OBJECTIVES: We studied vendor perspectives about potentially transferable lessons for implementing organisations and national strategies surrounding the procurement of Computerised Physician Order Entry (CPOE)/Clinical Decision Support (CDS) systems in English hospitals.
SETTING: Data were collected from digitally audio-recorded discussions from a series of CPOE/CDS vendor round-table discussions held in September 2014 in the UK.
PARTICIPANTS: Nine participants, representing 6 key vendors operating in the UK, attended. The discussions were transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed.
RESULTS: Vendors reported a range of challenges surrounding the procurement and contracting processes of CPOE/CDS systems, including hospitals' inability to adequately assess their own needs and then select a suitable product, rushed procurement and implementation processes that resulted in difficulties in meaningfully engaging with vendors, as well as challenges relating to contracting leading to ambiguities in implementation roles. Consequently, relationships between system vendors and hospitals were often strained, the vendors attributing this to a lack of hospital management's appreciation of the complexities associated with implementation efforts. Future anticipated challenges included issues surrounding the standardisation of data to enable their aggregation across systems for effective secondary uses, and implementation of data exchange with providers outside the hospital.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that there are significant issues surrounding capacity to procure and optimise CPOE/CDS systems among UK hospitals. There is an urgent need to encourage more synergistic and collaborative working between providers and vendors and for a more centralised support for National Health Service hospitals, which draws on a wider body of experience, including a formalised procurement framework with value-based product specifications.