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Southampton NHS to get electronic patient records by end of 2016

As part of its electronic patient record strategy, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust aims to share information across three local NHS trusts

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust aims to go live with an electronic health record system by the end of 2016, which will allow the hospital to share information with two other local NHS trusts and help to save more than £1m a year.

The trust recently signed a contract to implement the OnBase by Hyland enterprise content management system as part of its electronic patient record strategy.

The system enables the trust to get rid of paper forms, and any paper-based documentation from other providers will be digitised as soon as it arrives. It also allows clinicians to share relevant information with Solent NHS Trust and Southern Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, using secure computers and tablets.

Southampton is also working on a programme to scan any paper records in the hospital, which will be completed by 2017 when the hospital’s health records library is due to close.

Adrian Byrne, director of management and technology at the trust, said the system will “enable our teaching hospitals to remain exemplar sites for world-class healthcare, research and innovation”.

“The move from paper medical records to electronic records also supports the government's vision of a paperless NHS by 2020 and provides a firm footing for the future of healthcare in Southampton,” he added.

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The trust’s deputy medical director, Derek Waller, said the system would “revolutionise healthcare delivery” and reduce the need for storage of paper records, saving the three trusts more than £1m a year.

The trust recently also began rolling out a new electronic observations system from iMDsoft, which will see it use iPod Touch devices to enter patients’ vital signs. The system will be integrated with its electronic patient record.

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Merely a patient and neither the programmer nor the IT guy behind it, I've had years of patient experience with EPR, from the massive Mayo Clinic to my local wannabe clinic.

After a few (very few) opening night jitters, the Mayo operated (almost) flawlessly, posting records within hours (and sometimes minutes) after tests and visits. Since the Mayo is a team-based system, my next appointment would (almost) always have the results from my earlier visit. Made for great medical care. No longer based in Rochester, I now suffer the vicissitudes of my local wannabe clinic where records are lost or weeks beyond useful.

As I've learned, painfully, there's much more to a successful EPR system than the existence of the structure. Setting it up is hard and complex. I'm eager to see how Southampton handles theirs....