of a 120-year-old building, but before securing the capital, he had to carry out an analy¬sis to prove the investment was necessary. Thomas is keen to use technology to create value for the NHS. UCLH has been using business process management tools to analyse the difference between ¬patients who make a single use of the hospital and those who return for regular treatment.
With a shift to managed services and by providing analytical support to the trust, the IT department has changed.
“We provide technical assurance and a programme office for the transformational agenda at UCLH. The operational world is commodity stuff, so let the experts manage that.”
Thomas has an IT budget of between £12m and £14m to cover IT, records management, telecommunications, governance, security and transformation.
“When I saw the National Programme I thought it was ill-conceived from the start,” says Thomas. As with his assessment of Welsh Assembly CIO Gwyn Thomas, Jerry Fishenden believes this ability to analyse and challenge the centralised view of what NHS IT should be weighs in Thomas’s favour.