The Healthcare Commission has praised Somerset Partnership NHS & Social Care Trust for its implementation of an electronic patient record, calling it "pioneering" but noting that some staff are having problems accessing information on the service.

In its annual clinical governance review or ‘health check’ of the trust, the Healthcare Commission said that the trust’s implementation of the RiO EPR system, manufactured by CSE Servelec, was one of the first in the country to implement the system. The trust was given a high rating of three out of four stars by the Healthcare Commission for its use of IT.

"The EPR has been in use for a year, and all staff use electronic records rather than patient records," notes the report. "The trust is commended for its innovative use of an EPR to coordinate care based on service users’ needs, monitor standards of effective care and provide information on local performance."

"The trust needs to continue to develop clinical information on the EPR in relation to prescribing and medicines management, therapy and outcomes," recommends the report.

Confidentiality of information was an additional issue for staff using the EPR system, as the report noted: "The EPR has heightened staff awareness about confidentiality issues."

The main concern of the Healthcare Commission was staff access to information on the system. "The EPR system uses new technology and there are problems with its implementation and use, for example, staff sometimes cannot access clinical information, and methods to validate information need strengthening."

"Urgent action needs to be taken to promote the benefits of the EPR, and address associated confidentiality issues and manage staff morale… the trust must ensure that the resources available to support IM&T are systematically targeted to address staff concerns about the EPR implementation."

The report notes that the management of the trust have strong belief in the worth of the EPR, which is called "exemplary" by the report: "The trust is committed to the EPR and is addressing these issues to reduce potential risks to service users and the impact on staff morale."

A spokesperson for CSE Servelec told E-Health Insider: "CSE Servelec is delighted with the Healthcare Commission’s praise for the RiO system at Somerset Partnership and we congratulate the Trust on their significant achievement.

"The Trust is in the process of upgrading its technical infrastructure to support the intensive user demand for access to the EPR. CSE Servelec continues to work closely with the Trust to deliver further benefits including the implementation of Choose & Book with NHS Connecting for Health."


Healthcare Commission Report
Somerset Partnership NHS & Social Care Trust