Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed it still plans to implement American supplier Epic’s electronic patient record system, saying it will go live “no later than June 2016”.

The trust, which is the UK’s cardiothoracic specialist hospital and national heart and lung transplant centre, joined Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in choosing Epic to replace their existing EPRs after a procurement that ended in April 2012.

However, while Cambridge went live with Epic last October as part of its £200m eHospital programme delivered by HP, Papworth is yet to implement the system or finalise commercial terms with Epic.

A Papworth spokeswoman told EHI News that Epic “remains the EPR of choice for the trust”.

The spokeswoman said the delay in implementing Epic is because the trust first needs to finalise its plans for a move to a new £165 million centre of medical excellence as part of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

Once the final agreements for the new hospital are signed off – expected to be in February – Papworth will be able to sign the contract with Epic, the spokeswoman said.

“High-level plans” have indicated that a 12-month implementation plan is required, with the trust intending to go live with Epic “no later than June 2016”, she added.

The spokeswoman said planning and preparation for the project is going well. The required work preparing for the go-live is expected to be “broadly similar” to Cambridge’s, including customised system configuration for Papworth’s highly specialised services and investment in hardware and infrastructure, including extra computing devices in clinical areas.

Cambridge experienced a range of problems with Epic shortly after becoming the first UK trust to implement the American supplier’s EPR in the UK.

The implementation was not entirely smooth.  The trust was forced to declare a “major incident” and divert ambulances to other hospitals for five hours after its new electronic patient record became unstable a week after go-live, while it also had “significant problems” with its pathology system.

However, in an exclusive interview with EHI News last November, href=”/news/1388/epic-challenge-epic-optimism Cambridge’s chief clinical information officer Dr Afzal Chaudhry said he was confident the issues have been largely worked out as the trust moves ahead with the implementation process.

Chaudhry said the trust had invited the Care Quality Commission to make a visit and look at how the new system is working, while an American company involved in a number of Epic implementations has been providing external assurance to the trust board throughout the process.

The trust is also planning to commission an external review of the entire Epic implementation process “not too far in the future”, with Deloitte mentioned as an example of a potential reviewer.

At the time of the procurement, the trusts’ decision to select Epic ahead of Cerner and Allscripts was seen by many as one of the most high profile NHS hospital IT procurements in recent years.

The two trusts will be the first UK reference sites for the US software supplier, which was understood to have heavily invested in the high-profile bid.

Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, another site considering an Epic EPR implementation, is still assessing the potential costs of the EPR after making a £19 million funding bid to NHS England’s technology fund.