North Bristol NHS Trust has gone back to paper to process some outpatient appointments as it works to fix issues with its implementation of Cerner Millennium.
An update from the trust says it is processing 60% of outpatient activity via its new electronic patient record system and hopes to have all outpatient clinics working with it successfully by early February.
“All other outpatient appointments are being managed via other systems and paper processes,” it says.
EHealth Insider reported earlier this month that the trust was having some problems with its go-live of Cerner Millennium.
These left some patients being booked into non-existent clinic appointments or not being told about scheduled operations.
The trust says the problems in outpatients were caused by incorrectly configured clinic lists, which led to issues with the interaction between Millennium and the Choose and Book electronic booking system.
These led to patients receiving the wrong appointment dates, no confirmation of appointment, or letters being sent out in error.
The trust’s statement says it has engineers and technicians working closely with Cerner and BT on ”either re-building the clinics’ system or on the floor in clinics correcting problems as they happen."
North Bristol has been contacting patients by phone or letter to advise them of their current appointment slot and has prioritised urgent referrals, including cancer two week waits, to make sure they are not affected.
The trust has also been contacting GPs to reassure them that referred patients are in the appointment system.
In a letter to local GPs, it says they can ring the appointments helpline with any outstanding queries or use a new dedicated fax line to send through a duplicate referral. The helpline service will run until the end of February.
The update says the Emergency Department and two Minor Injuries Units are now using Cerner Millennium effectively, along with 65 wards and the maternity department at Southmead Hospital.
“Some theatres had experienced problems relating to the transfer of data from the old system to the new, causing delays with rescheduling some operations,” it says.
However, these problems have been rectified and all theatres are now using the new EPR.
Information provided by North Bristol explains that the implementation involved the retraining of 6,500 staff and the transition was expected to take place over eight weeks.
“Our priority is always clinical safety and there is no indication that this has in any way been compromised during this implementation.”
The statement says it has “additional safeguarding processes” in place to minimise further disruption to out-patient appointments and apologises for the disruption and frustration caused for patients.
The problems at North Bristol and problems with appointments and long waits at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, led MP Richard Bacon to call for a halt to deployments of Cerner Millennium last week.