An EPR Needs Demographic and Patient Content to Be Really Useful: EMC

We are pleased to say we have the opportunity to hear from our long-term technology partner EMC, whose EMC Documentum Healthcare platform is core to what we do. So please welcome Jean Van Vuuren from EMC’s Information Intelligence Group, who wants to talk on the value of two very promising and important technologies relevant to the NHS; VNA, for Vendor Neutral Architecture, but also XDS, Cross Document Sharing.

EMC, via the Documentum Healthcare platform, has been providing solutions in healthcare for the last 8 years, specifically around solutions for the NHS. We are trying to help Trusts address some key areas: the first is a platform for an Integrated Digital Care Record (IDCR) and second is a platform for a vendor neutral archive for managing radiology archiving.

The key thing: while on the surface these are two distinct areas, actually it’s the same platform providing the solution for both these areas, that’s to say the Documentum Healthcare Platform. In essence, we are seeing the pathway where you can use these apparently separate approaches to get to a single patient record – with all the vital information needed stored in one place. In fact, in a recent independent study, three customers using Documentum in this way were said to be the furthest down the journey toward true IDCR status. These are the University Hospital Birmingham, also known as UHB, Heart of England, as well as the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospital (See: ‘And Now A Major English Trust Is Trying A Great New Way Of Delivering EPRS’; SynApps is our key partner for delivering those solutions at Royal Liverpool.)

So, why use one piece of software to do multiple jobs here? The main reason why one platform is a real benefit here is that you’re not looking after multiple IT systems; you are getting away from that whole approach the NHS is rather infamous for, where you have got lots of silos of information and it becomes very hard to join information up.

And from a cost perspective, it is easier to administer a single platform. But the real benefit here is that front line clinicians and their patients really want to move towards the concept of a single patient record – and that should include both electronic patient record information but also their radiology imaging as well, because it may well get to the point where a clinician wants to see the full patient history from one environment, rather than having a lot of silos.

If you look at the traditional EPR approach, by contrast: it is far more focused on the data element of the patient journey – demographic information, results and so on. What it never caters for is the historical detail that makes up the patient information, which tends to be contained on the physical paper medical record, as well as a lot of the notes that get generated around the patient. To make a full patient record, a useful one for clinicians and patients, it’s not just about the information you get out of your systems, it’s also about the clinical data that this is generated from.

That is where the strength of a document management approach to IDCR kicks in. The full electronic patient record needs both the important demographic information plus all this content, in one place. What we want to do – working with trusted partners like SynApps – is ‘content-enable’ clinical applications to get to that important place.