A multi-million pound programme which will improve safety and patient care at West Suffolk Hospital by giving staff rapid access to electronic clinical information has begun.
The electronic patient record (EPR) project will see a state-of-the art, standardised IT system introduced across the hospital to give staff instant access to real time digital records which will improve safety, prevent duplication and reduce costs.
Known as e-Care, it will bring all available information about each patient into one place, making it easy to access while removing the need for paper records.
The new system will also make it simpler for staff to double check information, which means they will no longer need to ask patients the same questions several times.
In addition, e-Care will help the hospital share information with GPs and other colleagues in the wider NHS more easily, in turn delivering more integrated, joined-up services for patients.
Dermot O’Riordan, consultant surgeon and interim chief executive, is leading the project for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
He said: “Investing in this important new system is the most significant decision the hospital has made in recent years.
“e-Care is about putting our patients – their outcomes and safety – first, and will ensure our clinical staff have the necessary technical support to continue providing the highest standards of care.
“Benefits for our patients will include a significant reduction in the number of times we ask them the same questions and an increase in the amount of time we can spend with them.
“Having the ability to prescribe medication electronically will help us to care for them in a safer, more effective way.
“The technology will also support the work of our clinicians by helping us identify any patient whose clinical condition is deteriorating so that we can take action early and prevent them becoming seriously unwell and staying in hospital for longer.
“This is a very exciting time for the Trust. We are all keen to get started and begin delivering the benefits of e-Care to our patients.”
A total of £17.2m will be invested in the project over the next 10 years, while the system is expected to deliver savings of £22.4m over the same period.
The project will be delivered by Cerner Corporation, which was awarded the contract following an extensive procurement process led by clinicians.