UCLH CIO James Thomas on supplier management
The University College London Hospitals (UCLH) is one of the most complex healthcare organisations in London as both a major incident response hospital, a leading treatment hospital for a wide range of care from heart to cancer and wards for maternity and A&E. Read the full CIO 100 interview with James Thomas here .
July 22, 2013
1. James Thomas, number 1, 2013 CIO 100
UCLH and James Thomas are an example of what the NHS can be in the 21st Century. The ability to think differently and put technology as a process improvement in place marks UCLH out from the experience too many of us sadly receive from the mendacious administration of the NHS.
"I want consistency and that’s what I get from all my partners. As we go forwards strategically as a trust we try to consolidate suppliers. Prior to working with Azzurri we had 21 separate telecommunications deals, now we have that as one managed services deal. We turned that attitude around and again brought in Logica as a sub-contractor. We have since re-signed with GE for five years and established common ground on what we both need."
2. £100 million development
Opened in April 2012 the Macmillan ward was a £100 million development between both the UCLH and as the name suggests the Macmillan cancer care charity.
“How people consumer information is a real issue and the creation of the atrium helps them relax. A patient portal means patients can raise a question with a consultant see their diagnostic results and their records. A huge amount of learning on how people engage with information has gone into this,” Thomas says.
3. Letter of administration
“Patients receive a bar coded letter for their appointments,” Thomas explains, “they present the bar code to the plinth computers on entering the centre, this is connected directly to the hospital administration system and the scheduling software is connected to the core patient records. When a doctor requests a patient’s records this triggers the information screens in the building which alert patients that their appointment is due and where.”
4. Real time
“The provision of real time clinical information is an area of real challenge. The way we are trying to transform the organisation also is to pick the standard processes and expose them and rectify them through automation and for all processes to be the same whether at a heart hospital or here,” he says of the campus of hospitals UCLH operates.
5. Vendor management
“Using outsourcing is very deliberate. Logica being bought by CGI has been interesting as CGI is smaller and very US centric, so we have had to go through a transition with them.
We have lost all the tiers of people that we knew and that is risky as we have been working with them to re-engage on a level of the importance of us to them and them to us. I’m hoping there will be a net gain and it may become more flexible”.
6. NHS treatment
“The issue is when the management come in and view us as a typical NHS contract. It is all time and effort that is not taking you forwards.”
7. Application waiting list
“We have over 270 applications in the data centre, which is a difficult place to be. The primary application is the legacy GE patient administration system and a clinical administration system jointly developed by UCLH, Logica and CDR.”
8. Not the NHS NPfIT
“When the clinical administration system journey was started there was nothing available on the market that would take the trust forwards and at that time it was the world of the NHS National Programme for IT."
9. Gartner collaboration
"We are looking around the world at other healthcare providers based on their outcomes and as healthcare providers they must have a synergy to us, so we are looking at a major cancer hospital for example. We are working with the UCL (University of Central London) to work out a benchmark of how to do the assessment and we are taking ideas from Gartner’s pace layered application strategy model, which normally requires you to place your applications on to and then do the assessment from that. We are turning it on its head and putting our requirements in.
“Gartner are keen to work with us on this as they know they are too US centric in their healthcare technology information, so we are able to help them.”
10. Clinically focused
Thomas has been Director of ICT at UCLH for seven years now and has seen the organisation grow to be worth $1 billion in turn over. UCLH splits itself into three medical boards: Cancer and Surgery; Medicine, Acute and Emergency; Heart, ENT and Dental; each have their own P&L responsibilities. Thomas sits on all three medical boards. There is also an ICT strategy board with membership from board members of each of the three operating boards. Thomas is clear, every board organisation at UCLH is clinically focused.