Electronic Patient records now in place at Medway

Clinically driven EPR deployment enables Medway NHS Foundation Trust to go live in less than five months

5 January 2022: Medway NHS Foundation Trust has successfully deployed phase one of its electronic patient record (EPR) programme with Allscripts, going live across all 24 adult inpatient wards. Collaboration between clinical, operational and IT teams enabled the trust to go live in record time. 

Medway is now the first healthcare organisation in the world to be using the latest version (version 21.1) of the Allscripts Sunrise EPR. The project began in July and the trust officially went live on 16th November, meaning the entire process took less than five months. The deployment of phase one was timed to avoid the peak of intense pressures that winter brings on health services. 

The collaborative approach from clinical, operational and IT teams, all of whom were aligned to EPR delivery as a strategic objective, meant the trust was still able to roll out the new system to schedule. Clinicians are already noticing major benefits, such as improved communication and time released to care. 

In the three weeks after go-live, more than 115,000 clinical documents were created in the system that is now being used by more than 1,000 clinical, nursing, and administrative staff.

Suzanne O’Neil, EPR Director, Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “EPR has been a strategic priority for the trust throughout the pandemic, and clinical buy-in was imperative to keep the wheels turning. Being able to build an EPR to fit their bespoke needs meant there was a passion to deliver it right and on time. I can’t imagine it going much better than it did.”   

Although the solution has only been live for a few weeks, clinical benefits are already being realised, for example being able to access patient notes remotely. Previously, an on-call consultant would need to phone the hospital and take someone away from their clinical work to read through patient notes and relay observations. Now, clinicians can access them from anywhere through the Sunrise portal. This is saving 20-30 minutes of time per patient that would otherwise have been spent on the phone talking through paper notes.

The trust chose to take a phased approach to the roll out, introducing less functionality across more areas. Suzanne said: “We only implemented our PAS five years ago, so we needed to make sure there was appetite for digital and motivation to see the project through. Staff were encouraged by the shorter timeline to delivery, which enabled us to all align to the goal of deploying as quickly as we could.”

As well as clinical benefits, patient experience has also improved. Dr Nabeel Qureshi, Consultant Surgeon and Clinical Lead for EPR, Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The EPR is transforming our workflows, and is already having a positive impact on patient safety. Having electronic clinical documents all but eradicates human error. Notes are easy to read and can be completed at the bedside on a computer, meaning we spend more time caring for our patients and less time checking handwriting. We also have access to the GP record, so there’s less repetition for the patient or reliance on them remembering their care history, meaning the care journey is more joined up.” 

The EPR is also providing benefits on a strategic scale by supporting the trust with data and evidence to deliver on the recommendations from their recent CQC inspection. 

Suzanne said: “We now have access to a rich data set that is informing best practice across the wards, and gives us evidence to prove we’re delivering on the CQC’s expectations. All that information is in a single tab in Sunrise and can be transferred into the Shared Care Record for Kent and Medway. The position we’re in to use this data in an ICS setting is very promising.” 

The trust was able to deploy at speed, without disrupting workflows. “The project was clinically driven from start to finish”, said Suzanne. “It was so encouraging to see so many clinicians and operational colleagues engaged with the training process leading up to go live. We took a modular approach, so staff only completed training that was necessary for their specific workflows. This streamlined the process and played a huge part in sticking to our timeline for roll out, as did having such a supportive partner in the Allscripts team throughout the project.”

With EPR being a central component to Medway’s digital and operational strategies, next it plans to expand the functionality of Sunrise to include ePMA in 2022. The trust is also working with other neighbouring acute trusts to develop the region’s shared care record.   

Paula Ridd, General Manager UK and Ireland, Allscripts, said: “Seeing what Medway has achieved in such a short space of time is nothing short of remarkable. The resilience, determination and innovative nature of the team has enabled them to achieve a rapid deployment in less than five months. With other acute trusts in Kent now live with Allscripts’ Sunrise EPR, there’s increased possibility for truly joined up care at an ICS level.”