11 March 2020

The Trust that runs Shropshire’s two acute hospitals has secured £6 million to launch an electronic patient record system which will improve the way care is delivered to patients.

The new system, which is being funded as part of the Government’s Digital Aspirant Programme, will enable The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) to replace outdated paper systems and improve patient safety.

The funding given to SaTH, which runs the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH), is part of the Government’s pledge to invest in technology and give Trusts the digital capabilities needed to deliver safer, higher-quality and more efficient care.

Rebecca Gallimore, Director of Digital Transformation at SaTH, said: “We are delighted to secure the funding needed to implement a new electronic patient record system that will improve the digital maturity of our organisation.

“The electronic patient record system will bring a number of benefits, including improving the patient experience, for example by reducing the need for patients to give the same information to different members of staff and reducing delays in accessing paper medical records.

“The upgrade will enable to us to work more efficiently and accurately. Patient data will be captured and tracked more comprehensively, any issues will be automatically flagged and time filling in forms will be saved.”

The electronic patient record system will include:

  • A replacement of the Trust’s current Patient Administration System (PAS), which manages patients’ appointments and activities.
  • A new electronic system within theatres at PRH and RSH to track, monitor, schedule and record patient activity. This has numerous efficiency and safety advantages over the current paper system.
  • A new electronic ordering and requesting system for diagnostic, radiology and pathology orders and results. This will speed up the process and remove duplication.
  • An electronic observation tool that will improve clinical safety by using an algorithm to calculate early warning risk scores for patients to highlight those at greatest risk so they can be treated in a timely manner. While some systems are in place already at SaTH, this functionality is being rolled out more widely and with improved safety benefits.

SaTH is already adopting a new digital solution within its Emergency Departments, which is expected to launch this summer.

James Drury, the Executive at SaTH responsible for the project, added: “The new electronic patient record system will integrate seamlessly with our new A&E system. Our current way of working is outdated and is not sustainable due to the increasing demand we are seeing.

“There is still some way to go before implementation happens. Staff will need to be trained and systems tested – but when the time comes to flick the on switch, the benefits to our organisation will be considerable as it will allow clinicians to share information in real time and work across different systems both internally and with partner organisations, significantly improving accessibility to, and the accuracy of, information

“The Digital Aspirant funding brings much needed investment and opportunities for the organisation. It will enable the organisation to bring its systems up-to-date and to continue to deliver digital improvements in line with the Long Term Plan with our system partners. The organisation is looking to introduce remote consultations, improve self-management of care for patients and put the patients at the heart of decisions about their care.”

24 trusts have been named as the pilot sites for the new digital aspirant programme, run by NHSX. These Trusts will benefit from £28m of funding this year to assist with digital transformation projects so they can provide safe, high quality and efficient care. This will be the first tranche of funding for them, over three years of support under the programme.

The programme aims to accelerate procurement, deployment and most importantly, uptake of the technology that is needed to underpin digital transformation. It will aim to raise the bar across the NHS by making sure organisations have a core set of digital capabilities in place.