In the first of a series of features, E-Health Insider goes behind the scenes at Benenden Hospital, as the independent care provider prepares to go-live with an Oasis EPR system.

Benenden Hospital is an independent hospital in the countryside of Kent. Founded in 1907, it is one of the treatment centres offered to more than 900,000 members of its parent organisation, The Benenden Healthcare Society, NHS and other private patients.

The hospital employs 550 staff and provides a wide range of consultation, diagnosis and treatment services for a number of different specialties, some of which use different legacy IT systems at the moment.

The case for an electronic patient record

In 2006, the society decided to review its IT and information systems strategy. One of the objectives of the review was to ensure that patient information flowed from one, single source. Another was to reduce the number of legacy clinical systems at the hospital.

Benenden’s director of clinical services, Jane Abbott, says: "We wanted information to be fed from the referring centre at the society, so that it didn’t have to be repeated to clinical staff when patients arrived at the hospital and subsequent information wasn’t stored in many individual systems.

“We needed a better way of working together and an electronic patient record meant that we could store all information in one place."

Involving hospital staff

Discussions with clinical and non clinical leads suggested that an integrated clinical IT system, which would interface with existing corporate systems and replace legacy systems with new modules while storing information in one place, was needed.

The hospital went through a long tendering process, involving a multi-disciplinary team throughout the project that included department leads, IT staff, clerical staff and representatives from the society.

Denise Telford, the hospital’s project lead, says: "We wanted one package to work with every department in a seamless way. In order to achieve this, it was imperative that this was a hospital-led project involving representatives from every department, and not simply an IT project.

“From start to finish, we involved our staff in coming up with the criteria for what they wanted. So the project initiation document, visiting reference sites, creating the statement of needs and the final evaluations were all down to hospital staff members from every team – and not just the hospital senior board.”

Placing the contract

By the time a long list of suppliers had been reduced to a final three candidates, it was early 2008. The selection group and hospital board were then called to a meeting to make a final decision. Every person present was asked to participate, to make sure every point of view had been heard.

Telford says: "We wanted to ensure there was no hiding at this point. Staff had been involved right from the very beginning, providing professional input, and now it was time for them to help the hospital choose its system. Each team lead chose their preferred supplier, and from this, the decision was made."

Oasis Medical Solutions was the winning vendor for the project. Telford says the project team were impressed by the Oasis system they saw at Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust and were confident that once configured it could provide the service benefits Benenden were seeking.

"Oasis showed us some good examples of their work and came close to meeting our initial requirements,” says Telford. “We are confident the system and associated services will help us maximise the care we provide to the thousands of society and NHS patients we care for every year.”

The business case was signed off earlier this year and work has already started on preparing for go-live. The project has a single go live, contracted for February next year, but both sides are working to bring that date forward.


The system will include Choose and Book compatibility – essential for the NHS patients who choose to be treated at the hospital – and will also replace some legacy systems such as the existing patient administration system (PAS) and theatre systems.

Eventually, the existing radiology system and pharmacy system will be considered for replacement. The Oasis system will also provide connectivity to registration kiosks from next year.

Telford says: "In December, we will be going live with the PAS, theatre module, Choose and Book and Oasis Document Management system, endoscopy and Scantrak asset management and eDischarge functionality.

“Most importantly, we will implement the Clinical Workstation, which will provide clinical support and workflow. From there, we will look at how we enhance the system further."

Training and deployment

Staff have been kept informed throughout the process by the hospital’s implementation team. Nearly 400 staff will require training before go-live and timing of this is crucial if the details are to "stay fresh in their minds" before the new system goes into service.

Meanwhile, full deployment plans are being finalised. “There is an implementation team managing the project that includes two consultants, admin and IT staff, and the senior managers at the hospital and the society,” says Telford.

"We are just beginning to start awareness sessions for all hospital staff and training for super-users. The system looks quite different to our existing system, so workshops will be held for all staff, with full support for a while post go-live.”

The system will be secured using trust-decided role-based access controls and will be password-operated, using single sign-on functionality. Oasis says the configured system for Benenden is now being built and they are working closely with the hospital on detailed go-live plans.

EHI will continue to follow the progress of deployment plans and post go-live reactions at Benenden over the coming months.


Benenden to deploy Oasis EPR