New electronic patient record system

Monday, 9 January 2012

Update: March 2 2012

In the last few weeks, our teams have been working hard to re-build the new electronic records system to rectify the problems that we encountered with its initial implementation in our outpatient clinics.

We have now achieved this in 100% of outpatient clinics and the system has been re-launched in these departments.

In the coming weeks, there will be a further bedding-in period with our IT teams dealing with issues relating to specific clinics and staff getting used to the new system and new ways of working.

We will be providing full support to our staff to enable them to get the most out of the new system so that patients can soon see the real benefits electronic records will bring.

For some weeks now the new system has been fully operational across all other departments and areas in the Trust, and continues to do so.  

Once again, we apologise to our patients and would like to thank the public for their patience and our staff for their hard work and dedication in ensuring that patient safety is not compromised.

Update: February 3 2012

Our teams of IT engineers and developers have been working hard to re-launch the system used in outpatient clinics.

As of February 3 we have achieved around 90% of our outpatient clinics using and processing appointments via our new electronic patient record system.

Our aim is for 100% of clinics to be processing appointments via the new system by the middle of February.

Our outpatient clinics will then be in a position to effectively use the new electronic records system and we anticipate a further transition period for those clinics.

Our staff are working hard and for those clinics still affected they are using alternative booking systems to minimise the disruption to patients.

Once again, we apologise to our patients and would like to thank the public for their patience and our staff for their hard work and dedication in ensuring that patient safety is not compromised.

These issues have caused disruption and frustration for our patients and our staff and we recognise that this has not delivered the level of service that we expect, and the public expect, from us.

Update: January 24 2012

North Bristol NHS Trust has been implementing a new electronic patient record system and patient administration system (Cerner Millennium) at Frenchay Hospital and Southmead Hospital. The new system went live on December 9 2011 and replaced our previous two, old patient administration systems. This transition was expected to take place over eight weeks.  

This implementation is large and complex, and has involved over 6,500 staff being retrained.

Where are we now?

The Emergency Department and our two Minor Injuries Units (Southmead and Yate) are now using the new computer system effectively.

Overall our 65 wards and maternity department are all using the new system successfully. 

All Theatres are using Cerner. Some theatres had experienced problems relating to the transfer of data from the old system to the new, causing delays with rescheduling some operations. These problems have been rectified.

We always have robust systems and checks in place to maintain patient safety and these systems were maintained during this period. Our priority is always clinical safety and there is no indication that this has in any way been compromised.

Outpatient clinics

The area where we have experienced significant problems is in outpatient clinics.

These problems have been caused by the incorrect set up of clinic lists, which meant staff could not access the system and errors in the data migration of existing appointments. As a result, some patients may have received the wrong appointment dates, no confirmation of appointment or letters being sent out in error.   

Again, processes are in place to minimise further disruption to out-patient appointments and ensure patient safety.

How are we putting it right?

Where required, we have engineers and technicians either re-building the clinics’ system or on the floor in clinics correcting problems as they happen, providing solutions and resolving issues.

Currently (as of January 24) 60% of outpatient activity is now being successfully processed via Cerner and our intention is that 90% of areas will be using Cerner by the end of January. Our aim is that by early February all outpatient clinics will be using Cerner.

All other outpatient appointments are being managed via other systems and paper processes.

Minimising disruption to out-patient appointments

We have been working hard to contact  and reassure any patients who have been referred to us for out-patient appointments. We are contacting patients by phone or letter to advise them of their current appointment slot.

We have ensured that any urgent referrals including cancer two week waits have been prioritised to ensure they are unaffected.

During the process of correcting the issues with outpatient clinics and to support GPs and their patients we have written to them to advise them that all patients who have been referred to us either through Choose & Book, fax or Fast Track are within our appointments system.

We have advised GPs of a dedicated telephone number, fax number and email address for GPs or their patients to contact for further advice. To provide further reassurance to patients and GPs we will keep the helpline service running until the end of February.

An apology

We apologise and would like to thank the public for their patience and our staff for their hard work and dedication in ensuring that patient safety is not compromised.

These issues have caused disruption and frustration for our patients and our staff and we recognise that this has not delivered the level of service that we expect, and the public expect, from us.

It has also placed extra workload on our staff, who nevertheless, remain dedicated to ensuring the best possible patient care during this period, and managing the issues that the Trust faces.

Our Information Management & Technology Team, supported by our suppliers BT and Cerner, have been working very hard to sort out these initial issues and we are already seeing improvements.

We remain confident that once the new system is fully implemented, it will significantly improve services for our patients and better equip us to meet future challenges. 

Update: January 15 2012

Here at North Bristol NHS Trust we have been implementing a new electronic patient record system to replace an outdated, less efficient system.

A key part of delivering high quality patient care is the use of a modern electronic patient record for our patients and staff to use.

The key benefits of this new system are:

  • As the system evolves over the next year, Patient records will now be securely stored electronically on a single system, replacing paper records.
  • Authorised clinicians can quickly find and share information on patients and their medical history and will need to rely less on paper filing records.
  • Clinicians will also be able to access records at the patient’s bedside and can input information and statistics immediately.
  • Patients will no longer have to repeat their details to different clinicians as they will be accessible in one place. 
  • Tests and outpatient appointments can be set up immediately with the patient.

Most wards, minor injuries units at Southmead Hospital and at Yate as well as the Emergency Department at Frenchay are using the new system.  

However, we have experienced some unexpected problems in the last few weeks with outpatient appointments.

We apologise to those patients who have been affected during this transition period . There may be some ongoing disruption  over the next few weeks  but I would like to assure you that this is being  addressed  with the  utmost  urgency.

Our Information Management & Technology Team, supported by our suppliers BT and Cerner, have been working very hard to sort out any initial issues as quickly as possible and we are already seeing improvements.

Please bear with us if you are visiting us during the introduction of this new system.

During this time the Trust will take a more relaxed view on expired parking tickets, to allow for any delay that might occur during outpatient clinics.

Our staff have shown commitment, hard work and dedication to continue to deliver patient care, ensuring that patient safety is not compromised.

We firmly believe that the new system, once fully implemented, will improve services for our patients and provide real value.

Finally, I would like to reiterate my thanks to our patients, and their carers and relatives, for their patience during this time.

Ruth Brunt, Chief  Executive, North Bristol NHS Trust.