Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Monday, March 22, 2010

This Report Will be a Worry to iSoft Shareholders – Of Which I am One!

The following has just appeared in the UK Guardian newspaper on-line.

Delays with £12.7bn NHS software program bring it close to collapse

Department of Health locked in frantic talks to save Lorenzo, the IT package meant to revolutionise patient records

The government's programme to introduce software to revolutionise the way patient records are kept has lost the confidence of many NHS staff Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The government's ailing £12.7bn IT programme to overhaul paper-based NHS patient records in England is close to imploding, potentially triggering a deluge of legal claims against the taxpayer running into billions of pounds, which could start to emerge weeks before a general election.

The Guardian has discovered that mounting chaos and delays in installing core care records systems across the country is reaching a tipping point, with intense political pressure from Whitehall now falling on Morecambe Bay NHS Trust and a software "go-live" deadline set for the end of this month.

Morecambe Bay is intended to be the first acute trust to take a new patient administration software package called Lorenzo, which has been delayed for four years. After a string of missed deadlines, the Department of Health set a deadline of March 2010 for Lorenzo last April. "If we don't see significant progress... then we will move to a new plan for delivering infomatics in healthcare," Christine Connelly, the Department of Health's director general of IT, said at the time.

Preparatory testing at Morecambe Bay is believed to have failed some weeks ago, though iSoft, the firm behind Lorenzo, last week insisted testing was "on track" and dismissed as "media speculation" suggestions that the deadline was in jeopardy.

If Lorenzo is not running smoothly at Morecambe Bay in the next two weeks it will send financial shockwaves throughout Labour's National Programme for IT, potentially forcing profits warnings from iSoft and others. It will also be devastating for the Department of Health, which is locked in frantic contract renegotiations with contractors to keep the project alive.

Lots more here:


and also here – which provides some background.


I find this all a bit worrying since we have had a firm denial of any major problems as recently as Friday, 19th March 2010.

Interview with iSOFT Executive Chairman & CEO Gary Cohen

Sydney – Friday, 19 March 2010 – iSOFT Group Limited (ASX: ISF) – Australia's largest listed health information

technology company, today provides the opportunity to listen to an audio broadcast with Executive Chairman & CEO

Gary Cohen in a presentation titled "iSOFT reaffirms FY10 guidance".

To listen, please copy the following details into your web browser:


The presentation details are as follows:

  • iSOFT reaffirms FY10 guidance - Gary Cohen, Executive Chairman & CEO
  • Presented by Gary Cohen, Executive Chairman & CEO
  • Thu, 18 Mar 2010 9:45am AEST

The release to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) is here:


One can only hope that it is the imminent election in the UK that is flushing all this material out and that, in reality, all is going reasonably well.

The previous blog might give one some cause for pause. For the sake of my rather trivial superannuation I hope that is the case! I also happen to think it would be good if we could have an indigenous Health IT industry with one or two decent sized and successful players.



Anonymous said...

What is this obsession with big players? No wonder SMEs are continually spurned by public health agencies. What makes "big" more able to deliver? Nothing. In fact, the evidence is that the opposite is true - SMEs typically deliver solutions that work for less money in shorter timeframes. It is a shame that public health bureaucrats (perhaps including Dr More) refuse to acknowledge this. Their focus is making sure that there is someone big enough to sue if something goes wrong. Now that is a strategy that is doomed to failure before it begins!

Anonymous said...

Well, Tuesday, March 23, 2010 8:06:00 AM, is rather biased. There is a place for both large and small, but the mix and roles need to be defined quite precisely. Dr More was once one of the bureaucrats in NSW Health promoting a strategy which basically backed the big American vendors like Cerner, Oracle and I think First Data to the exclusion of Australian bred SME's. It seems however he is more supportive today of giving more Australian SME's 'a go' and building home-bred technology know-how and skills.

Dr David G More MB PhD said...

You need to remember that way back when (1990) what we did was say what we needed in the way of Hospital Systems, and asked who could actually do it and was interested in doing so. It turned out to be a pretty small list when you actually asked them to show you they actually had something working.

We did also insist the company be big enough to actually deliver for what were and are still large organisations. Sadly the very small both did not have what we asked for - and needed - and also could not have delivered in the time we hoped for.

With the advantage of 20 years more of experience the choice of the systems might be a bit different but the approaches to implementation etc would be dramatically different. Sadly the second aspect is still not being done well in many places - including OZ!


Anonymous said...

"way back when (1990) what we did was say what we needed in the way of Hospital Systems" ....

Yes. Not much attention was being paid to the rest of the health market back the (1990).

Now with the impending Rudd Reforms it seems that the 'whole of Primary Care' is well and truly on the radar. Although NEHTA still seems to be more interested in the hospitals and the big players. The smaller SME's still don't seem to be able to get a look-in.

If the proverbial 'fly-on-the-wall" could talk we would probably here the big vendors telling a 'nodding' NEHTA that as solution suppliers they have everything needed for the primary care environment and that the best way to address the market is with the hospital systems pushing (extending) their solutions outwards to the community. If that holds true then things haven't changed much since "way back when (1990)".!!

Jim Cocks said...

"You need to remember that way back when (1990) what we did was say what we needed in the way of Hospital Systems, and asked who could actually do it and was interested in doing so. It turned out to be a pretty small list when you actually asked them to show you they actually had something working"

And that included some fairly big players who are still around today. My abiding memory of those days is a certain large financial application provider whose name starts with O who turned up at a software demo and solemnly announced that they didn't have a product to show us but would give us a presentation on what they proposed it would eventually do.