Resource type: Case study

Microtest Case Study

Christopher Netherton, Microtest’s Managing Director (Left) and Andrew Griffiths, Chief Information Officer for Health, NHS Wales Informatics Service (Right)

For over 30 years, Microtest has been developing and supplying clinical software systems to GP practices across the country. Microtest’s systems make it easier for practice staff to carry out all their crucial day to day activities, including appointments, consultations, reviewing patient medical history and medication.

With its head office in Bodmin, this family-run business has grown to become one of the four largest clinical software suppliers in the country. Microtest prides itself on its customer service and was named IT Provider of the Year 2017-18 in the prestigious General Practice Awards.

In late 2017, Microtest engaged with the Superfast Business Cornwall programme for support in tackling an important business opportunity. Microtest was in the process of redesigning and relaunching its key software suite, Open Evolution. Discussions with the NHS had shown that most practices were wanting to move to a cloud-based solution, rather than the hosted solutions that had previously been standard.

Such a move would require a major change to the working practices within the company and a need to bring in some new expertise in cloud solutions. This also had to be done swiftly, as there were new NHS procurement opportunities shortly going out to tender, of the kind that only become available every three or four years. If successful, these tenders would offer major growth potential for the business.

Chris Netherton, Managing Director of Microtest, says:

“Our software was already rating well against competitor products in terms of functionality, flexible access, collaboration functions and other features. The key requirement was to develop a cloud hosted service in a relatively short timeframe. To do this, we needed to bring in additional outside resource to work under the guidance of our own project management team.

“We applied for funding support and the Superfast Business Cornwall team were very helpful in guiding us through the process and fast-tracking our application. Once our application was approved, their Digital Business Enabler, Steve Edwards, worked alongside us to help select the right consultants for the work. While we obviously have a lot of software expertise in-house, it was fantastic having Steve as an independent adviser and sounding board for our ideas. Steve played a pivotal supporting role – always there for us, always taking the administrative pain out of the process and guiding us to a successful conclusion.”

Steve Edwards says:

“This is an excellent example of how Superfast Business Cornwall has helped a growing company to expand its range of services and, as a result, access new markets. Once Microtest presented their business case, we immediately saw how valuable the support of Superfast Business Cornwall would be.

“It was great to work with the Microtest team on this project and to help them to significantly expand their offering in this way. I am sure that this initiative will help to cement Microtest’s position as a top provider of systems to the NHS across the UK.”

Chris Netherton says that the company is already reaping the benefits of this initiative:

“Within a few months of starting this project, Microtest was successful in gaining Preferred Vendor status for NHS Wales, after a rigorous procurement process. We were able to demonstrate that Microtest has all the capabilities required to meet the needs of GP Practices in NHS Wales – both now and well into the future.

“The company now has the opportunity to work with many new customers across NHS Wales, so this is a really significant step forward. We have already created eight new high-skilled IT jobs in Bodmin, with more planned as a result of this project. It is a very exciting time for the business.”

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