North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust is preparing to digitise its medical records after a series of successful go-lives with its Medway electronic patient record system.

The trust has gone live with the patient administration system, theatres, A&E, maternity and business information modules of the System C suite, replacing its McKesson Totalcare PAS.

North Middlesex was one of 26 English trusts that kept running McKesson's Totalcare and Star PAS’ thanks to a support agreement drawn up by the Department of Health and the company, when it was clear the National Programme for IT was delayed.

It became one of eight trusts that decided to migrate to the Medway system as the contract drew to an end this spring.

Musadiq Subar, the trust’s IT manager, told EHI that almost 8m records were migrated from the old to the new PAS, which has been interfaced with ten systems including radiotherapy, pharmacy and infection control.

“Replacing a 25-year-old PAS with a modern electronic patient record system in full is a massive undertaking,” Subar said.

He explained that the first go-live, for the maternity module, was timed to coincide with the opening of the hospital’s new £26m maternity unit in November 2013, four months into the wider EPR programme.

Subar said the staged deployment gave the hospital and System C the opportunity to work together on a major go-live in advance of the hospital-wide deployment.

The other Medway modules were originally scheduled as a seven-month deployment going live in February 2014, but Subar said the trust decided to alter its plans to a 12-month deployment which went live in June this year.

 “We were fully aware of issues affecting other hospitals deploying PAS and EPR around the country and we slowed down the deployment to give us time to introduce two further testing cycles.”

Subar said the trust has continued to monitor usage of the system to ensure the configuration and business change processes are satisfactory, with “lots of improvements” planned for the system’s functionality.

He said there is a particular focus on the A&E module, due to the trust’s status as one of the busiest A&E departments in London.

“The Medway module was OK, but needed improvements to bring it up to the level of a specialist A&E system.

“Working closely with the A&E team, we achieved a clinical model that allowed us to go live with, but ongoing engagement with System C is still taking place to make further improvements."

Subar said the hospital wants to become an early adopter of the next release of Medway, so it can continue to improve the product and help other trusts.

The Medway deployment is part of a wider three-year IT strategy to improve technology for the hospital’s clinical and operational teams.

Subar said the second round of the strategy, which has now started, is focussed on digitising the trust’s paper case notes using Fortrus, as well as deploying Medway’s order communications solution.

The trust is also replacing its imaging systems as part of the BT exit programme for the National Programme for IT, with the addition of a new vendor neutral archive as the first step.

Subar said the trust is also working on the latest version of its in-house clinical portal, with a plan to extend its use to primary care.