Accenture and SAP will co-develop software using SAP's NetWeaver integration platform to streamline the sharing of data among healthcare organizations and applications in a SOA (services-oriented architecture), they said Wednesday.
The software, Collaborative Health Network (CHN) is intended to provide the infrastructure to link health-care applications together, said Ken Lacey, global managing partner of Accenture's Health & Life Sciences practice.
The companies are still designing the software, but functions they hope to incorporate in the first release, due in mid-2007, include a master patient index, an index of health-care providers, electronic prescribing and links to pharmacists, Lacey said.
Connections among health-care providers and the organizations that pay them, such as insurance companies or government agencies, will appear in a later version of the software, he said.
The software, which Accenture is presenting as an optional part of its Electronic Health Record Connection Platform, could find widespread use. A number of countries plan to computerize health-care records and link systems together regionally or nationally, while others have already begun work on such projects. Accenture will initially approach health-care providers in Austria, Chile, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands with the CHN infrastructure software project, Lacey said.
In other large markets, though, CHN will struggle to find a place.
France is "already fairly far down the path to establishing requirements," Lacey said, making it difficult for Accenture to pitch a new approach such as CHN.
The U.K. has already begun work on its system, which aims to link 50 million patients with health-care workers including doctors. Accenture has already the job of deploying part of the U.K.'s system, but in March reported that it expected to make a loss on the work as a result of delays in obtaining key clinical record software from supplier iSoft Group.
Accenture will offer its services as systems integrator for the product, with SAP as software supplier, Lacey said. The companies will develop the software near SAP's headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. Accenture representatives could not say how many staff will work on the project.