Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has decided not to go with the Epic electronic patient record; in a move that coincides with Monitor's announcement that it is investigating the installation of the clinical system at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Papworth Hospital – the UK's largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital – and neighbouring Cambridge University Hospitals had both intended to deploy the system after a joint procurement process in 2012.
The move was part of a ten-year eHospital programme that also came with significant investment in infrastructure, worth £200 million in total.
Cambridge University Hospitals went live with the system in October last year, while Papworth has spent the time working on its business case. It said in January that it still intended to go with Epic, with a planned live date of no later than June 2016.
However, in a meeting last week, board members came to the conclusion that Epic did not provide the best value for money for the trust, which is in the middle of a £165 million project to move to a new site at Cambridge Biomedical Campus.
The issue of cost has been a big question mark for Epic, which has a large footprint in the US, but so far has just one installation in England; although the board of Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust recently approved a business case for the system.
In a statement to Digital Health News, a spokesperson said: “Papworth Hospital is committed to providing the most intuitive and cutting edge ICT infrastructure to its staff, to ensure they are well equipped to offer patients the finest possible care in a modern healthcare setting, whilst also being affordable.
“Therefore, following a review of the proposed implementation of the eHospital programme and the related costs it has been decided that the trust should source alternative options for the provision of an electronic patient record programme.”
It added: “We are currently working with a number of alternative suppliers to identify a cost-effective ICT system which meets our patients’ needs.”
Responding to a request from Digital Health News, a spokesperson for Cambridge University Hospitals said the trust was not able to comment on Papworth’s decision.
At the end of last week, NHS regulator Monitor announced it had launched an investigation into the implementation of Epic at Cambridge University Hospitals and its impact on the trust’s finances.
“The regulator is looking into the financial problems, including the introduction and management of the IT system, as it may indicate wider issues with how the trust is being run,” said a statement.
At the end of May, the trust delivered a deficit of £10.3 million, with the plans to move towards eHospital accounting for £4 million of this loss.
A statement provided by Cambridge University Hospitals said: “The significant investment this year in eHospital is also having an impact on our finances, with efficiency benefits increasing as the system becomes fully embedded.
“We would like to reassure public and patients that we are doing everything possible to improve our financial position, whilst ensuring safe care for our patients.
“We will work closely with Monitor as they undertake their investigation, and we remain focussed on improvement. Regular updates will be provided to Monitor on progress with our financial recovery and operational improvement plans.”
In June, the trust’s chief clinical information officer Dr Afzal Chaudhry, said the implementation of Epic had been going well and the use of paper notes for inpatients had reduced by 80% while there had been a 40% reduction in the use of paper in outpatient services.