Barts Health is the largest NHS Trust in the country, and comprises a number of hospitals across East London. These include: The Royal London, St Bartholomew's, Newham & Whipps Cross University Hospitals and Mile End Hospital, as well as Community Health services in Tower Hamlets. These hospitals provide a full range of local and specialist services to the community, including cutting-edge treatments for cancer, heart conditions, fertility problems and sexual health conditions.
of device procurement
To order, image, asset tag and securely deliver devices
IT plays a critical role in Barts Health's long-term strategy to provide the very best in healthcare to patients. Healthcare, like IT, is a constantly evolving landscape and Barts Health needs to ensure seamless access to the very latest technologies to remain at the forefront of healthcare provision. As devices within the Trust become obsolete, it is essential that replacements can be easily and quickly sourced to maintain service delivery and guarantee the highest standards of care whilst keeping costs to a minimum.
Barts Health needed to replace a significant number of devices and the possibility of extending the lifecycle of expensive IT equipment couldn't be overlooked. As a consequence, establishing a framework for extending the useful life and reducing the maintenance complexity of existing devices was seen as a priority.
Although the Trust was keen to achieve maximum value from its existing devices, it was inevitable that some obsolete devices would have to be replaced. With patient confidentiality such an integral part of Barts Health's activities, it was therefore critical that any such devices could be disposed of efficiently, in line with regulations and, above all, securely.
Critical Success Factors
Barts Health partnered with Softcat to deliver almost 6,500 devices with significantly more replacements in the pipeline. Working closely with Egton, a specialist healthcare IT provider and division of EMIS Group, and hardware provider Dell, Softcat initially provided 70 desktops and laptops with an undertaking to manage the devices throughout their lifecycle. The project quickly increased in scale over the next two years and a succession of robust reviews clearly highlighted how successfully Softcat was managing the end-to-end process.
Procurement, configuration, secure delivery and device disposal would be underpinned by a comprehensive Service Level Agreement (SLA) and a dedicated engineer overseeing the whole process to help ensure the customer benefited from the highest levels of service. Barts Health could then be comfortable with the knowledge that, when a device became obsolete, a suitable replacement could be quickly sourced to maintain critical IT capacity.
Facilitating more timely and effective procurement was essential. A dedicated portal was established to enable Barts Health to quickly and efficiently order imaged, asset tagged and securely delivered devices from a local, high-security warehouse and datacentre simply by using a spreadsheet to prepare and schedule orders.
As Sharon Ahmet, Interim Head of IT Operations, said, "The Trust has regular conference calls with Softcat so it's kept up to date with any developments. Actions are agreed during the calls and a confirmation email is sent to all interested parties outlining what's been agreed and how the action will be progressed. It helps to ensure that everyone is kept in the loop and the project is on track."
Patient record confidentiality is assured through the use of secure facilities, staffed by engineers with enhanced CRB accreditation, to dispose of obsolete devices in line with WEEE Regulations, which helps ensure peace of mind for the customer.
Significant time savings have also been achieved through the reduced complexity delivered by the dedicated procurement portal. Lead times have been reduced and as further enhancements to the process come on stream there is potential to reduce lead times even further.
Any issues can now be easily logged through the dedicated portal and responded to in good time. Local storage facilities and comprehensive SLAs now ensure a 3-4 week turnaround for replacement devices, which are securely imaged, personalised and installed on site as part of the agreement.
At a Glance
"Softcat has extensive healthcare sector experience," said Daniel Rouse of Softcat, "which, alongside the trusted relationships we strive to establish with both clients and delivery partners, enables us to confidently fulfil projects of such scale." Recent organisational changes highlighted the importance of the close working relationship between Softcat and the Trust. The London Chest Hospital recently closed and its services transferred to the new Barts Heart facility. "Softcat provided tremendous support while the changes were taking place and were there every step of the way," said Sharon. "As the project has progressed, we've taken a step back and examined our own procedures, made adjustments to how we do things and are now able to realise the full value that the solution delivers."
Almost 6,500 devices, ranging from desktops to portable devices for use in the field, have now been delivered as part of an ongoing agreement with Barts Health. Device procurement has been simplified, turnaround times reduced and Barts Health has the peace of mind that its commitment to patient confidentiality is underpinned by the knowledge that all obsolete devices are disposed of efficiently and securely.