Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) NHS Trust has awarded HP Enterprise Services a ten year contract worth over £130 million to lead the transformation of IT system to support the delivery of a new ERP system as part of a wider digital strategy.

CUH selected HP as the preferred bidder following a tendering process to find a supplier to lead the integartion of IT systems, project costing a total of £200 million.

HP's contract is part of the Trust's intentions to enable a unified view of patient records as part of what it describes as its eHospital digital strategy. Within this HP is tasked with providing enterprise application hosting in its data centres, network management, HP Workplace 360 Services and other infrastructure services, as well as providing PC hardware for staff.

The other aspect of the project will be the introduction of a patient record system using software from Epic, which was awarded a contract for providing software system as part of the two-part tendering process. This will involve replacing the disparate estate of clinical software used by the Trust, including a number of bespoke systems.

"HP will be responsible for providing modern networking, storage, rapid access type functionality that will underpin the deployment of the Epic software," CUH chief medical information officer, Dr Afzal Chaudhry, told ComputerworldUK.

"What we will move from is a mixture of clinical applications that support some aspects of our clinical work, and is delivered on an infrastructure that is not extensible, is not growing with our needs and can't meet some of the innovative ideas that we have.

"It will all be replaced by an enterprise wide system that will cover all of our patients, all of the time, whether they are inpatients or oupatients."

HP, which has been providing patient administration and departmental systems to CUH since 1995, will also be delivering a range of other services including the print serviecs and digitising of patient records, to enable quicker access by hospital staff and patients themselves.

Chaudhry said a patient portal, where patients will be able to securely access their own clinical record and review that information, will be put in place using Epic software.

"It is more than tying all of the systems together," Chaudhry explained.

"Only a small amount of information is available electronically, with the bulk of their clinical information in the notes, so patients are asked repeatedly to give the same information again verbally when parts of it are actually in the hospital."

"There are properties of care around being safe, friendly, effective and patient-centric, and all of those will be substantially helped by having all the information in one place and accessible at any time by the right person."

Chaudhry added that the eHospital project will allow more innovative use of use of IT, including the roll-out of a bring your own device scheme, with as well as integration of data from hospital machines into the Epic software.

"HP will also be responsible for supporting the access we need whether it is desktop based or mobile, and for the device integration, so we will be having bring your own device strategy," he said.

"The other side of it will be integrating medical devices into our Epic records. So if a patient is on an intensive care unit and they are on a cardiac monitor, the readings from the cardiac monitor will be integrated into their clinical records automatically."

Commenting on the deal, Georgina O'Toole, research director at TechMarketView, said that the contract to overhaul and unify the Trust's existing systems is an important win for HP, which has previously had a limited footprint in the healthcare sector.

"Considering the direction of travel in the healthcare sector, this is an important strategic win for HP. Though CUH has broken out the software element of the deal (and given to Epic), the structure of the deal has still left HP with a significant contract covering a broad range of infrastructure and applications services."

She added: "As HP's major UK central government contracts come under increasingly pressure, either from contract renegotiations or loss at renewal, it has been looking to the wider public sector to help plug the hole in its UK public sector revenues. And it is exactly this kind of up-selling of a broader range of services to existing clients that will help it do that."

O'Toole pointed out that the healthcare sector is a potentially lucrative market for IT firms, with hospitals increasingly looking towards innovative technology to improve patient self-service using mobile devices for example, as well enabling clinicians to use their own devices.

Earlier this year IBM and NTT were awarded contracts to deliver IT management and ERP systems for University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, as more Trusts open up to private sector suppliers.