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UK Hospital Earns Most Wired for Use of Epic EHR Technology

One English health system has earned top honors from AHA for the use of its Epic EHR technology.

Epic EHR technology in the UK

Source: Thinkstock

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

- Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) and its eHospital platform designed by Epic Systems has earned the two-hospital system the designation of Most Wired from the American Hospital Association, the hospital trust recently announced.

CUH became the first health organization outside the United States to receive such an honor. The award comes a short time after the hospitals trust received national recognition for patient safety in its health IT use.

“A key part of the eHospital programme is the Epic electronic patient record system which is used concurrently by 3,200 clinical staff, at peak times,” said Chief Medical Information Officer and Renal Consultant Dr. Afzal Chaudhry.

“Epic brings together all clinical and administrative information about each of our patients, in one electronic system, recorded in real-time on mobile and handheld devices,” he continued. “So when a patient arrives for an appointment, as an emergency, or is admitted, the team caring for that patient can see their medical record in its entirety, wherever and whenever they need to.”

Part of the National Health Service, CUH comprises two hospitals — Addenbrooke’s Hospital and The Rosie Hospital — with a thousand beds and nearly 575,000 outpatient visits annually. The hospitals trust credits Epic EHR use for reducing the time needed for discharge medications by half, cutting 4,500 orthopedic appointments by make imaging results available electronically, and saving £1 million annual by avoiding adverse drug reactions.

According to AHA judges, CUH is “a beacon to the rest that shows what can and should be achieved by using digital technology.” Officials from a government advisory group likewise noted that “CUH’s digital maturity was the highest of any of the trusts visited.”

Earlier this year, CUH was named the recipient of the 2017 Data Quality Award, a national recognition of the role of clinical coding and data quality in improving patient care and ensuring patient safety.

“The quality of the data that we produce from our Epic system is only as good as the information our staff record in it,” said Medical Director Dr. Jag Ahluwalia in May. Winning this award really demonstrates the effective use and adoption of world-class technology at CUH in aiding the delivery of high quality patient care and the production of high quality data as a result. I would like to thank all of our staff and partners, in particular Epic, who have and continue to help CUH on this journey of improvement.”

The CUH Epic EHR is in its third year of operation having completed the Epic implementation in 2014. In an April editorial in The Guardian, Chaudhry described the undertaking of the organization’s Epic go-live:

In 2013 we began a 10-year eHospital digital programme, to create a fully integrated electronic patient record (EPR) system, and set in motion a modernisation of our networking and computing infrastructure. More than 100 colleagues from various clinical areas were seconded to the eHospital team, so our EPR was built by our staff, for our staff.

In October 2014 our EPR went live across both hospitals in our trust: Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie. It spans all clinical areas – both inpatient and outpatient – including A&E, critical care, clinics, wards, surgery, pharmacy, laboratory and radiology services.

It was a big undertaking. More than 175,000 hours of training were delivered to about 12,000 staff in nine weeks as we prepared to make the system live. Around 5,500 old computers were replaced with 6,750 new ones, and we connected another 500 laptops, 395 workstations on wheels and 420 handheld devices, such as iPods with barcode wristband scanners. We also installed 1,350 wifi access points across all clinical areas.

Ahead for CUH is the roll-out of Epic’s patient portal, MyChart, as well as the EHR company’s interoperability and health data exchange platforms, Care Everywhere and EpicCare Link.



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