University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has picked Epic as the preferred supplier of a new electronic patient record.

Digital Health News understands staff were informed on Monday in a memo that indicated interoperability was part of reason behind the decision.

Epic won out against competing supplier Cerner, which was the system deployed in London by the National Programme for IT in the NHS.

If the trust goes ahead with the deployment, it will be only the second trust in the country to use the US system. Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was the first to deploy it, in October 2014.

Delays and cost overruns with the deployment ultimately contributed to Cambridge being placed in special measures in September last year.

However, more recently Cambridge’s Epic set-up has drawn admirers. Professor Robert Bob Wachter singled the trust out for praise in his report on NHS IT, released in September.

Wachter also praised the system in his book, ‘The Digital Doctor; hope, hype and harm at the dawn of medicine’s computer age’.

University College London Hospitals has been expected to lean towards Epic since the appointment of David Kwo as its director of electronic health record systems and informatics in April last year.

Kwo was heavily involved in the deployment of Epic at Cambridge. However, the UCL Institute of Digital Health recently announced that it had signed a partnership with Cerner to work on ways to close the gap between research and practice.

University College London Hospitals currently runs the IDX / GE Healthcare LastWord EPR, a system that was to be rolled out across London by NPfIT, before it was replaced with Cerner.

It is one of only two trusts running LastWord, with the other, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, last month choosing Cerner as its preferred supplier, in a link up with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Epic deployments are not cheap, with Cambridge spending about £80 million on its deployment as part of a £200 million eHospital programme. It is unclear where the funding will come from to support the deployment at University College Hospitals.

Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust picked Epic in May 2014 but has yet to move towards deployment, a decision Digital Health News understands is partly linked to funding.

A trsut spokesperson said the trust and Epic would work together to develop a full business case to present to the board early next year.  

"The board will assess if the proposal is affordable and the right investment for our digital and interoperability needs."