Whipps Cross University Hospital has gone live with Cerner’s FirstNet in A&E and will deploy further functionality in the spring.

The system was delivered by BT under a National Programme for IT contract with Barts Health NHS Trust.

The trust was created in 2012 with the merger of Whipps Cross University Hospital NHS Trust, Barts and The London NHS Trust and Newham University Hospital NHS Trust.

Whipps Cross is a 670-bed hospital, which currently runs a legacy McKesson patient administration system, TotalCare, the hospital will have the Cerner Millennium electronic patient record system implemented this year under the national contract.

The first phase of the roll-out went live on 30 October 2013 in the A&E department, which is now ‘paperlite’.

Barts chief clinical information officer Dr Charles Gutteridge told EHI the big difference between the trust’s Cerner implementation in 2008 compared to 2013, was the use of experienced clinicians and staff to support the new users of the system.

“The really good thing was having two senior doctors and some nurses from the emergency department at Royal London Hospital going regularly to the ED at Whipps Cross, talking people through it, demonstrating and being part of the learning,” he said.

While staff received some generic classroom training, the presence of colleagues with specific departmental knowledge was critical to the success of the go-live.

Dr Gutteridge was one of the clinicians supporting staff through the difficult first few days and said any issues raised on the floor were fed back to the senior leadership team to be addressed.

Lessons learned from the deployment will be used when the hospital goes live with the Cerner Millennium PAS, order communications, SurgiNet and maternity in the spring.

One of the key benefits is that staff at Whipps Cross can see information already held on the EPR if a patient has attended another Barts’s site previously and their new EPR follows them if they are transferred to another site for treatment.

“You can easily transfer across hospitals physically, but you can now electronically refer them seamlessly and that’s an enormous advantage for the coming implementation because Whipps Cross feeds most tertiary flow to us,” Dr Gutteridge explained.

Anna Morgan, Whipps Cross trauma and acute consultant, said: “it’s certainly much easier to keep track of patients and know what’s going on in the department with the EPR. If a patient comes back to see us in the department, we now have an online record of their case right within the system.

“And unlike before, we can see if a patient has been to any hospital at Barts Health, which has greatly helped improve communication and patient safety,” she said.

Whipps Cross staff will also have access to the Barts Health Information Exchange, which presents a summary of GP patient data held in local Emis practices.