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Hospitals’ high-tech clinical information link is UK first

19 April 2018
A technical breakthrough which links the electronic patient record (EPR) systems at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) and West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has gone live in a UK first of its kind.

At the push of a button, clinicians are now able to easily and securely access clinical information on a patient that is held within the other trust’s EPR system – Epic at CUH (Addenbrooke’s and The Rosie hospitals) and Cerner Millennium at West Suffolk Hospital – to enhance patient care. This is the first link in the UK between hospitals’ electronic health record systems, provided by two different suppliers.

Currently available in the accident and emergency department of Addenbrooke’s Hospital and at West Suffolk Hospital, clinicians can access information in this real-time digital way if a patient has been treated at the opposite hospital within a 12-month period, a common occurrence given the hospitals’ proximity.

From within each hospitals’ EPR systems clinicians can see a patient’s past and present clinical information - from conditions and treatments to latest test results held at the opposite hospital - saving time and reducing delays to care and duplication.

Cambridge University Hospitals and West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust have both been recognised as Global Digital Exemplars by NHS England and this innovation demonstrates the commitment of both organisations to deliver the benefits of digitisation to improve patient care.

Dr Afzal Chaudhry, Renal Consultant and Chief Clinical Information Officer at Cambridge University Hospitals, said: “This UK first in connecting two hospital EPR systems is an exciting development for both trusts and will bring huge benefits to the many patients who attend both hospitals. Having access to key clinical information held within the systems in real-time will help clinicians to provide safer, more effective and quicker care which can improve patient outcomes. 

“This is another key milestone in our digital development as a Global Digital Exemplar trust, delivered through our eHospital programme, with many more developments in the pipeline as we further extend the capabilities of our Epic system and integrated digital technology.”

Mr Dermot O’Riordan, Consultant Surgeon and Chief Clinical Information Officer at West Suffolk Hospital, commented: “Many of our patients’ healthcare is shared between both of our hospitals, in areas such as cancer care, vascular surgery and emergency care. This innovation is a natural extension of our partnership, and is already making noticeable improvements and efficiencies to the care we provide our patients. 

“I am also very proud of our teams for creating this innovative and exciting link, and would like to thank them for their continued hard work.

“This national first shows the benefits that our e-Care program, using Cerner Millennium, has enabled. I look forward to delivering further enhancements to patient care as part of our Global Digital Exemplar program; the potential is huge.”