The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust has developed a front-end ‘skin’ for its Meditech electronic patient record system, due to issues with its functionality.

The trust has developed the SEPIA software for information and reporting functions that its troubled Meditech v6.0 deployment cannot deliver, the trust’s September board minutes say.

The in-house development is a front-end interface to the EPR. Although The Rotherham is planning to upgrade to Meditech v6.05, the minutes say that as it is still struggling with usability of the system.

“One of the common complaints of the Meditech system is that it has too many clicks to enter information and is not particularly user friendly or reflects recent ‘app’/iPad based technology,” say the minutes.

Developers have created a front-end ‘skin’ that interfaces with the system and "provides a ‘new look’ with better reporting design."

SEPIA is being used for several functional requirements such as data quality reports, a theatre log, patient duplication reports and case note pulling lists.

“SEPIA continues to be developed to provide information and reporting functions that Meditech is currently unable to provide,” the minutes add.

The Rotherham has spent more than £21.5m of a planned £40m on its EPR project so far, but has experienced persistent problems since going live in June 2012. These resulted in the trust stopping all go-lives of the EPR later that year.

In May this year, the trust submitted an EPR recovery plan to foundation trust regulator Monitor.

It considered taking out the system completely, but has decided to rework its EPR, beginning with a pilot called “the ortho project”, which aims to reduce the time clinicians spend inputting data.

However, the board minutes say that a new discharge summary, which is being piloted on orthopaedics wards, will also have to use SEPIA to refine document layout. The discharge summary will be rolled out across the trust.

The Rotherham wants to develop SEPIA further into a full clinical portal and has put in a bid for NHS England’s Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards: Technology Fund.

Earlier this year, the trust looked certain to replace Meditech with TPP’s SystmOne in A&E, but recent board papers reveal that it is still considering which system would be the best fit.

In order to make a decision, A&E staff will visit Sunderland, another Meditech site, to see how the system is working there.

“Six staff from the A&E department will be attending and a report on the decision re the system most suitable for A&E will be provided at the November Board,” say the minutes.