NHS Wales will sign a framework agreement with three GP systems suppliers to provide a managed IT service to the country’s GPs by June.
NHS Wales went out to tender last year for a new framework agreement to supply IT to GP practices.
NHS Wales informatics service director of NHS engagement David Davies told Primary Health Info 2012 that the contract would be “coming to a conclusion very soon” and that new systems would be deployed by 2015.
He said the contract would be with three systems suppliers because it was important to retain choice for GPs.
He did not envision many instances of practices having to change supplier because of the new deal, but said they would be upgraded from legacy systems.
The framework will include the delivery of a managed service, including the provision of GP clinical system software solutions via a central hosting arrangement, and support services.
Davies said national hosting was an important part of the informatics service’s wider plan to connect up primary and secondary care information and present views of patient records across different health services.
“If you are trying to make the GP systems interoperable with all other architecture componenets, it's easier to do if it’s hosted in the same data centres than dispersed.
"With ever increasing standards for data storage, it would be very difficult for GPs to meet those security standards in local practice buildings,” he said.
“We are moving to a world of data centres and the cloud, not locally dispersed systems.”
Davies said a critical mass of GPs supported the hosted arrangement, which will mean they do not have maintain the hardware, do back-ups and install security patches and other updates.
Instead, he argued that they would be able to concentrate on exploiting the benefits of the system.
He said suppliers would install and maintain their products in the national data centre.
He told conference attendees that the GP record was the most complete record of patient care so it made sense to add missing information into that record to create an overall patient view.
A summary of the GP record is being made available to other health services such as out of hours services as the Individual Health Record and will ultimately be available to view in acute settings via the Welsh Clinical Portal.
© 2012 EHealth Media.