Medway NHS Foundation Trust went live with a new patient administration system over the weekend in what its director of informatics has described as “an absolutely exemplary implementation – so far.”

Trisha Bain told EHI News that the trust started its go-live last Friday, setting up its ‘command and control’ centre at 3pm and starting data migration at 7pm.

It switched interfaces at 2am on Sunday morning and then started the roll-out across its wards, working with the way patients flow through the hospital. The system was live on all wards by 5pm.

“We did data migration over the weekend, and had only one error, which was exceptional, although we had done a lot of work on that,” Bain said. “All the interfaces went up to plan and are working well. We are now live across the trust.”

Bain added that, to date, the implementation has only encountered “the usual issues” – such as “historical” systems the IT team had not been told about, lost passwords and training queries.

It is up to date with calls, and starting to check on referral to treatment time and other reporting issues. “Of course, it is early days, but so far it is all going exceptionally well,” Bain said.

“Next week, we will start looking at how staff are actually using the system, but what we had was so old that it can do nothing but improve data quality.

“We are already getting staff saying how much easier the system is to use, and how much more they can do with it.”

Medway NHS Foundation Trust was due to receive a replacement for its McKesson Totalcare system from the National Programme for IT in the NHS.

When it became clear that the programme was running late, the Department of Health did a support deal with McKesson to keep the system running at Medway and 25 other trusts; but it received little or no investment or development.

The trust chose Oasis for its new PAS in 2013 (Oasis was acquired by Allscripts in July 2014, and its main product is now known as the Allscripts PAS). It initially hoped to implement the software before the McKesson support deal before it expired in March 2014.

However, it subsequently did a deal with System C, which had taken on the McKesson business, for a further year’s support, while it addressed data quality and other issues.

Bain, who arrived in Medway from The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust last October, said the trust had needed the additional time to get its deployment right, and had ordered an independent assessment from Deloitte to make sure that it was ready for the “final, final run-in to go-live.”

The trust is the last to move off the hosted Totalcare PAS, the data centre for which is due to close at the end of the month.

Now the Allscripts PAS is in place, the trust is looking to move forward with bed management and clinic management, and to implement an electronic document management system. The board will be asked to approve a ‘roadmap’ to electronic working later in February.

“We need to give this organisation support to get out of special measures, and bed management will really help us with that,” Bain said. “It will help us to get the information on patients that we need to see what is happening across the hospital, and why, and where they going out to on the other side.”

Medway had planned to merge with Dartford and Gravesham NHS Foundation Trust to form a new ‘North Kent’ trust.

However, in June 2013 it was put into special measures by health regulator Monitor, after a Care Quality Commission inspection uncovered issues including long waits in A&E and delayed discharges.

Medway was also one of 14 trusts investigated by NHS England chief medical officer Sir Bruce Keogh for having high relative mortality rates.

A recent report on their progress, published by the CQC, said Medway was the only one of these trusts to have failed to make significant overall progress.

The CQC report said it would “remain in special measures, while further urgent support is provided or a long-term solution is found.”