The aim of this article is to explore the effect of the joint procurement model adopted during the English National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT) on the customisation, design and usability of a hospital ePrescribing system. Drawing on qualitative data collected at two case study sites deploying an ePrescribing system jointly procured within one of the NPfIT’s geographical clusters, we explain how procurement decisions, difficult relationships with the supplier and strict contractual arrangements contributed to usability issues and difficulties in the customisation process. While some limited change requests made by users were taken up by the developers, these were seen by users as insufficient to meet local clinical needs and practices. A joint procurement approach, such as the NPfIT, thus limited the opportunity and scope of the changes to the ePrescribing system, which impinged not only on the perceived success of the implementation but also on the system’s usability.
- decision-support systems
- IT design and development methodologies
- IT healthcare evaluation
- secondary care