Doctors in the cystic fibrosis units at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust are using Emis to improve patient care and reduce their use of paper after upgrading to the latest version of the software.

The adult and paediatric cystic fibrosis centres at the trust replaced their paper-based system with Emis PCS in 2007 and upgraded to Emis Web, which allows data to be shared more widely, in September this year.

According to an article published in the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis, since implementing Emis PCS the doctors have responded more quickly to clinical problems, carried out fewer duplicate tests and been able to capture more detailed data. They have also reduced the time taken to send discharge summaries to GPs from 34 days to under 48 hours.

Data on 619 patients has been recorded in the system. Daniel Peckham, clinical lead for respiratory medicine and cystic fibrosis at Leeds General Hospital and the lead author on the article, told EHI the ability to collect and analyse data at a granular level had been one of the biggest benefits of implementing Emis PCS.

Peckham said doctors are now able to pinpoint the effect of a particular drug on lung function using clinical coding.

“We developed over 500 codes relating to the specifics of CF, so we are continuously collecting all this data. We have an amazingly detailed record and it means that you can start looking at these patterns.”

Peckham, who has recently undertaken paid development work for Emis, said the alert system in Emis has enabled the CF units to meet targets more effectively. The proportion of completed annual blood tests, for example, increased from 43% in 2007 to 92% in 2012.

“We all are using a system that allows much better, much more integrated care for the patient,” he said.

The move to Emis Web earlier this year had been smooth and had provided new functionality, Peckham said.

“It shows very good graphs, so when we're interacting with our patients, the graph shows you lung function and they can see that, whereas if you just have figures it doesn't mean anything [to patients].”

The CF units now use very little paper. Doctors on ward rounds record patient data electronically using computers on wheels, and there are plans to introduce a mobile version on iPads, which will allow nurses in the community to enter data straight into the Emis database.

Emis Web is also much better at data extraction and configuration than Emis PCS, and could be configured for use in any specialist disease centre, Peckham said.

The system is currently being piloted at the Sheffield and Manchester adult CF centres. There are also plans to integrate Emis Web with the trust’s PAS and with the hospital portal, to give access to visiting healthcare professionals and allow patients to view their records through the portal.