Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has signed a ten-year, £23 million deal to continue using Cerner Millennium beyond the end of its national contract for the system.

The trust has ambitious plans to implement a range of Cerner's clinical modules over the next two to three years, including e-prescribing, building towards a full electronic patient record.

The trust’s director of service development Emma Goddard told Digital Health News the process to decide on a new EPR provider was clinically led with front line staff evaluating the systems.

Staff felt Millennium was the most mature fully integrated solution on offer and were particularly impressed with the clinical functionality.

The trust first received a Cerner system from Fujitsu under the National Programme for IT in 2007.  The London contract was later taken over by BT.

The deployment caused a series of issues that led to the "near-meltdown of the trust", according to board papers from the time. Despite plans to roll out Millennium in other areas, including A&E, the system is only used as a patient administration system, for which the contract expires at the end of October.

Milton Keynes will exit the BT data centre before the NPfIT deadline and receive a code upgrade in the latter part of this financial year, before moving ahead with phases B and C, which involve implementing clinical modules over the next two to three years.

Goddard said that the NPfIT experience with the system is now in the past. The trust has employed 40 new consultants over recent years and there is a real momentum and enthusiasm towards using technology to improve patient care.

“Organisations do have a memory, but I think it’s counterbalanced by our recruitment strategy and new members of staff with enthusiasm to take on new solutions,” she said. “It’s exciting for clinicians that this history has become history.”

The trust has also appointed a chief clinical information officer and deputy CCIO to help engage with staff.

“This is really about taking advantage of where we are as an organisation, taking those next steps and I think people are really excited about this now and engaged in what we can do differently,” said Goddard.

While the focus for now is on the technical side of the data centre transfer, the trust is also building up the change management office.

Multi-agency teams led by consultants will work with each of the clinical divisions on how to improve processes and prepare for the roll-out of various modules. “It will be a huge programme, set up over the coming six months,” Goddard said.

The trust is still defining which modules will be in which phases, including order communications, e-prescribing, maternity, critical care and nursing documentation.

Goddard said Milton Keynes can look to an organisation like Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, which has achieved a HIMSS level six rating, to show what can be achieved with the Cerner EPR.