City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust is implementing Meditech’s electronic patient record version 6.0, in a major refresh of its IT.

The trust has been using Meditech since 1992, and v6.0 will replace the ‘MAGIC’ version that has expanded to 25 clinical and administrative modules that are used on a daily basis by almost 5,000 staff.

The trust has undergone a full system upgrade to the latest release approximately every two years.

However, in a report to the board, Andrew Hart, director of IT and information governance, says the new project should not be classified as a “typical upgrade.”

Instead, he says the latest implementation, for which the trust has budgeted £3.5m over two-years, is creating a new solution “from scratch”; using the software that has been “anglicised” as part of The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust EPR project.

He adds that the latest version has been fully rewritten, taking note of the latest healthcare requirements, and includes a new Microsoft Windows user interface that is “flat in nature.”

The trust believes the new system will deliver a number of improvements for clinicians including: the direct pushing of clinical notification; results and notices; consolidation of e-prescribing and order entry into a single ‘order management’ product; individual and speciality tailored documentation for reporting; and mobile access to the system.

Mobile access will be provided through iPads and iPhones, and will enable Sunderland to move towards its strategic aim of creating a “paper-less” environment.

This will result in savings in medical records personnel and porters transferring medical notes, the paper says.

The use of v6.0 should also improve real time bed management and provide improved scheduling capabilities via a central portal that will be used for services across the hospital.

As part of the project, the trust will also install Meditech’s data repository, with a migration of historical data taking place from Sunderland’s current repository, which is supplied by Northgate.

Zynx Health’s clinical decision support system will be implemented, interfacing with the Meditech EPR.

The board approved a business case that extended Sunderland’s contract with FileTek/Meditech for a further seven years in October 2010.

The extended contract, which started in March 2011, gives the trust an option to extend this for a further three years.

The trust hopes to go-live with version 6.0 next month, with a date provisionally set for 6 October.

The board paper says the system will give the hospital “a wonderful opportunity to consider different working practices resulting in improved information provision, better patient care/outcomes and efficiencies.”

The Rotherham made a very public decision to break away from the National Programme for IT in the NHS to procure the latest version of the Meditech system.

After a number of delays, it went live with the first phase of v6.0 in June. Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has also extended its contract with a commitment to take the system.