A Major English Trust Is Trying A Great New Way Of Delivering EPRs

We’ve talked in these blogs before about the potential application of your familiar PACS systems to the problem of building the practical, easy to use EPR (electronic patient records) we need to get to create a true ‘paperless NHS’.

Well, I am delighted to tell you that one Trust has embarked on such a project.

Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust has worked with SynApps Solutions to build a new Electronic Patient Record strategy based on an open standards-based vendor-neutral archive.

The Trust, one of the largest and busiest in the North of England, with an annual budget of over £400m, aims to be ‘paper light’ in the way it captures and manages patient records and other content before it moves into its new premises in four years time – the £425m, state of the art Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

The plan is to store digital medical images and other electronic patient notes so that these can be accessed from anywhere – and allow them to be shared remotely, in a fraction of the time taken previously.

More than 80 million of the Royal’s medical images have been migrated across to the new VNA to date, where they are stored as intelligent DICOM digital files. Once in the VNA, clinicians will be able to call up images from any location, on any device, and far more quickly than before.

This means medical staff will have more time to answer patient questions, explain a diagnosis and treatment plans – improving the quality of care and empowering them to see more patients.

The Trust will also share the facility with other Trusts and healthcare providers, which is an exciting development: as the Trust’s Chief Information Office, James Norman, says, “We needed a future-proof solution that uses standards-based formats so that the content can be accessed by new systems as they come along, as well as those used by partner organisations. We are one of the larger Trusts in the country and not everyone is at the same point in their journey towards implementing a VNA; we have the ability to scale the system right out and help other Trusts looking for a VNA solution as a service for their medical content.”

This is a tremendous early proof of concept for the VNA solution. Though it is early days, many eyes in the NHS – even beyond – will be on Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust as it pursues its vision.