University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust could save £35m over the next five years thanks to its IT strategy and implementation of the Lorenzo electronic patient record system, the trust says.

The trust is now developing a roll-out plan for electronic prescribing and order communications systems as a result of “significant progress” improving the functionality of Lorenzo, following a troubled beginning.

A review of the trust’s six-year informatics, innovation and information technology strategy in its August board papers says the trust’s EPR programme is “still very ambitious and is still ahead of most other [trusts].” 

Morecambe Bay went live with Lorenzo’s patient administration system in 2010, becoming the first acute trust in the UK to start implementing the system, which was slated for use across the North, Midlands and East of England as part of the National Programme for IT.

The trust subsequently encountered severe problems in the year after the go-live, and had to put a stabilisation plan in place to address issues with data input, clinic booking, and letters.

The report says the trust has since made progress with the system developed by iSoft, a company since bought by CSC; implementing the maternity module in July 2013 and launching a project to make its outpatients department paper-light.

In addition, more than 11,000 appointments have now taken place without paper case notes, supported by the trust’s clinical systems and centred on Lorenzo.

The trust deployed its e-prescribing system in its ‘first of type’ ward in May, and has also started to implement an order communications system. It will design and present full roll-out plans over the next year for e-prescribing and order communications.

Other projects being considered include an e-whiteboard solution for wards developed in-house to simplify access to information for nurses, as well as Lorenzo’s clinical charting functionality to support paper-light and paperless care in outpatients, inpatients and the emergency department.

Morecambe Bay has also implemented an e-forms application to cut down on use of paper forms, which has been trialled in its urology department and is now being expanded to improve performance and safety.

The report says the trust will develop a business case for implementation of the clinical charting functionality, as well as for a mobile Lorenzo solution for tablets. The trust’s work is intended to support plans to begin a formal inpatient paper-light project in 2016.

The report says the trust expects to save nearly £35m over the next five years as a result of the Lorenzo implementation and its IT strategy, taking into account the expected £9m cost to set up a 24/7 IT support service.

The trust’s information and informatics departments have been merged to create an informatics, innovation and information division, with a planned restructuring to be finalised in October.

A new data warehouse has been established to receive technology and data feeds and deliver “a single source of the truth” data for all reporting, while a data quality group has been set up to improve the quality of the trust’s data and clinical coding.

The review also highlights the “urgent need” for a privacy officer role to be established within the trust’s information governance team to deal with the governance and confidentiality aspects of electronic records management.