Newly-merged trust launches with new EPR system

New University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust links patient records across three hospital sites

The new University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust opened its doors for the first time this month with a single electronic patient record running live across its two acute sites.

The trust is formed from the long-awaited merger of Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and employs over 9,000 staff.

The new single electronic record means any clinical data captured on the new system at any of the three hospital sites is instantly available to any clinician employed by the trust.

Poole Hospital has long used Graphnet’s CareCentric software to share patient records between staff in the acute trust, in clinical networks, GP practices, social services, community teams and community hospitals.

More recently, ahead of an agreement on merger, it was decided to use Graphnet’s software to create a single strategic electronic patient record for Poole and Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals, reflecting the complex patient flows between the two organisations.

I don’t know of any trust in the country that could claim they have merged their EPR in advance of organisational merge. It has been a fantastic collaborative effort all round

The deployment was a major undertaking which involved migrating 34 million items of clinical data and about 40 interfaces from the legacy system at both hospitals across to the Poole EPR.

“This is a truly-wonderful achievement and a fantastic starting position for our merged trust,” said Peter Gill, trust director of informatics.

“I don’t know of any trust in the country that could claim they have merged their EPR in advance of organisational merge. It has been a fantastic collaborative effort all round.”

Patient information is automatically fed into Graphnet’s software from the University Hospitals Dorset’s various departmental clinical information systems, is held in a repository, and forms the wider electronic patient record.

Data fed in automatically includes PAS activity and outcomes, pathology results, radiology reports, GP referral letters, A&E discharge information, neurophysiology results, medical photography, cardio-respiratory results, clinic letters, and many other types of information.

Clinicians also enter information into the central record in real time at the point of care using a suite of over 100 structured electronic forms.

And forms are used to drive a patient’s care pathway, with automated transmission to the next clinician or care professional.

The direct benefit to working clinicians of a single EPR with straightforward, secure access to information held in disparate specialist systems across both sites cannot be underestimated

In addition, Graphnet’s CareCentric software is used to launch systems such as order comms, electronic prescribing, the cross-community shared record (the Dorset Care Record) and the scanned paper record. This is via an embedded link in CareCentric, so the user does not have to log in separately or search for the relevant patient’s record.

The trust’s PACS system will follow shortly.

A major factor in the project was concern that many medical staff, even prior to the merger, were working across both the Poole and the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals - staff working in anaesthetics, oncology, palliative care, orthopaedics, for example. And having two separate EPRs, which might not contain all patient-critical information, was a significant clinical risk.

Dr Rupert Page, consultant neurologist, CCIO and CSO at Poole Hospital, said bringing together the core clinical systems of two previously-separate organisations was an immense achievement in itself.

“The direct benefit to working clinicians of a single EPR with straightforward, secure access to information held in disparate specialist systems across both sites cannot be underestimated”, he added.

“The ability to access this information remotely, from anywhere, supports the increasing move to more-distributed models of care. We look forward to building on what has already been achieved.”

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