NPfIT Choose and Book Severity 1 incident

Choose and Book failed for much of Monday 11 December as reported on this blog earlier and on E-Health Insider, I now understand that it was a severity one incident. Atos Origin, the main supplier of Choose and Book, has apologised.

Connecting for Health which, as an agency of the Department of Health runs the National Programme for IT [NPfIT], defines a severity one incident as an “unplanned disruption to an IT service which results in a significant adverse impact on the delivery of patient care to a large number of end users; or causes significant financial loss and/or disruption”.

As part of the joint Computer Weekly and Channel Four News investigation, Connecting for Health was asked how many major incidents it has recorded in the past six months. The agency receives reports of major incidents, including severity one and severity two events, from suppliers.

Connecting for Health’s response to our question was “As this question concerns our suppliers, it is commercially confidential.”

Computer Weekly has seen a list of major incidents covering several months of this year. We reported on 110 of them on 19 September 2006 – here.

Meanwhile Connecting for Health has revised a statement it issued over the slow performance of Choose and Book on 11 December 2006. Compared with its first statement, the new one contains a number of subtle changes. And it now denies that the incident on 11 December had anything to do with a software upgrade two days before.

The new statement says:

“Choose and Book users unfortunately experienced poor performance and slow responses to transactions during part of the day on Monday 11 December.

“The issue was resolved by mid afternoon the same day and a full analysis is now being undertaken by Atos Origin, the National Application Service Provider for Choose and Book to understand the cause of the issue. It was not due to the upgrade at the weekend.

“Despite rigorous testing prior to an upgrade at the weekend, two issues have been highlighted in the live application following Release 3.3 of Choose and Book that went live on Saturday, 9 December.

“The first issue occurs when viewing Choose and Book’s “appointment summary screen” after a booking has been made, where inaccurate non-clinical data is being displayed. However, the data displayed on the Choose and Book generated print-out then given to patients for them to take home is accurate. This issue will be resolved with the release to be delivered to users as soon as possible.

“The second issue affects hospitals and acute trusts that are in the process of migrating from indirect bookings to direct bookings using Choose and Book – typically one to two trusts do this migration a week. Changes to functionality to enable an identified business process will be available as soon as possible.

“Both issues have been clinically reviewed for patient safety, which was confirmed not to be compromised. NHS Connecting for Health has communicated to the NHS a workaround for the first issue.

“Atos Origin apologises for any inconvenience and is working with NHS CFH regarding delivery of the changes. In the meantime, the Choose and Book service remains available and in use.”