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UCLH appoints Epic to help realise care record interoperability aims

Neil Merrett Published 17 March 2017

Epic chosen as one of several key technology partners such as Atos that the trust hopes will help it realise ambitions for closer work with other hospitals under regional STP ambitions


University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust has announced it will be implementing a single integrated electronic clinical records system provided by Epic as part of ambitions for more interoperable working with health organisations.

The hospital body says it intends to go live with the electronic health records system early in 2019 following a clinically-led training and implementation plan that aims to link up with new developments and operations it will be introducing.  These developments will include the Eastman Dental Hospital and the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital.

The announcement comes after the trust earlier this year officially appointed Atos as a digital transformation partner under a ten year contract with a value of £130m.  The ‘core’ services that are the focus of the agreement include end-user technology, service desk and application management functions, as well as private cloud services.

UCLH has also selected supplier TeleTracking Technologies to serve as its patient flow partner as part of the organisation’s wider digital strategy.

While the appointment of Epic is still awaiting board approval around details such as external funding, the contract is viewed as the last key appointment to be made with regard to the organisation’s digital transformation aims.

UCLH chief executive Marcel Levi said that the Epic contract will allow the organisation to introduce and operate a single patient portal function as well as supporting expanded clinical work and research. Intended benefits from the new records system are expected to include improvements to patient safety and the trust’s ability to collaborate with stakeholders such as GP surgeries and other hospitals.

To support these ambitions, UCLH said it would aim to better link up with other patient information systems as a means to meet obligations to outline a regional Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).  NHS England is requiring 44 STPs from around the country to detail area-specific objectives for integrating health and social care, supported by technology, up to 2020.

“EHRS is a major step forward in UCLH becoming fully interoperable with our NHS partners, supporting data sharing for the North Central London Sustainability and Transformation Plan (NCL STP) and more widely,” said Levi.  “EHRS will also equip UCLH with the capability to support new models of care, delivering the aims of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, and meeting the national target for becoming a paperless hospital by 2020. “

The trust has said it intends to work with other organisations that are making use of, or intend to implement Epic, notably Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH).  UCLH said it was also considering a potential digital collaboration with the Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Foundation Trust with regard to a cancer vanguard project.

GOSH chief executive Dr Peter Steer claimed that the trust would be working closely with UCLH around developing paediatric content that is intended to improve clinical care through the electronic patient record system.

“By sharing our specialist paediatric content using Epic, we hope to enhance the care of children and young people across the patient pathway,” Steer said. 

Related articles:

STP plans under spotlight as parliament raises care sustainability fears

UCLH partners with Atos for 10 year digital transformation push

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