Medicom merge with Systems Solutions

From the Medicom press release

The newly-formed company aims to provide support both to and between
the primary care, secondary care and pharmacy sectors in a fully
integrated manner in the months and years ahead.The merging of these
two entities will allow for increased synergies between pharmacies and
primary care professionals which will bring time and cost benefits in
addition to benefits for patients.

IMT have interview with Howard Beggs here, the piece below is extracted from this and throws light on the 2004 takeover of the Quantum – developers of GP Clinical.

“Back in 2004,” he said, “the then owners of
GP Clinical decided the business was no longer profitable and went
about selling their business. We were one of a number of companies to
be offered the business for sale. The GPs using the GP Clinical
software were right to express frustration with the fact that the
company they had invested time and money in had been sold off, but we
were surprised to receive the brunt of that frustration. It was
perceived that the acquisition was a predatory move when, in fact, it
was quite the opposite. We simply took over the management and support
of the customer base in the hope and anticipation that the majority
would ultimately migrate to our mainstream products.”

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Rate My GP

It seems like no profession can now escape the review of the population at large. got some profile last week, including radio interviews on saturday morning from the very media-shy Gerald Kean.

One can assume then that a similar rating system for the medical community cannot be far behind. A quick check for the domain shows that it has been taken by an IT consultancy – School & Office Support, based in Letterfrack.

More interestingly, the domain was snapped up by Cork-based GP, Dr Diarmuid Mulcahy (back in December ’05). According to a piece in the Irish Medical News, Mulcahy comments that such a site would be

"for both the benefit of the
profession as well as the patient, and would be fair and balanced. I
was very taken with the ratemyteachers site and felt the comments on it
were balanced. I don’t think doctors have anything to be scared of by
having a medical equivalent.."

Personally, I’m not so sure if we can equate the legal and medical professions in this context. My own perception would be that you build a relationship with your GP, and this relationship can last a lifetime. Legal advice on the other hand, for the vast majority of people – is pretty infrequent – and based on very little personal interaction.

However, I might suggest that this may be more similar to the way interaction between senior medical staff and patients occurs in a hospital environment?

This could get interesting…..

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Connecting for Health profiled on BBC Radio 4

The ambition and vision of the Connecting for Health programme in the UK continues to come in for a lot of public scrutiny. File on Four this evening (tuesday) looked at Choose & Book, Childhood Vaccination and Hospital system implementation. By and large, it was not pretty. Here are some of my notes from the programme.

Choose & Book

  • 400k bookings since launch.
  • concern from GP community on length of time needed to do booking – average at least 2 minutes (from a 10 minute patient consult).
  • Avon given as example of Primary Care trust advising boycott by GP’s.
  • Listened to a more positive GP giving demo of the system to reporter (6mins 50sec in). His reaction (and obvious frustration at this having happened yet again) to key details not being printed out for the patient makes one cringe.
  • It appears that of the 400k bookings, 2/3 of these are for appointments that patients must make by phone – only a minority of hospitals can currently take electronic bookings.


  • CHIA system for childhood vaccination programme in parts of London has been problematic since the beginning.
  • Potential that vaccination records for 24k children have been lost.

Hospital System

  • Only demographics can currently being accessed nationwide (not sure about this one?)
  • Given delay in rollout, example of hospital using interim iSoft solution at cost of 600k this year. Other hospitals will have similiar interim costs with their existing suppliers while waiting for iSoft soln.

[ update ] :  A good review of the programme is here.

Choose & Book profiled on Newsnight

Newsnight on BBC2 tonight (wednesday) had a piece  on Choose and Book – part of a larger debate on the UK Governments push for Choice in public services such as Health and Education. The package was less than positive on the whole initiative – uptake to now, as has been well documented online, is poor.

When you see a TV programme covering these points – lack of prior consultation with the GP community, lack of integration with practice vendor software, and an interim web based solution that is slow – you quickly realise that it is very, very easy for the general public to form negative opinions of these types of initiatives.

While I totally agree with the concept and thrust of "Choice" with regard to any service – private or public, I think the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on the night had sensible pragmatism (I paraphrase and add to the sentiment expressed); the individual will invariably choose local services if available, taking into account the relevant parameters of distance, time, cost, etc.