A new electronic health record system will cover three linked London trusts in a deal worth £210m as they look to catch up with peers on tech maturity.
It was previously announced that Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust has chosen the US -based firms Epic as its electronic patient record provider following a tender covering 10 years.This is despite Epic this despite it not being included on the National NHSX Framework.
There are firm plans to extend it to KCHFT and to the Royal Brompton and Harefield FT, which GSTTFT is due to merge and co-locate with. GSTTFT and RBHFT hope to go live with the new system in April 2023 before KCHFT follows that October.
Ms Bryant said the trusts see the new system as the “underpinning platform from which everything else will grow”, adding: “The main reason we’ve gone out for an integrated electronic health record is because in southeast London, across all the trusts and southeast London as an integrated care system, we’ve got a massive vision, which is to be the global leader in patient care and in innovation.
“Our ambitions for innovation can’t be done on old tech and systems that just don’t talk to each other. It’s… the building block towards that ambition.”
The “vast majority” of the hospitals’ systems will be met by Epic, she said, and they are going for an “Epic-first” approach which means they are “really evaluating what happens at the moment”.
The trusts involved will look to recruit to 195 new posts for the implementation of the project and, while most positions will be filled internally, a smaller proportion will be external.
KCHFT has also put forward funds for a team to be involved in the design of the project, from June 2021 until the following year, but will require additional cash for the system to be fully taken on. A decision will need to be made in just over a year’s time before joint designing of the system begins.
Ms Bryant, who was previously NHS Digital’s director of digital transformation, confirmed a source for the funding was “important” but she was confident the trust could make the case for it.
Asked what impact covid could have on obtaining it, she added: “Obviously, it’s a tricky time for the economy, but there’s a strong interest in the NHS long-term plan, secretary of state’s [Matt Hancock] priorities, the work that NHSX are doing… NHS trusts need this underpinning digital maturity.
“Other trusts have done it and we have a very big reputation, a very strong reputation at trusts, in many, many aspects, but, on digital maturity, we’re behind.
“I do think there is an acceptance — I know there is an acceptance — that this is a priority for trusts and, on that basis, I’m confident we will get the money.”