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Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

"Thanks to Sybase technology and support, we are confident that SPNet will continue to deliver substantial benefits for the Trust as well as for our patients."

Chris Slater
Head of Supplies
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust—the largest trust in the UK, providing acute services for the City of Leeds—needed to develop an e-procurement system based on a common item catalog that would work with its existing purchasing and finance systems. Using Sybase technology, it developed a comprehensive e-procurement, management information and purchasing control system.

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Key Benefits

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An "E-commerce in Action" Project
The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust employs more than 15,000 staff across eight sites and treats 125,000 inpatients, 65,000 day cases and 700,000 outpatients each year. Its annual budget is more than USD $1 billion.

"As you can imagine, the provision of supplies is crucial to this huge organization," said Graham Medwell, Leeds information manager. "If we do not manage our procurement process efficiently and accurately, we could place patients' health at risk. To cut paperwork, increase efficiency and enforce contract compliance to realize the greatest discounts and to provide management with accurate and timely information on procurement, we embarked on an ‘e-commerce in action' project."

Prior to this project, Leeds' procurement environment was a tangle of inflexible, disconnected systems (some electronic, some manual), a vast number of suppliers, and centrally and locally negotiated contracts. In addition, Leeds had no catalog management capability.

Key Requirements
After analyzing its existing procurement processes, Leeds determined it needed an e-procurement system based on a common item catalog that would work with its existing purchasing and finance systems—interfacing with them but not affecting their normal operational performance.

Simply put, Leeds' new system would have to provide a clean catalog, automatic checks on contract compliance, automatic electronic order status, electronic shipping notices and invoices, the ability to work with multiple trusts and multiple purchasing systems and mobile access for requisitioning.

Leeds ' initial steps in its procurement reengineering project included the development of a catalog and a system to clean and maintain the catalog data. The supplies department also developed a database, powered by Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE), to provide management with access to procurement information. It then developed modules, using Sybase PowerBuilder, to enable online requisitioning, ensure contract compliance and manage its catalog of a half-million items. The system also provides management information at all levels of the organizational hierarchy.

Collaborating to Web-enable E-procurement
Building on this initial work, and in collaboration with Sybase Professional Services, Leeds expanded development to extend its e-procurement system to the wider Leeds Teaching Hospitals user community via the Web. This initiative led to the creation of SPNet.

SPNet is a total e-procurement, management information and purchasing control system that provides automatic contract compliance, extensive management information capabilities, a user-friendly Web-based requisitioning module, a trust and confederation view of expenditures at all levels, integration of current systems, mobile functionality, an interface to tendering packages for contract generation and e-trading via XML, email and autofax options.
"We looked at a number of potential partners to commercially develop our in-house system," Medwell said. "The objectives of the partnership were to have greater reliability and move to a scalable solution that would not only link our legacy systems within the Trust, but also link multiple hospitals within a purchasing confederation or hub. Our decision to partner with Sybase was based on the company's 20-year track record of technology innovation, its commitment to open architecture solutions that provide the data management and mobility necessary for today's unwired society, and Sybase's extensive health care IT experience."

SPNet Architecture Built With Sybase Technology
The SPNet e-procurement architecture delivers a fully integrated and personalized user interface, giving multi-organizational support from the Strategic Health Authority and confederations to trusts, sites and departments.

"Using SPNet, we can now roll out electronic requisitioning across the Trust using browser-based technology," Medwell said. "In addition to rolling out SPNet reporting to budget holders, we are currently looking at how to make best use of the extra facilities the new system offers to link procurement to clinical legacy systems."

These include linking electronic patient records to products used. A number of areas, such as radiology, have already begun piloting the reporting of patient data and products used in procedures via SPNet as they happen. "By linking patient data with the products used in a procedure, SPNet will provide us with vital management information," said Kevin Peters, radiology superintendent. "We can also ensure that the item catalog details are synchronized between SPNet and our radiology legacy system, eliminating the need for manual intervention in the requisitioning process."

Delivering Dramatic Results
SPNet has already delivered dramatic benefits across the NHS Trust supply chain. It has slashed the total cost per order by 92 percent, dramatically improved staff productivity, increased contract compliance and management and provided better control over spending across the Trust.

"SPNet is part of the future for us," said Chris Slater, Leeds' head of supplies. "We already use SPNet with other e-commerce initiatives and we'll soon be using it to link patient legacy systems throughout the Trust as part of the organization's comprehensive e-commerce strategy. It's important that we implement solutions that work for us now and into the future, as our requirements and objectives evolve and mature. Thanks to Sybase technology and support, we are confident that SPNet will continue to deliver substantial benefits for the Trust as well as for our patients."

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