SynApps Launches Dedicated Healthcare Practice To Help CCIOs

Tony Backhouse 27f8d29Why has SynApps decided to set up a dedicated health IT service for its customers? Tony Backhouse, UK Head of SynApps Healthcare Practice,who’s leading the charge for the new business, explains the context and mission.

 I am delighted to be able to announce that SynApps Solutions now has a dedicated Healthcare Practice. This is a new team, which I will be heading up, whose sole focus will be spreading the word about the SynApps’ clinical content store and services to the UK healthcare market.

Why have we done this? There’s a simple answer to this: it’s going to help our customers. In the past six months alone, four major English NHS Trusts have committed to work with our VNA (Vendor Neutral Archive) content management system to help them with their data. That’s solid success, building on strong support out there in the NHS for our unique approach to helping clinicians – and it demands proper focus and resource from us as a supplier.

There’s growth that we see building, and which we want to capitalise on. But we know that you can’t be half-hearted about as important a market as the NHS. Health IT (HIT) vendors know that Chief Clinical Information Officers (CCIOs) only want to work with people who understand their problems, who understand the challenges they face on a daily basis and who can work well with the NHS. That’s also a driver for the new SynApps Healthcare Practice – a true focus on the market’s demands and what we need to do to help satisfy them.

We are a long way from the National Programme for IT. We have a landscape still dominated by the end of that – many Trusts engage with us because they value what we can do with their PACS assets, now contracts are coming to an end.

Austerity = no return to the “one-size fits all” approach

But it’s a market also being dynamically shaped by factors like the drive to greater health and social care integration – where we expect local devolution, like ‘Devo Manchester,’ to be a huge influence over the next couple of years. It’s also one driven by the leadership of NHS England around things like patient data harvesting, more use of Open Source, more take up of local systems and local collaboration, especially at the intra-agency level.

 CCIOs know all this. They also know that the day of the, top-down approach to meeting such challenges is long gone and that mega-suite EPRs are not the only answer. In times of austerity, you can’t afford to take a gamble on things that won’t deliver. Pragmatism is the order of the day – and it’s a message we align with, based as we are on open standards and deep experience.

Information is perhaps the biggest issue – one that’s likely to get even bigger. We might not have heard that much recently about a Paperless NHS by 2018, but that’s not gone away. Trusts know that they need to work with both structured data (often held in EPRs and Clinical Systems) and unstructured data (DICOM, PACS files, Medical Photography, Patient Records and other electronic content) to get there. Bringing together all of these information types will achieve real synergy and move us to truly digital, 21st century healthcare systems.

Expertise and strength in depth

That’s a lot to achieve and there are likely to be few simple answers as to how to do it all.

But we’re going to help you start – and finally, let me say how proud I am to be part of the SynApps contribution to the exciting next phase of UK Health IT evolution.

Please feel free to drop me a line at  to find out more about the Practice.

Tony is a great choice to lead our new Healthcare Practice at SynApps given his high-profile career in the area; prior to joining SynApps in early 2014, he was Head of Healthcare at Enterprise Information Management firm OpenText, responsible for setting up a new health practice in the UK for that company – a position that in turn built on years of health IT exposure, including leading (while at Logica) one of the biggest outsourcing agreements in the NHS, at University College Hospital in London