Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust is embarking on a major integration programme to link 650 medical applications. The move will bring together financial, corporate and clinical data, together with voice, video and images.
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The initiative is one of several undertaken by a group of research hospital trusts including St James in Leeds, and Coventry and Warwickshire, which are not prepared to wait for systems to be developed under the NHS's National Programme for IT (NPfIT).
Speaking at the IT Directors Forum on board the cruise ship Arcadia this week, Richard Storey, head of IT and solutions delivery at Guy's and St Thomas', said that the highly innovative programme was not working against the NPfIT.
"We will not step outside the National Programme, but what we are doing is one step ahead. We are well ahead of the NPfIT and we will not do anything to compromise it, but we will not be held back," he said.
The programme will use service oriented architecture with a heavy focus on interoperability. Data is shared using an enterprise service bus and is converted to the medical data sharing standard, HL7 standard version 3.0. This allows Guy's to link to developments taking place in the other hospitals using open standards.
Benefits will include single sign on and a contextualised portal, with a core scheduling system and clinical images available on the desktop.
Because of Guy's central location, Storey is targeting City IT professionals to work on the project. "We cannot compete on salaries, but City people join us for the opportunities to work with SOA and other technologies that are not always readily available to them."
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