More than a computer system, EPR will transform the way everyone at both Trusts works, making sense of busy, complex health services, analysing information in clever ways and helping to manage many every-day tasks.
This system will not only help to treat patients more effectively by giving healthcare staff easier access to up-to-date information, it will also use this information to improve care, and give healthcare staff the tools needed to be safer and more efficient.
It would be easy to think of EPR as simply a computer system that takes paper-based health records and stores them digitally. In reality, EPR will bring about a step-change in how healthcare staff work.
Computers are used to store all kinds of information about us, from our bank details to our online shopping and now the NHS is joining the information revolution, harnessing its power to help us deliver safer, more efficient services.
Health services care for many thousands of patients every day, with different and complex health conditions. Having up to date, accurate information, available to everyone, whenever they need it helps us to offer the best care we can and ensure that patients get the treatment they need.
EPR goes beyond being a system for storing information. When patient records are stored on paper, the information can only be understood and analysed by staff reading through all of it every time they see a patient. EPR is capable of taking this information and applying the knowledge, intelligence and experience of a much wider network. This means the system is capable of suggesting plans of care, supporting clinical decision-making and acting as a double-check.
In addition to this, it can be a valuable tool in managing the wider healthcare system. EPR can help to manage the flow of patients through our hospitals, helping them respond to increases in demand by identifying where beds are available (or where they might be available tomorrow) and offering insights into how services are used and where they could be more efficient. By drawing on best practice from across the NHS and beyond, EPR could give everyone working in local health services the tools they need to deliver safer, more efficient care.
The EPR system chosen by both trusts is called ‘Millennium’ and is supplied by US software supplier Cerner. This system is already used by thousands of healthcare organisations around the world, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Barts Healthcare NHS Trust and St George’s NHS Foundation Trust.
Trial load testing helps us to see how data will be migrated into EPR when we go live, so that we can make sure that the system is safe and staff have access to all the information they need.
Staff frequently ask how they will access EPR when they are in wards and clinical areas. A number of different mobile carts have been purchased, following workshops with clinicians at both Trusts.