More trouble for Isoft?

New Zealand electronic health records developer I-Health is suing iSoft – the main software supplier to the NHS’s £12.4bn National Programme for IT [NPfIT].

Computerworld New Zealand reports that iSoft is being sued for alleged breach of contract and breach of the Fair Trading Act. It says that I-Health has alleged that iSoft breached a sale agreement by substantially ceasing development of the HealthViews software it bought from I-Health in early 2004.

It also alleges the iSoft Group failed to market the software worldwide and to license it at market price, instead selling it for substantially less than the list price.

A statement of claim lodged with the High Court in Auckland also states iSoft “knowingly and deliberately sought to replace HealthViews in major reference and other sites with another of the iSoft Group’s products, Lorenzo.”

The Australian and New Zealand iSoft subsidiaries named in the statement of claim deny I-Health’s allegations. A UK spokesman for iSoft said: “We strongly refute the allegations.”

iSoft’s share price is about 35p, down from around 400p in January 2006, reflecting a range of issues. Under the NPfIT, iSoft’s Lorenzo is expected to be deployed by NHS organisations in the North of England, and West Midland. But it’s unclear when the strategic version of the system will be available.

Lorenzo forms a key part of the Care Records Service which is supposed to provide 50 million people in England with an electronic health record. More than three years since Whitehall officials signed a Local Service Provider contract with CSC – iSoft is the company’s main software subcontractor – sets of requirements for the Lorenzo 3.5 NHS Care Record have now been agreed.

Lorenzo 3.5 has been divided into six “increments” in which one and two are focused on supporting the patient administration functionality, and three to six on developing clinical functions.

Six NHS experts have visited iSoft’s testing facility in Hyderabad, India, to witness the testing of the first increment.

Meanwhile trusts are installing older versions of iSoft’s software – which, one suspects, could become the main products if Lorenzo’s strategic software is not installed by the NHS.