Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has awarded a contract to Allscripts Healthcare for the implementation of an electronic patient record.

The Merseyside trust becomes the first in the NHS to award an EPR contract to the US company, according to EHI Intelligence

The trust has awarded Allscripts a five year deal the value of which has not been disclosed.

Trust board papers suggest there will be a “two-year timeframe” to develop an EPR that will include three core components: an electronic data management system, trust integration engine, and order communications.

The trust aims to implement a number of clinical modules from Allscripts. These include e-referrals, a patient portal, clinical portal and various ward management tools.

Liverpool Heart and Chest provides specialist services across the North West of England, North Wales and the Isle of Man. The contract states that the EPR must span all of its service lines and serve all of its operating locations.

The trust also wants the system to provide “secure, remote access from the homes of directors, managers, clinicians, patients and information exchange links with partner trusts, community services and GPs."

The trust expects Allscripts to deliver a “secure, accessible and cost effective EPR system and support infrastructure that will improve patient care and quality,” according to a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Since it was formed in 1991, Liverpool Heart and Chest has stored patient data on an iSoft iCS patient administration system and paper records.

The contract award provides a valuable boost to Allscripts, as it comes just a week before Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are due to select an EPR from a short-list of Allscripts, Cerner and Epic.

Aaron Cummins, finance director Liverpool Heart and Chest, told a board meeting in November that the trust would enjoy several key benefits from the installation of an EPR.

These include “easier access to services; eradication of current IT limitations; improved workflow; reduced administrative burden; reduction in duplicate testing; as well as better access for patients to their records.”

At the same meeting, the chief executive of the trust, Raj Jain, was told that “whilst Allscripts remains untested in the UK, governance, the resourcing of effective training and delivery of benefits” will be high on the agenda of the executive team.

Papers prepared for the meeting “note the benefits an EPR had brought the Mayo Clinic in the US." 

The trust believes the implementation of a similar system is essential if it is to realise its strategic goal of becoming the premier cardiothoracic provider in the UK.

Allscripts is one of the leading US EPR vendors, and counts more than 180,000 physician users and connects to 1,500 hospitals and 10,000 non-acute care organisations.

The company began serving the primary and community care sector but has grown to serve the hospital sector as well.

In 2008, Allscripts was merged with the healthcare systems operations of rival Misys – then a UK company. In 2010 Allscripts-Misys merged with another major healthcare information technology competitor, Eclipsys.

The Eclipsys acquisition gave Allscripts a technology overlap with iSoft – now CSC Healthcare – whose iCM product was based on licensed technology from Eclipsys’ Sunrise Clinical Manager.

In May 2010, Eclipsys told EHI that it was ramping up efforts to actively target ‘lost NHS trusts’ following the expiry of a non-compete clause with iSoft.