UK’s NHS moving to Microsoft Exchange 2007 supporting over 260.000 users.

Several newssites report on the decision of NHS to move to Microsoft Exchange 2007. The size is enormous : 260.000 users. Aparently various solutions have been evaluated in a feasibility study and Microsoft came up a winner.

  • Source : 

    … The NHS will be moving its internal email and directory system onto Microsoft Outlook, according to supplier Cable & Wireless.

    Cable & Wireless, which in 2004 took over responsibility for the NHSmail messaging system from its rival supplier EDS, said the system will undergo a “technology refresh” involving a transition from the existing core platform to Microsoft Exchange 2007. The switchover is planned for the spring of next year.

    Around 260,000 NHS staff use NHSmail, which, although it is accessible from any internet-connected computer, is a secure system for sending confidential patient information. It is believed to be one of the largest single-domain secure email systems in the world.

    In a statement, Cable & Wireless said, although “the technology originally deployed was found to be the most appropriate solution available at the time… rapid advances in technology have meant that new and alternative options have become available which better meet the evolving requirements of the service”.

    Martin Goodman, managing director for public sector business at Cable & Wireless, said: “Cable & Wireless worked in partnership with NHS [Connecting for Health] on a feasibility study to establish the most appropriate technology solution moving forward and, between us, we have concluded that, as a result of increasing demands for functionality and flexibility of use, Exchange 2007 offers the best option for an enhanced user experience.” …

  • Source :

    …  “Most people are already familiar with Microsoft e-mail technology, but there will be multiple benefits from moving to Microsoft Exchange 2007, not least for clinicians the ability to put e-mails and wireless synchronization to mobile devices using the Exchange synchronisation.

    “There will also be the improvements through the use of the calendar, flags system and an increased disaster recovery capability. Even when the system is offline, the staff will be able to move mail into folders and store them easier. It will improve the contacts functionality, allowing managers especially to share contacts using v-cards. Spell checking facilities will be available and e-mail addresses can be saved so auto-completion lets you select an address quickly. Effectively, the transition will provide a greater range of options for e-mails and a much more modern view.” …

    … Connecting for Health listed the benefits to EHI in a statement. “The new NHSmail service will run on Microsoft Exchange 2007 and users will benefit from such new features such as:

    • ‘Push’ email and wireless synchronisation of calendar, contacts and tasks to mobile devices using Exchange ActiveSync
    • A very significant number of improvements to calendars – representing a completely new presentation of the calendar to our portal users
    • Increased disaster recovery capability
    • The ability to ‘drag and drop’ when organising folders, emails and calendars
    • The ability to make changes to accounts when offline, e.g. by moving mails between folders (if using MS Outlook)
    • Improved ‘Contacts’ function – including the ability to share Contacts with colleagues
    • Improved ease of use for the spell checker function
    • Improved ‘Help’ facility
    • A function to ‘auto-complete’ email addresses, based on previous addresses used
    • Greater range of options for altering the look of emails and the way an inbox is organised. …

    … Will Moss, programme head for NHSmail at NHS Connecting for Health, told EHI: “Microsoft Exchange 2007 with Outlook Web Access 2007 (for web users) will offer NHSmail users all the advantages that the current NHSmail service offers (security, web access, 24x7x365, email address for your career) with the added advantages of higher levels of functionality and usability. Easier and better functionality increases productivity and enables the automation of a wider range of tasks – more productivity means more time with patients.

    “The significant increase in functionality for NHSmail web users and the extension of the range of supported mobile devices will further enhance the working lives of the many peripatetic users in the NHS – extending the ways in which they can communicate with each other and their patients. As a result of the technology refresh NHS staff will be using the de facto standard for email services.”