Staff and patients at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust are reporting issues with the Lorenzo electronic patient record system that went live at the start of June.

At a board meeting last Wednesday, staff side representative Kirk Panter said staff were having problems adapting to and using the software.

He said: “I have heard from employees that some staff are having to stay behind an extra two hours after their shift just to put data into the system.”

Comments published on the North West Evening News website suggest patients have also experienced problems.

One poster said: “Staff were frustrated as they could not access the system to look at the notes, results of tests carried out by the GP, or referral letter.

“The referral letter was never found and I had to explain the reason for the visit. Blood test results were not available so these had to be repeated.”

Another said: “I know several people who are waiting for now non-existent appointments due to this appalling waste of time and money.”

Last year, Christine Connelly, the Department of Health’s director general of informatics, set a deadline for Morecambe Bay to go live with the latest version of Lorenzo – Lorenzo Regional Care Release 1.9 – by the end of March.

Local service provider CSC missed the deadline, although the trust finally went live with the iSoft system later in the summer. It now appears to be having issues with its legacy patient administration system, iPM and with feeding information from iPM into Lorenzo.

A presentation given at the board meeting identifies a number of issues including “data migration fallout from trying to shoehorn iPM into a rigid RTT structure,” and backlogs in translating referrals into episodes of care. It also lists “inconsistent behaviour being exhibited on occasions by Lorenzo.”

The presentation by Patrick McGahon, director of service and commercial development, shows that twenty staff are still dedicated to keying transactions into iPM, and that the data is being replicated into Lorenzo.

It shows that although the number of system issues is reducing, the number of data issues is increasing. However, it attributes this to users attempting to do more with the system as each week goes by.

In a statement issued to E-Health Insider, McGahon said: “Lorenzo went through a testing regime that included a wide range of users.

"As we were an early adopter of the system, we anticipated that there would be issues that would be identified when the system went live in a hospital setting with real staff and patients.

“Our staff have been extremely proactive in reporting any issues they come across and also ideas about how we can improve the functionality of the system. If we can fix it internally, we will do this immediately.

"Those that require external support will be done as soon as possible but we do provide a ‘work around’ in the intervening period.

“We are continuing to work through the issues that have been identified. The regular system updates we are receiving from CSC provide us with the fixes to many of the issues that are reported.”

The trust has said that it will continue with plans to roll-out Release 2 of Lorenzo to support emergency care, with a provisional go-live date of Tuesday 7 September.

It will follow this with the go-live of ‘to take out’ (TTO) medicines and e-prescribing on one ward at Furness General Hospital in mid-October , with four more wards across the organisation to go live by mid November 2010.

Links: North West Evening Mail: NHS staff in glitch claim

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust: board meeting, Wednesday 21st July 2010.