North Mersey Health Informatics Service is preparing to deploy Lorenzo Regional Care next year, having successfully rolled out one of its predecessors across two primary care trusts.

The HIS has been delivering iSoft’s iPM – which is known locally as Lorenzo – to services run by Liverpool Primary Care Trust and NHS Sefton. The phased development over three years has taken many services from using paper too using electronic systems for the first time.

Claire Hopkins from the HIS said: “Liverpool PCT and NHS Sefton wanted a system to support community services. When we started, lots of services were still paper-based, so there was no real legacy to work on.

“We did not want to just implement the National Programme for IT in the NHS model. Instead, we have been very service specific.

"We have looked at how services work and where we can deliver benefits. There has been no big bang; we have done things very slowly. But we now have 50-60 services live.”

Initially, the HIS focused on creating a centralised patient administration system to improve the management of referrals and caseloads and enable the electronic scheduling of appointments.

“Podiatry was the first service to take the system,” Hopkins explained. “They were doing some redesign work. Their throughput of patients is very high, so they wanted a centralised booking service.”

Patients can now be offered a choice of clinic locations and a range of appointments. Demand on the service and the capacity of the clinics can be managed on a daily basis.

Since this first project, iPM has been rolled out to other services to support redesign projects and clinical care. “We have got specific groups of nurses, such as leg-ulcer nurses and respiratory nurses live on the system,” Hopkins said.

“One of the biggest successes has been the district nurse teams, because they are out in the community all the time and have very complex workloads.”

iPM has allowed team leaders to plan home visits, record care given and schedule future visits. The different organisations involved see this as a first step in moving from paper-based records to electronic health records.

Service managers have also seen benefits from the introduction of the IT system. The PCTs’ provider services can produce patient contacts at service and team level to demonstrate performance to commissioners.

“Liverpool and Sefton never had an IT system, so iPM has helped. We have got some clinical benefits from iPM, but now we want to build on that,” Hopkins said.

“We are looking to take Lorenzo Regional Care next year; we are just looking at its functionality now. We will ask key clinicians for their views and roll it out service by service as we did with iPM.

“It will be very much based on the current state of play in each service; what system they are on, what their data quality is like, what they want to do, so everything is right for them going forward.”

The HIS was established in October 2006 and provides IM&T services to eight NHS trusts in North Mersey.

Link: North Mersey Health Informatics Service