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Wirral hospitals’ big step towards being a digital hospital

20 January 2015

 Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has recently taken a huge step towards becoming the first acute Hospital in the UK to be truly digital as they implemented Cerner’s Millennium ePrescribing and clinical documentation functionalities. The most recent ‘go live’ event in the Trust’s Millennium implementation programme took place on 15 November and saw ePrescribing, medicines administration, pharmacy workflow, nursing and AHP assessments and documentation in use across the whole organisation as a ‘big bang’.

Since that date, an average of 13,500 medicines orders has been placed and between 1000 and 1500 assessments are completed on the system every week day.

The Trust has been consistently committed to driving the paper out of healthcare with a modern digital information infrastructure that optimises process efficiency and maximises safety and quality, since 2010.  

The Millennium electronic health record system now extends throughout the organisation and is used via a variety of fixed and mobile devices including 450 iPads which have recently been distributed to frontline staff. With this foundation in place, Wirral has also been able to bring innovation to its approach to laboratory specimen management as well as implementing algorithms and alerts in order to make patients’ care more efficient and safer. With this latest deployment the Trust objective is to turn the organisation into a truly digital hospital where the use of technology is about delivering the best possible care for the patients.

Benefits started to be identified very shortly after the November go-live. The clinicians are saving time using ePrescribing and the nurses are also reducing the documentation time when completing assessment forms. This allows them to dedicate more time to the delivery of care and to improving the patient experience when visiting Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge Hospitals. The new functionalities are also increasing compliance of completing the correct information and forms.

Matrons Julie Reid, Claire Price and Sarah Pickstock agreed: “Although it is early days, it is already clear that our compliance with completing assessments and administering medicines has increased significantly almost immediately after go live. We are really excited about the opportunities to improve patient care and release time that nurses spend on administrative tasks to spend more time with their patients.”

“Since the implementation of Millennium, during our Matron ward rounds we have had much better visibility of which patients have and haven’t had their assessments done or their medication given. The staff on the wards is taking great pride in ensuring that they are completing all of their tasks now that they have an easy up front way of tracking them.”

Pippa Roberts Director of Pharmacy and Medicines Management said: “Reducing the numbers of missed medicines is a safety priority for both the Trust and at a national level.  Our legacy system could not easily identify missed medicines for clinicians and the improved functionality we now have in Millennium indicates missed doses in bright red boxes on the patient’s record so they are clearly visible for all to see. It is important that the clinical review of the patient on every ward round includes a review of missed doses to further drive reductions in missed doses. This will in turn improve outcomes and reduce length of stay. We need to think right patient, right medicine, right time, every time. Millennium will support us to achieve this.”

The effort and time dedicated by the clinical and informatics teams have been the key to the success of this deployment. Sheila Stewart, Associate Director of Informatics said, “The fact that the go live went as well as it did was due to some fantastic team work from everyone involved right the way through the project, from designing, building and testing the system through to planning the logistics of the go live weekend. Moving from our legacy ePrescribing system to Millennium on one day was a massive challenge but it went as planned with over 18,000 medicines orders entered manually over a period of 10 hours. The success was also due in no small part to the positive attitude of colleagues on the wards who had to start using the new system during one of the busiest weekends of the year.”

The next steps toward the paperless agenda for the trust will be the implementation of Clairvia, Cerner’s staff management solution, the roll out of connected vitals and ECG monitoring to the wards, the introduction of bar coded blood administration and the implementation of a Patient Portal. The organisation will also be introducing PowerChart Touch to optimize the use of mobile devices on the wards.

Gerry O’Sullivan, Chief Medical Information Officer, said: "Wirral's long standing strategic partnership with Cerner is now paying dividends for all Wirral patients. Cerner  is clearly committed to continuously developing a completely integrated digital healthcare solution across both Community and Secondary care. Yet at the same time the solution is locally configurable according to local needs and that is exactly the flexibility that Wirral and indeed all other NHS Healthcare providers require. Healthcare on the Wirral has never been more exciting."

Chief Executive David Allison added: “I’m delighted that the implementation of this latest phase has gone so smoothly and that the benefits are already being experienced by both patients and staff.  Whilst with a system that offers so much in the way of functionality it’s natural to focus on the technology, ultimately the introduction of Millennium has been about investing in delivering the best possible care to patients.  The Trust has been on a long journey to reach this juncture and we’ve now past the tipping point and the vast majority of the clinical care we deliver is enabled by Millennium functionality. The information that the system collects will enable us to review the quality of care we provide in real time and take action if it detects, for example, that a patient is deteriorating, or at risk of Sepsis or of a UTI.

This has been the culmination of many months of hard work by a large number of colleagues in a wide range of roles across the Trust.  I have been consistently impressed by the way they have embraced this new technology and the challenges it has brought and also by the commitment they have shown in developing a healthcare system we can all be proud of.”

Mark Blakeman Director of Infrastructure and Informatics concluded: “Wirral Hospital is not only removing paper from healthcare processes but also creating a truly digital health organisation. Our ePMA and clinical documentation implementation is a big step in that direction. What we are striving to do with Cerner is to redesign workflows and introduce an intelligent system to help our staff and provide all our patients with the best care possible. We all share the belief that you don’t get anything good for nothing. It is a real testament to our common willingness to work hard together to transform healthcare.”

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About Cerner

Cerner’s health information technologies connect people, information, and systems, at approximately 14,000 facilities worldwide. Recognised for innovation, Cerner solutions assist NHS trusts and clinicians in making and documenting care decisions and enable organisations to manage the health of populations. The company provides clients with a wide range of in-house services, as well as an integrated clinical system to help organisations manage quality, outcomes and revenue.

Cerner’s mission is to contribute to the systemic improvement of health care delivery and the health of communities. Nasdaq: CERN. For more information about Cerner, please visit www.cerner.co.uk , check out our blog at www.cerner.com/blog and connect with us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/CernerLimitedUK  and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cerner  

Certain trademarks, service marks and logos set forth herein are property of Cerner Corporation and/or its subsidiaries. All other non-Cerner marks are the property of their respective owners.

For more information please contact:  Claire Delplancq (+44) 0203 043 0773, claire.delplancq@cerner.com  

About Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the largest and busiest acute trusts in the North West of England.

We provide acute healthcare services to around 400,000 people across the Wirral peninsula.

The Trust is one of the largest employers on the Wirral with a workforce of over 5,500 staff.

The Trust operates from two main sites (Arrowe Park Hospital and Clatterbridge Hospital), while also providing a range of services in community settings.

In the financial year 2013 – 2014, the Trust had:

  • 339,331 diagnostic examinations performed
  • 107,606 new outpatient attendances
  • 93,046 A&E attendances
  • 41,515 elective day case admissions (excluding nephrology)
  • 3,312 births

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