NHS trust leads regional digital maturity with new EPR

Kent trust elevates digital maturity ambitions by deploying Allscripts' Sunrise EPR to facilitate joined-up care

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has deployed Sunrise EPR across both its hospitals.

As part of its ongoing digital maturity ambition, the EPR has been rolled out in both emergency departments, as well as in paediatric inpatient services, gastroenterology, and neurology outpatients.

It also covers test ordering and referrals trust-wide.

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And, despite only being a few weeks in, the trust is already experiencing clinical benefits.

“The new system has provided functionality that enables our teams to seamlessly share patient data, supporting the further development of a shared care record for Kent”, said Jane Saunders, EPR director.

The trust selected Allscripts as its EPR provider in 2019 and the recent go-live marks a big step forward in helping to fulfil its ‘digital first, paper second’ strategy.

The early clinical benefits for the trust have been notable, improving and digitising previously-manual, time-consuming processes.

It’s really intuitive and clinicians have begun thinking about how it could be configured for their department’s specific needs

Saunders said that, just two weeks in, 1,200 daily users were able to deliver 30,000 tests and 170,000 results into the system.

And labelling, which had previously been completed manually, has now been automated, saving hospital staff eight hours per day processing pathology forms.

As a result, clinicians have been able to spend more time with patients and have better visibility of each patient’s care pathway as all their information is recorded and stored within the EPR.

Such early success, Saunders adds, was made possible by how usable Sunrise is, and the structured training provided to get clinicians used to the new technology.

“We took a blended approach, with in-person and online training, even being able to conduct one-to-ones with those who were more nervous about using the technology,” she said.

“As a result, we were able to get 78% of staff fully trained ahead of deployment, meaning clinicians were able to make the most out of all their processes being integrated from day one.”

Peter Maskell, medical director, adds: “It’s really intuitive and clinicians have begun thinking about how it could be configured for their department’s specific needs.

“Most importantly, we’re able to review and take stock of what’s working well and how we can adapt to make the most of its flexibility.”

In the emergency department, in particular, workflows are being transformed.

Previously, clinicians would be walking around to manually track patients, or to review notes from junior doctors.

The increased capabilities for data sharing provide a promising foundation for more-joined-up, and ultimately-better care, for patients

Now, all processes are stored in Sunrise, so notes can be reviewed or exchanged without having to visit the ED.

And the tab functionality allows clinical teams to use the EPR to easily access other applications acting as a portal so they have the right information, in the right place, when they need it.

Saunders said the next step is for the trust is to deploy Sunrise across all inpatient adult wards for core clinical documents before rolling out ePMA within 2021/22.

“We’re keen to see what else we can digitise, so we can support the continued integration of the Kent and Medway Shared Care Record,” said Saunders.

“We now have a ‘single tab’ to access shared data directly from Sunrise, which will enable us to work with neighbouring trusts in a more-seamless way.

“The trust provides cancer services for the whole region, which is one of the most-populous Integrated Care Systems in England, so the increased capabilities for data sharing provide a promising foundation for more-joined-up, and ultimately-better care, for patients.”

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