The Cornwall Health Informatics Service (CHIS) is using Novell software in an attempt to improve integration between systems.
The service, run by Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, provides technical support to over 12,000 health workers who predominately use Windows clients accessing a mix of servers that includes Windows, Unix and Novell NetWare.
CHIS supports GPs, primary care trusts and acute hospitals that have historically developed their IT infrastructures independently of each other.
In April 2000, three groups covering 300 sites - the acute hospital trusts, primary care trusts and community healthcare groupings - were merged into one.
"Bedding them in led to a strategic review of our IT requirements," Tony Bray, Cornwall's technical services manager told vnunet.com. "The first concern was common email."
Major administrative savings have been achieved through installing Novell eDirectory, GroupWise and ZENworks to cover functions such as directory services, email and secure remote access.
One reason for choosing GroupWise was that it needed only one server for all sites, whereas Exchange had required servers for 30-40 individual sites, said Bray.
Another saving was users needing only their name and password, rather than a local profile for every user which, according to Bray, "most users do not know how to do".
Users can now log on remotely to email and corporate resources from any of the outlying offices, at home or on the move. This includes accessing patient records and other sensitive data.
In addition, the GroupWise installation, which went live in December, is not vulnerable to viruses which accessed the local Windows address book to propagate.
Among the client systems are 1,000 using Citrix thin client software. Using ZENworks, the Service now delivers only the applications users are entitled to run to these desktops, reducing support needs.
Novell eDirectory, in use on some systems for the past three years, has now replaced Windows Domain and Active Directory.
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