Public Services > Central Government

MoD’s failure to award Cortisone contracts signals procurement rethink

David Bicknell Published 31 October 2017

Ministry says that after evaluating bids for an initial contract for a forces-wide medical information system it is now planning “further refinement” of its approach


The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said it is going to rethink its approach for a £250m programme forces-wide medical information system after choosing not to award an initial contract for “Programme Cortisone.”

Cortisone will eventually replace and extend the current Defence Medical Information Capability Programme (DMICP), a multimillion pound programme developed over ten years from 2006-2016, which provides clinical records for primary care, dental, rehabilitation and mental health.

Cortisone is intended to "provide a health and healthcare information capability that delivers the right information to the right people, at the right time and in the right format, in order to enable effective delivery of health and healthcare advice, health and healthcare services and medical operational capability and thus support the aim of Defence Medical Services (DMS)."

The Cortisone programme actually comprises three projects:

  • Rebrace, a future defence integrated Electronic Health Record (DiEHR)
  • Intermolar, "a bridge from the present to the future", and
  • Actuary, a future version of the Whole Hospital Information System (WHIS)

Cortisone's core capabilities will include telemedicine, a near real-time disease surveillance, defence health records, a joint military operational patient registry, a patient tracking capability, a data integration capability, and professional appraisal and revalidation

The Cortisone development is being split into a number of "lots" which together form a whole programme.

But questions have been raised over how procurement for the programme will now develop after the MoD recently failed to award the first contract, to supply off-the-shelf software products and vendor support to meet the requirements of two themes of the project.

This procurement was split into two parts. The first part was a lot based competitive procurement that will award up to 19 individual contracts for Lot Solutions. The contracts awarded at the end of Part 1 were then intended to support the Authority in conducting Part 2, dubbed the Solution Evolution and Evaluation (SE&E) Phase. The duration of the SE&E phase was expected to be 13 months.

The lot solution was intended to provide the foundation necessary to enable the required business outcome of an integrated Electronic Health Record, an organised collection of patient healthcare data stored in a digital format.

The MoD’s intention was that the lot solution would deliver an underpinning Med IS architecture for Cortisone that would allow clinicians/users to view, create, exchange and share health and healthcare information, across Defence (all DMS environments, fixed and deployed) and through a variety of secure interfaces, with various non-DMS healthcare providers (for example, the NHS (UK (‘four nation’ health services)), NATO and other allies). This, the MoD intends, will “deliver the integration capability required to provide the backbone to enable interoperability, configurable user access points and information exchange across current and future interfaces.”

In a statement, the MoD told Government Computing that “following the evaluation of bids received, we have concluded that further refinement of our approach and the best way forward is required.”

The MoD also provided an update on the recruitment of a chief information officer (CIO) successor to Mike Stone, who left at the end of March this year. The MoD has embarked on a plan that will see it recruit both a CIO and appoint a chief executive for Information Systems and Services (ISS).

The MoD said Lieutenant General Ivan Hooper remains as interim chief executive of ISS and CIO, with the priority being to appoint a CIO. Final interviews are about to take place, the MoD said. Once the CIO is in post, the recruitment process for the CEO will begin, it added.


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