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by Oracle Cerner UK
Published on 22 October 2018

St James’s Hospital, Ireland’s largest acute hospital, has reached an important milestone in their digital journey over the weekend of Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th October. All inpatient encounters which were previously recorded on paper will now be recorded electronically on the hospital’s electronic patient record (EPR) system, Cerner Millennium.

Every inpatient speciality and department at St James’s Hospital have gone live over the weekend with enhanced Millennium functionality, a significant upgrade that involved training of 2,400 staff members over 21,000 hours.

Improved experience for patients and clinicians

The successful completion of this project – dubbed ‘Project Oak’ as a reference to the paper that will be saved by digitising records – marks the largest-scale digitisation of inpatient records in an Irish hospital to date and has turned St James’s into the most digitally advanced general acute hospital in Ireland.

The added functionality will give clinicians a comprehensive view of the patient journey across the hospital and support them to provide smarter, safer care to 22,000+ inpatients attending the hospital every year. With access to real-time patient, clinical and organisational detail, staff are now able to make more informed decisions, reduce documentation time and spend more time with their patients to get them well and back home sooner.

Further benefits include a more streamlined patient and clinician experience with reduced duplication and fewer manual processes, enhanced handovers and discharges, better coordinated patient pathways, and quicker access to key clinical information such as test results and diagnoses. This is all aimed at improving the patient experience and their outcomes.

Strong partnership working and collaboration between teams at the hospital and Cerner have been essential for the success of this implementation, ensuring a smooth transition for everyone involved -directly or indirectly- with the project, from clinical and admin staff at St James’s to patients attending the hospital before, during, and after go-live.

Matthew Pickett, Cerner Ireland general manager, expressed his satisfaction with the success of the implementation: “This achievement is the result of joint effort between Cerner and the team at St James’s Hospital. We have worked hard with our partners at St James’s to develop a patient-centred approach that aligns with Ireland’s eHealth strategy, and we are delighted at the engagement and enthusiasm we have seen in both patients and clinical staff so far.

Our commitment is to continue to support St James’s Hospital in their unceasing transformation initiatives as we have done for over 10 years, to take the hospital to the forefront of digital care and continue to leverage technology to deliver the best possible experience for their patients and improve well-being for Irish citizens.”

Leadership team at St James’s Hospital also shared their positive views on this milestone:

Lorcan Birthistle, CEO St James’s Hospital said: “St James’s, as the largest acute hospital in the country, has a leadership responsibility and it is a landmark development that we moved to digital inpatient records this weekend. The electronic patient record system will help us to care for patients more effectively, resulting in patients being diagnosed and treated more promptly. We have spent many years planning for the changeover to ensure a smooth transition with minimal disruption to patients. We are entering a new phase of healthcare in St James’s and in Ireland, and we are determined that our patients will benefit from these advances in technology.”

Dr. Gráinne Courtney, Chief Clinical Information Officer, St James’s Hospital said: “We are in the early stages of the launch, but careful planning has ensured that patient care has not been disrupted significantly over the weekend. The implementation of this system is set to bring a raft of benefits to patients attending the hospital as health records are available instantly to those caring for a patient. Increased efficiencies mean patients will wait less time for their diagnoses, treatments and care. Over the course of the coming months and years we anticipate this will translate into shorter wait times and hospital stays.”

Minister for Health Simon Harris praised St James’s Hospital for their move to electronic patient records and congratulated the staff and management for their efforts in reaching this goal. Minister Harris said: "St James’s Hospital has proven itself to be a leader in this area. The move to electronic health records supports better, safer clinical decision-making and facilitates the provision of a more connected health service delivering improved health outcomes. The roll out of at St James’s Hospital marks a very significant development and the staff and management should be proud of their achievement."

St James’s Hospital received significant funding and support from the HSE for the digitisation project. Commenting on the initiative, Professor Martin Curley, Chief Information Officer, HSE said: “The launch of the electronic patient record system at St. James’s Hospital is a milestone moment in the rollout of digitisation across the Irish healthcare sector. As the largest acute hospital in the country, St. James’s is a lighthouse example for other hospitals and healthcare providers who are planning for digitisation, demonstrating how innovation and change can be implemented on a wide scale. Moving on from paper records brings significant benefits to patient experience, and efficiencies for staff and hospital resources. Digitisation is a key component in the reform of health and social care services, and I sincerely welcome the changeover at St James’s Hospital.”

Notes for editors

About Cerner

At Cerner, we believe in building positive, long-term partnerships that drive value across the health and care landscape. Our intelligent platforms and services connect people, information and care at 27,500+ facilities of all sizes worldwide and help manage the health of 110 million citizens across the globe.

Together with clients and industry partners, we’re innovating for the future, integrating entire health and care systems to enable them to deliver smarter, value-based care, better outcomes, and proactively manage and improve the wellbeing of their populations.

In Ireland, we are working in partnership with the HSE to implement our Millennium® EHR platform at 19 maternity sites across the country as part of the Maternal & Newborn Clinical Management System (MN-CMS) project. This will help the HSE to provide every mother and child with world-class standards of health and care through a single electronic health record platform with accurate, accessible and secure data. Likewise, our laboratory solutions are contracted through the MedLIS programme to connect all 43 HSE-funded laboratories nationwide and link them to the clinical community with a single national electronic laboratory record. This will ensure greater access to patients’ laboratory history and data, a reduction in test duplication, and improved efficiency and outcomes for Irish citizens.