Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust has gone live with a new version of the Meditech electronic patient record.

The Liverpool-based trust implemented Meditech v 6.x over the summer, replacing its previous Meditech v 5.64, which had been in place since 1997.

The updated system brings with it a variety of extra tools, such as electronic prescribing, paperless referral management, and early warning systems for nurses. The trust has already scanned thousands of patient historical notes onto its digital archiving system.

Speaking to Digital Health News, Jamie Barnes, director of international service and implementation, said that the successful go-live was due to several factors, including strong leadership at the trust all the way to the chief executive and making sure staff were involved throughout.

“They certainly recognise the importance of engaging the whole organisation, in particular the clinicians, and they did a real good job of communication,” she said.

Cathy Fox, associate director of informatics at Alder Hey, said: "The passion of the staff was incredible; they believe they can make a difference by using the Meditech system to its fullest potential. The fact that it's a children's hospital encourages everyone to really make the experience better."

The go-live came just weeks before Alder Hey moved its services to a new site at Alder Hey in the Park, opposite the old building, and the new site was up and running with Meditech 6.x on the day it opened.

Barnes said that the move was fairly simple in terms of the clinical system, with only a small amount of configuration necessary. “Most of the work was the actual physical preparations they had to do,” she said.

Over the weekend of 2 October, 120 patients were safely transferred to the new site, while the trust’s new emergency department began running in early hours of the morning on Sunday 3 October. 

On its website Alder Hey says that the EPR will be implemented in a number of annual phases. Barnes said that this will mean the trust moving more of its paper documentation to an electronic format.

“It’s really giving the trust an opportunity to build a more robust electronic patient record to use as a tool as they try to work towards their objective around improving patient safety and efficiency.”

Versions of Meditech are also in use of several other nearby hospitals, including Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, which is implementing Meditech 6.x, and Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust NHS Foundation Trust, which is on the older system. 

Liverpool Womens’ Hospital also currently uses Meditech 5.6 but is undergoing a joint procurement with Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trust and Aintree Universities NHS Trust to explore the possibility to procure a single EPR.

Barnes said that one of the focuses of Meditech is on interoperability and allowing users to share information on the system with other healthcare organisations using different systems.

This is important for Alder Hey as it is part of the iLINKS Informatics Transformation Program, which promotes the sharing of health and social care data throughout North Mersey.

Future enhancements include plans for a patient portal to be launched in 2016, which will give parents access to review the care given to their children and to communicate with clinicians.