NI cancer centre keeps continuity for IT systems


2 Nov 2006

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Northern Ireland’s New Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital has implemented a new IT system that provides consultants with access to patient information from a single source as well as allowing them to confer with colleagues from different hospitals.

The facility at Belfast City Hospital’s Oncology Centre went live as the Regional Centre of Excellence in the Treatment of Cancer across Northern Ireland in March of this year. The IT department needed a system that was accessible by all the Cancer units on a 24×7 basis throughout Northern Ireland and one that could be easily updated in real time.

The hospital appointed the IT service provider RTSL to design and implement the IT system based, backed by a business continuity platform using the Marathon systems solution. As part of an upgrade to the IT systems, a ‘Marathon split site’ solution was installed. This ensured that users will have access to the systems on another site, without interruption, in the event of something happening to the main systems. The hospital is already planning to move more of its systems over to Marathon in the long term.

According to Philip Leighton, senior systems specialist at Belfast City Hospital, RTSL created a solution which fitted into hospital’s existing infrastructure, ensuring that it was robust, reliable and provided continuity of information at all stages of the implementation process. Since going live the system has not had any unscheduled downtime, Leighton added. “It is unthinkable what we would be up against without this system in place. We transferred all the users on to the system over a weekend period; in the space of a week, the system proved its worth.”

Rosi Kirker, business development director at RTSL, added: “This was a huge project involving highly sensitive information, which needs to be accessed from satellite locations across Northern Ireland, which led to issues around confidentially, real-time upgrading and ease of use. We worked closely with not only the IT department but also the final end users to test run the system at the various stages.”

By Gordon Smith