Electronic Patient Record Systems – Are we making progress?

It seems that Electronic Patient Record’s systems for NHS Trusts are about to raise their heads again as news has surfaced that the Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust & the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust are looking to invest millions of pounds in a new electronic patient record system (EPR).

In a joint procurement for a system that will be shared, the two Trusts have issued a tender for an EPR record system which could be worth up to £35 million for the suppliers, see more details here. The plan will be to initially run the system for 10 years with an option to extend it for another five years.

What strikes us as odd is that the Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust is already one of nine Cerner Millennium EPR live sites in the South of England, so why would they need to procure a replacement when the Millennium system has only been in place since 2007 as part of the then NPfIT, later re-badged as NHS Connecting for Health multi-billion IT upgrade project.

A report last July based on information obtained under Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation indicated that the Cerner EPR system had not delivered all the benefits that was expected of it and that work was still on-going to…

“…eliminate “dis-benefits”, but a number of these cannot be addressed “due to them being either fundamental to the way that Millennium is configured or due to contractual /specification issues not within the current remit of the trust to easily influence.”

Will the procurement of a new EPR system look to replace the single Cerner Millennium system with another that can be shared between the two Trusts or will a completely new EPR system be purchase to be shared between the two Trusts? Whichever option is chosen, it looks like the British Taxpayer will be footing a large bill again, so soon after the initial Cerner Millennium implementation.

We’ll keep an eye on this one and report any updates as and when we find them.

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