Financial tenders for the design and development of an IT system for the National Health Scheme (NHS) are to be opened in early September, with the contract to be awarded worth a reported €55 million.
The deployment of a software system is seen as integral to rolling out the much-delayed NHS. The IT system will be used in the management and monitoring of patients and to expedite overall service.
Overseeing the tenders process for the IT system is the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO). It has already opened and assessed the bidders’ technical tenders, and according to HIO head Thomas Antoniou the financial tenders are to be opened soon, likely beginning of September.
The two bidders in the running are IBM and NCR.
The project will be partly financed by the EU.
Under the envisioned schedule, the contract with the successful bidder is expected to be signed by the end of this year or beginning of next. According to reports, the first part of the software is then expected to be delivered some 14 months later, and the system will go fully operational by mid-2018.
Attempts to secure an integrated IT system for the NHS go back to 2007, with at least three tenders called and scrapped since.
The NHS is a requirement of Cyprus’ bailout programme. Under the deal, Cyprus was supposed to offer a national healthcare scheme by 2015.
The latest attempt for an IT system was launched in 2013-2014, with the government opting for the Competitive Dialogue method.
Competitive dialogue is a public-sector tendering option that allows for bidders to develop alternative proposals in response to a client’s outline requirements. Only when their proposals are developed in sufficient detail are tenderers invited to submit competitive bids.
Meanwhile, on this September 13, a government bill regarding the autonomy of state hospitals will be handed to political party leaders at a meeting to take place at the Presidential Palace.
Hospital autonomy is the first step towards the implementation of the NHS. It aims to make state hospitals administratively and financially independent and able to compete with private hospitals.
Dialogue between the government and stakeholders in the public and private sectors is ongoing.