The remaining contracts in the UK’s NHS Care Record Service are being awarded. The latest contracts are for the east and northwest regions and the big winners are CSC and Accenture. These are huge contracts of over $1.6bn each. In the 1990s Accenture (then known as Andersen Consulting) developed a bit of a bad reputation for not delivering as promised on IT contracts developing claims systems for various Blues plans. And to be fair they were by no means the only systems house that dissapointed their plan client (for instance EDS as noted in this article). But those expenditures were in the tens of millions not the billions that the NHS will be spending. Now to be fair these huge projects are very difficult to run and manage, so you can’t always expect perfect results.
The UK is not unaware of the risks they’re running and the contracts come complete with fairly aggressive penalty clauses. As it’s such a prominent contract dealing with the UK’s most sacred political cow, you can bet that the government will be paying close attention. And for those of us on this side of the Atlantic, well, we’ll be looking for clues to see if there are lessons for slower development of clinical records infrastructure in the US.
Meanwhile the NHS story is Health-IT World‘s top story for 2003. Here are the rest of the Top 10