University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust has started its trust-wide ‘big bang’ implementation of a new iSoft patient administration system, together with specialist clinical systems as part of its move towards an electronic patient record. 

Several of the trust’s legacy systems, many of which were bespoke, have now been replaced in PAS A&E, theatre, maternity, clinical coding, data warehousing and results reporting. Yet to be implemented is order communications and prescribing.

The project which has occurred outside the NHS National Programme for IT was originally signed between the trust and iSoft in 2003 and was originally due to have gone live in March, 2004.

The new systems will form part of the trust’s EPR system. Although outside the NPfIT contract, many of the systems being implemented at the trust are also due to be implemented at other sites in the North West and West Midlands cluster of the NPfIT by local NHS IT prime contracts Computer Services Corporation (CSC).

Jeff Harnet, EPR programme manager at the hospital, said: "What we have achieved is directly in line with the goals of the national programme to modernise information tools available to healthcare professionals. Making full use of information systems is crucial to improving access to, and the quality of, healthcare services for clinical staff and patients alike."

The original target date has been moved back a number of times during the project, from May 2004 to July then December 2005. A full EPR will be installed in the trust over subsequent phases, as well as PACS.

Harnett told E-Health Insider in May that while the systems implemented were not the long-awaited Lorenzo PAS, they were getting "a lot more functionality than just iCM and iPM", iSOFT’s existing PAS and clinical systems.

In May the trust and iSoft said in a joint statement that there had been a number of reasons for the delays: "Data migration on this scale and complexity is something that is outside the scope of many NPfIT projects. iSoft is transferring ten years’ worth of clinical data from multiple, disparate sources."