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BT enters deal with Perot Systems for NHS contract

Ink dry on biggest IT project ever

BT Group has tapped Texas-based service provider Perot Systems to help it deliver a patient-records system and application to the NHS.

Perot said on Tuesday it signed a six-and-a-half-year contract with BT valued at £108m to provide project management, implementation and configuration services for the NHS.

The deal represents just one piece of an enormous, multi-billion-pound effort to overhaul the NHS's IT systems under a Department of Health initiative called the National Programme for IT.

The health organisation hopes the program – generally considered the largest ever IT project – will modernise its operations by providing electronic appointment booking, electronic care records and transmissions of prescriptions over a reliable high-speed infrastructure.

As part of the program, BT won a £996m, decade-long contract last December to supply London's electronic patient records system. Healthcare software technology provider IDX is supplying the application for the contract. In addition to London, the program awarded four other regional contracts.

Perot has been a subcontractor on the deal since BT entered its bid and, according to Perot spokesman Charlie Richards, the agreement represents a cementing of the relationship.

Perot has already taken part in the project’s planning, which is still at early stages, he said. Although the company signed a six-and-a-half-year contract with BT, fully implementing the patient records system is being thought of as a seven-to-10-year project, Richards said. He added that he believes the current contract will just include getting the foundations down.

"Then down the line we will see what we are looking at," Richards said.

The London contract alone spans 7m citizens, 43 hospitals, 150,000 NHS staff and 1,660 doctors' offices, Perot said. Currently the other regional contract winners have not discussed how they will link their systems, according to Richards.

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