The NHS has met the government’s target for 90% of trusts adopting electronic patient records in hospitals ahead of schedule.
A total of 189 NHS trusts have now introduced new systems, with Hillingdon Hospitals and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS trusts becoming the latest to go live. The government set the target of December 2023 in the Plan for digital health and social care, published last year.
NHS England is investing £1.9 billion to support hospital trusts to either adopt a new or improve their existing systems to ensure every hospital in England can benefit from digital transformation. Last year NHS England spent over £400 million to support 150 NHS trusts, and a further £500 million will reach trusts this year.
Speaking at the NHS Providers National Conference and Exhibition in Liverpool, NHS England’s Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Thanks to the teams at Sheffield Health and Social Care and Hillingdon Hospitals, who completed their go-lives over the last couple of weeks, you have now delivered on the target for 90% of trusts to have this capability in place ahead of winter. Delivering that switch isn’t easy but it’s worth it because that’s the underpinning work that will enable us to benefit from new technologies.”
Electronic patient records (EPR) systems enable organisations to drastically change the way they operate and are the foundation for the use of more advanced technology systems for patient care. They boost productivity and experience for staff as well as improving the flow of information between services, making it easier to provide care. The most digitised trusts have also been shown to operate with approximately 10% improved efficiency compared with less digitally mature providers.
EPR systems in hospitals combine patient notes, laboratory results, observations and digital prescribing. Alert features can also help clinicians quickly identify those at risk from conditions such as sepsis.
The government's 2023 mandate for NHS England sets a target for 90% of NHS trusts to have an EPR system in place by December 2023 and 95% by March 2025. The remaining hospitals are expected to go live the following year.