Clients | Telehouse
United Kingdom (EN)

Spire Healthcare

In the need of quickly and securely migrating its patient records and vital software services to its own hosting platform, Spire Healthcare approached Telehouse. The migration of their records needed to be fast and seamless in order to prevent any disruption to patient service; whilst maintaining the highest levels of security.
In 2007, Cinven, a venture capital group, acquired BUPA’s hospital division to create Spire Healthcare, a group consisting of 24 hospitals across the UK. A year later, the group acquired the Classic Hospital group, adding 12 more hospitals to its portfolio. By 2013 it had become the UK’s second largest healthcare group, owning 36 hospitals across the country and discharging 232,000 patients per year. Spire has partnered with Telehouse to run their IT infrastructure since inception.
Each hospital is run independently, allowing it to adapt to the unique needs of the community it serves. IT services are however operated centrally for the entire group, adapting to the needs defined by each hospital.
Following the acquisition, Spire’s patient records and vital software services were hosted on BUPA’s servers. Consequently, Spire needed to quickly and securely migrate this sensitive data to its own hosting platform. As a private healthcare organisation, patients come to Spire for fast, high quality, personal care. The migration of their records needed to be fast and seamless in order to prevent any disruption to patient service; whilst maintaining the highest levels of security. 

A year later the acquisition of Classic Hospital Group again created new challenges for Spire. The new hospitals ran the same software and server set-up as Spire’s existing hospitals; however, the group would need to rapidly increase the data storage capacity available for the storage of patient records, as well as its power to deliver applications to the new hospitals. Again, this integration needed to be achieved quickly, and with no disruption to service. 

Beyond storage, Spire faced the problem that it had inherited a patient management system, STAR, from BUPA. When Spire inherited the system, STAR was considered out-dated and would no longer be supported by its creator, McKesson, after 2014. The group needed to find and install replacement software in a very restricted imeframe.

“We migrated ourselves away from BUPA and quite quickly found ourselves on a limited timescale to find a new patient management system and convert over to it before it hit end of life,” states Phil Peplow, Head of IT at Spire.
Added to the operational complexity of the initial transition, Hospital IT departments face a unique level of scrutiny in their treatment of data. Patient records are extremely sensitive and, consequently, Spire’s migration concerns sat alongside its day-to-day need to ensure patient data is secure, assured against disaster and accessible; and that vital services such as patient management suffer minimal downtime.
Phil Peplow, Spire’s head of IT, joined BUPA Hospitals in 2007 to help prepare the division to become independent. Working with an IT services partner, Phil engaged Telehouse as Spire Healthcare’s primary secure data host. Telehouse’s ability to quickly and smoothly migrate Spire’s data, and the outstanding security of the Telehouse campus in London, removed a major possible headache for the Spire IT team. 

“We saw Telehouse as the best provider to ensure our data was secure but the level of service they provided was a huge factor in transforming what could have been a difficult move into a very smooth transition,” comments Peplow. 

Similarly, the acquisition of Classic Hospital Group, and the resulting surge in requirement for server space, was eased by the quickly accessible extra space available from Telehouse datacentres. 

Working with Spire, Telehouse could easily and quickly provision space for the new hospitals’ operations with no interruption to service. Replacing the STAR system was a much more difficult challenge. BUPA’s server set up was based on legacy technology, meaning migrating to a new patient management system was not as simple as installing a new programme; Spire would
need an entirely new server set up. 

After a lengthy scoping process, the programme that Spire chose to replace STAR with was a powerful SAP Patient, Financial and Logistics Management Solution. In order to deliver this, Spire chose to replace its existing servers, operating within Telehouse North, with a £14 million project with hardware and software based on an Oracle SUN server cluster. The installation was the first of its kind in the UK.

“We realised early on that the project would be a huge undertaking, but we had to ensure the company was on the best possible technology. This type of migration only happens once every 10 or 15 years,” says Peplow.
An Installation of this scale would usually take three years to complete. Thanks to hard work and a strong partnership between Spire and Telehouse, Spire’s migration took just 18 months. The new SAP system went live on 1st April 2013 and is serving 1600 concurrent users daily.

Throughout the installation process, the hospitals being served by the Spire IT team have remained incredibly satisfied with the service they have received. Satisfaction scores for the department are an impressive 91 per cent. 

Peplow comments “The Telehouse team have always been accommodating and efficient – we’re confident we’re being looked after and that has allowed us to pass great levels of service on to our hospitals.”

Future In the future, Spire is reviewing its’ back up strategy and is considering the consolidation of its servers into Telehouse, possibly taking up space in Telehouse West.

“Telehouse has proven great value, secure and professional. We’ll be working with them more in the future,” concludes Peplow.