Mater Dei Hospital - New IT supplier proposed - 22/7/2007

link to The Times of Malta

Mater Dei Hospital
New IT supplier proposed
The General Contracts Committee has recommended to the government to enter into an agreement with ACS Healthcare Solutions to provide products and services for the first phase of the Integrated Health Information System (IHIS), which will include the provision of the information technology needed to support the operations of the Mater Dei Hospital, an official statement said yesterday.

ACS Healthcare Solutions are a leading healthcare IT services provider, delivering business process outsourcing services across the United States of America. ACS has over 4,000 healthcare clients and employs directly 2,300 dedicated IT-healthcare employees.

It is a fully-owned subsidiary of US-based ACS Inc., a leading end-to-end business process outsourcing and IT solutions provider in the US. The company employs over 50,000 staff and last year generated revenues exceeding $5 billion.

ACS is not a software or hardware vendor but a systems integrator, hence, supporting multiple applications and a wide range of IT services.

The government said it will enter into an agreement with ACS to provide the hardware, software, expertise and maintenance needed for the following systems:

A Laboratory Information System - The system manages the filing and tracking of orders made to the laboratory for tests; labels and tracks specimens; conducts automated analyses using specialised laboratory equipment and supports pathological analyses of results; provides physicians with results that are electronically distributed to them or to hospital wards; and manages the distribution and archiving of reports from laboratory tests.

A Radiology Information System - This manages the filing and tracking of orders made for radiology examinations as well as the scheduling of appointments; it tracks and provides automated support for the drawing up of notes and documentation related to the examinations; provides assistance to radiologists dictating reports; and manages and distributes exam results.

A Picture Archiving and Communications System - This system integrates with the Radiology Information System and abolishes the costly need of film when acquiring images over medical scanners using an entirely electronic process; images are stored electronically; the system allows radiologists to interpret the images when still in electronic form.

It allows for more advanced processing of images - such as with the use of 3D technology - permitting more accurate interpretations to be made of the information gathered in the scanning process; and distributes images to the physicians and healthcare providers over electronic channels allowing more than one viewer to access the information at the same time cutting on delays in the provision of timely medical service.

The new systems will provide patients with a faster, safer and more accurate medical and healthcare service, the government said.

"They will help doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers with the latest technology, meeting and exceeding standards existing anywhere else in the world. This technology will be a vital tool to reach more successful and more accurate diagnoses of patients' conditions," it said.

Last January, the government was forced to make a fresh call for tenders following court action by the police in connection with the tender for the hospital's new IT system.

An investments systems officer at the Ministry of IT and a part-time employee at Inso, a company forming part of the consortium AME that was initially awarded the IT contract, were charged with bribery offences related to the process.

The original call for tenders was issued in January 2006.

The Cabinet had decided in January to issue the new call after the Attorney General concluded that the implications of the police action on the tendering process were so severe that it ought to be cancelled.

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