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English Hospitals Look To Cloud To Curb Expenses

Merseyside hospitals will use SaaS platform Expenses Health from vendor Software Europe to cut expenses by up to 18%. National Health Service hopes such implementations will help it cut targeted £20 billion from budget.

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A cloud-based expenses software-as-a-service (SaaS) system will be used by a group of English hospitals as part of their ongoing battle to slash operating costs.

The 12 National Health Service (NHS) trusts, or hospitals, located in Merseyside, a metropolitan county in northwest England including the city of Liverpool, will use an online expenses platform called Expenses Health. The platform is already in use by 85 NHS organizations in England, including London Ambulance Service NHS Trust and Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, according to the vendor, Software Europe. The platform is being offered to the hospitals through Capita HR Shared Services for Health, a supplier of payroll, pensions, HR administration, recruitment and expenses services to NHS trusts, building on an earlier Capita contract with the Merseyside hospitals.

Hospitals are showing more interest in SaaS as a way to pare costs, according to Software Europe. The NHS is required to achieve £20 billion ($30 billion) in efficiency savings by the end of financial year 2014-2015, with approximately £350 million to £400 million ($530 million to $600 million) coming from the north Merseyside region alone. Software Europe says its SaaS platform not only can "provide the control and reporting facilities that will ensure policy compliance," but it can save 15% to 18% in expenses.

[ Want more on how the government is trying to save money? Read Virtual Desktops Could Cut U.K. Government Costs. ]

Software Europe says its platform helps customers, including those in the public sector, achieve these savings by giving them tools to do a better job of managing contract compliance and suppliers. Its "corporate diligence" feature handles everything from data collection to automatic creation of a final due diligence report, especially useful in mergers and acquisitions.

Capita HR Shared Services for Health won the original seven-year Merseyside contract in January 2012, including a deal to build a new shared service center in Liverpool. The Wednesday announcement of the extension of services to include Software Europe's expenses platform comes a day before Capita's full-year financial report, which showed that although many parts of the £3.3 billion ($5 billion) diversified outsourcing group fared well in 2012, its IT services arm saw sales drop slightly year on year, from 2011's £637.7 million ($967.4 million) to 2012's £633.4 million ($960.3 million).

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