Published: 02/06/2005, Volume II5, No. 5958 Page 25

Paul Solloway is IT systems support manager for Carmarthenshire trust. paul. solloway@carmarthen. wales. nhs. uk

E-mail is now one of the most pervasive enterprise applications in history, but unless infrastructures are reliable, scalable and efficient they can have an adverse impact on productivity and service delivery.

Carmarthenshire trust recognised the growing role e-mail was playing at its two main hospitals.

It found e-mail was increasingly critical to hospitals and was routinely used to transfer patient information between departments. Its existing system was becoming out-dated, and the trust was finding it increasingly difficult to support and integrate with new NHS initiatives.

The trust was also keen to extend e-mail access to more hospital employees, especially nursing staff and doctors. An IT project was set up to roll out a new application and upgraded infrastructure with optimised storage and back-up.

As a result, nurses and doctors now have greater access to e-mail and can communicate information about patients more efficiently and securely. The new infrastructure also helps the trust comply with the Freedom of Information Act.

The new system has better security, detecting spam and viruses more easily and helping to protect the integrity of hospital data. This has also helped to improve staff productivity among the 1,000 staff that now have e-mail access, up from 600 before the IT project was initiated.