EHI is launching a national ‘Hunt for EPR Exemplars’: a search to find the UK hospitals that have made the greatest strides in using electronic patient records to improve patient care.

The Hunt for EPR Exemplars is the next stage in The Big EPR Debate, started by EHI in April, and is intended to find national leaders and to help share best practice.

Despite more than two decades of effort and billions of pounds of investment in hospital IT technologies, progress remains patchy and there is a lack of national reference sites.

To help fill the gap, EHI is inviting readers to tell us which UK hospitals they think are the leaders and have lessons to teach others.

EHI editor Jon Hoeksma said: “One of the messages that came through The Big EPR Debate is that managers, IT professionals and clinicians really want to learn from the best.

“EHI readers said they wanted an exemplar programme, to identify leading trusts, the steps they had taken, and the problems they had overcome on the way.

“We hope that by giving readers the chance to debate what ‘the best’ looks like, and which trusts should be held up as ‘exemplars’, we can help to meet that need.”

Details of EPR Exemplars will be published on a new section of EHI, to encourage comment and debate and the exchange of best practice.

So, we are asking you: what criteria should be applied when looking for an ‘exemplar’? What systems should a trust have in place?

What makes for exemplary use of IT in some areas? And, crucially, which trust would you nominate as an exemplar, and why?

To get the Hunt for EPR Exemplars started, EHI is putting up five trusts for debate that appear to have good IT overall and are recognised for leading in specific areas.

All of the trusts score highly on a new Digital Clinical Maturity Index, an NHS benchmarking tool that EHI’s research arm, EHI Intelligence, has developed and will launch this autumn.

Each of the five have also been cited as leaders by ministers, NHS best practice programmes or awards, including EHI’s own awards. The trusts are:

o King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust: Cited by health secretary Jeremy Hunt as one of the most advanced trusts in the country and thought to be one of a handful that can deliver NHS England’s expanded Hospital Episode Statistics. Well-known for its work on e-prescribing and nursing observations.

o Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust: Has taken a particularly interesting approach to IT, based on scheduling rather than a patient administration system. Is also known for its work on electronic document management and e-prescribing.

o Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: One of the very top scorers on EHI’s DCMI. Did a big bang implementation of Cerner Millennium across all its sites, and is expanding its use in key areas, including e-prescribing.

o Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust: Is developing a new IT infrastructure and electronic patient record system ahead of a move to a major new hospital; work that won its IT director Healthcare IT Champion of the Year two years ago. Particularly known for its work on scheduling.

o University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust: Another trust taking an interesting approach to IT, by developing the PICS e-prescribing system that also has patient management and reporting functions. This is another trust that can probably deliver the new HES dataset. Has also developed a patient portal; myQHB.

Now tell us whether you agree. Which trusts would you say are EPR exemplars? And why? The reader comment button is below.