Gloucestershire hospitals to go out to tender for Electronic Patient Records

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has embarked on a tendering process for the introduction of an electronic patient record (EPR), which will underpin improvements in care for years to come.

A procurement notice will appear today (Tuesday) in the Official Journal of the European Union, inviting potential suppliers to come forward.

The notice has been placed by a consortium of three hospital trusts, which came together last year to replace their computerised systems for tracking patients and their treatment:

  • Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

 

All three currently have ageing systems that need replacement as the NHS heads towards a 'paper-light' future.

The project, known as SmartCare, will lead to the installation of an EPR at all three trusts, based on a detailed specification that has been developed jointly since last summer.

SmartCare will provide the three trusts with modern information systems for their teams of doctors, nurses, therapists and support staff. At its core will be an EPR that:

  • Is kept constantly up to date and available to key staff involved in each patient's care
  • Improves patient safety by, for example, highlighting special needs, allergies and past medication doses
  • Supports clinicians in taking decisions on treatment, with prompts to take action or to carry out tests
  • Speeds up the ordering and turnaround of tests, such as blood and tissue analysis
  • Puts an end to the difficulties posed by missing notes
  • Reduces medication errors
  • Means patients shouldn't need to repeat the same information to different staff
  • Reduces or eliminates the use of paper

 

Consultant Anaesthetist Mike Richards said: “This is a watershed moment for us. A comprehensive electronic patient record will be fundamental to the quality and safety of our services for many years to come, helping us to ensure that we provide the right treatment at the right time.

“Diagnosis will be quicker, patients should be able to get home earlier, and the days when missing notes cause delays should be gone forever.

“The key is that we'll be able to do things differently and more efficiently, to the benefit of the many patients who come through our doors every year.”

The three trusts aim to choose a preferred supplier in the New Year, following extensive testing by groups of key staff, from ward clerks to consultants.

Central funding from the Department of Health to support the project has been authorised by HM Treasury, in recognition of the robust business case put forward by the three trusts.