Nottingham University Hospitals switches to Orion Health Rhapsody

Trust switches integration engine as part of paperless and mobile working strategy

The fourth biggest acute trust in England has completed a complex project to move away from its Oracle integration engine to create a paperless and mobile working environment.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust has completed a complex project to switch integration engines on time, on budget, and with no disruption to services.

The worst thing I can hear is that a system is not being updated because a doctor or nurse has to walk away from a patient to find a PC. We are committed to making sure things are done at the point of care

The trust has a well-advanced ‘best of breed’ strategy to create an electronic patient record and support paperless and mobile working.

It currently has around 900 servers running over 300 clinical and administrative systems and its integration engine is vital for enabling them to exchange data with each other.

The trust was running two SeeBeyond integration engines, but in early 2017 it decided it would need to move to another product because Oracle had announced that it would be ending support for Java CAPs in February this year.

Last April, the trust signed a deal with Orion Health to use the Rhapsody Integration Engine and since then has worked closely with the company to complete the migration from one to the other.

Matt Howden, head of IT strategy, said: “The project was completed in the last week of February. In fact, I was able to tell the board that week that this was one of the rare IT projects that had a finite timescale and was completed on budget. It was not a trivial project, either; it was very complex.”

Nottingham University Hospitals is a large trust, serving around 2.5 million people in the Midlands. It employs around 15,000 people at three major sites, and has 1,700 beds across 90 wards.

When it started working with Orion Health, it reviewed all its systems and the messages that went through its integration engine, and concluded that 57 systems and 75 interfaces would need to be moved.

The project included both simple messages that could be dealt with quickly, and complex, HL7 messages that needed to query other systems as they passed through the integration engine. These could take the team a month to move.

A production environment was created to mirror every message in SeeBeyond and test it before it went live in Rhapsody. Testing was automated using a Rhapsody add-on called The Comparator to iron out problems before human user acceptance testing.

This helped to speed up development and keep the project on track.

“We matched Orion Health’s workforce days with our workforce days, and something like 1,500 days worth of effort went into the 310 days of the project,” Howden calculated.

“Adding in the application testing team resources took us to the 1,700 days mark.”

Nottingham University Hospitals expects to see benefits from its new integration engine.

Howden said: “JCAPS felt like a product that was getting to the end of its life. It was getting difficult to fix bugs and we had workarounds in place as a consequence.

“We’re confident that using Rhapsody will be very different. Also, the user interface is much better and the speed of deployment should be quicker. That will make it much easier to integrate further systems as they are introduced to the trust.”

Nottingham remains committed to its best of breed strategy, is working on an electronic document management project and is experimenting with different methods of digital data capture, such as voice recognition.

We are a highly-mobile trust, with a ‘digital first’ paperless strategy and we want to deploy systems that people like to use

“We are in the process of replacing our wired and wireless network,” Howden said.

“We are a highly-mobile trust, with a ‘digital first’ paperless strategy and we want to deploy systems that people like to use.

“The worst thing I can hear is that a system is not being updated because a doctor or nurse has to walk away from a patient to find a PC. We are committed to making sure things are done at the point of care.”

Gary Birks, general manager for UK and Ireland at Orion Health, added: “Nottingham is one of the largest integration engine projects completed in the UK, completed in a short timeframe, on time and on budget.

“We are looking forward to continuing to work with the trust as it pushes forward with its ambition to deliver the best and most-contemporary IT systems to its staff and patients.”

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