SAN FRANCISCO – An umbrella organization for 13 Canadian hospitals is preparing to streamline its purchasing process with workflow-driven automation software from Oracle Corp., executives attending the vendor’s OpenWorld conference

this week said.

Edmonton’s Capital Health, a longtime Oracle customer, will roll out the iProcurement module of the firm’s E-Business suite of applications in February of next year to more than 500 users. The software is designed to make sure that both direct and indirect purchases are conducted through pre-negotiated supplier contracts, and includes a search engine and multi-supplier catalogue for Web-based deployment. Other iProcurement customers include Barclays Bank in the U.K.

“”We’re going to be doing e-requisitioning. It’s a much easier interface,”” said Bruce Lawson, Capital Health’s director of regional support systems. “”Our old systems are a few years old, and they’re always adding new functionality.””

Capital Health includes the University of Alberta Hospital, Westview Community Hospital in Stony Plain, Fort Saskatchewan Hospital and Alberta Hospital Edmonton, among others. Though it has turned to partners to help implement E-Business Suite modules in the past, Lawson said with iProcurement the organization will be handling the job on its own.

“”We’ve been using Oracle for more than five years. This is not as big a rollout,”” he said.

Capital Health spent the past fall rolling out NetCare, an electronic patient data records project based on Oracle’s 9i database. So far more than 2,600 health professionals are on the system and 300 new users are being trained each week.

Oracle has been highlighting the applicability of its 11i.10 products to the health-care sector at OpenWorld this week. In his keynote late Monday afternoon, executive vice-president Ron Wohl said several health-care organizations have been extending Oracle ERP systems to better manage financial, clinical care and administration data about individual patients. “”This is a newer area of focus for Oracle,”” Wohl said. “”You’re going to start seeing key governments agreeing on standards that software vendors can implement.””

Lawson said he is paying close attention to Oracle’s recent release of Business Intelligence 10g, a standalone offering designed to allow customers query, reporting and dual OLAP/SQL capabilities. The product may be a good place to get more insight from Capital Health’s general ledger, purchasing and HR information, he said.

“”We’ve been collecting data for a bazillion years,”” he said. “”It’s time to start organizing that better.””

Business intelligence would be useful, for example, in helping Capital Health do a better job of tracking sick days for its employees, Lawson said. “”Right now we can’t map that out.””

Oracle OpenWorld continues through Thursday.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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