Another southern trust has gone live with the TrakCare electronic patient record, after more than a year of delays.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust deployed phase one the InterSystems EPR over the weekend, the second of the three ‘SmartCare’ trusts to do so.

In a statement, chief executive Deborah Lee said the deployment was a big investment in technology that would help transform delivery of care.

“The new system will support clinical decisions, support high quality prescribing and improve staff and patient communications, ensuring services are even safer and more efficient.”

She said there would be delays associated with the shift as staff become accustom to the new system.

“Whilst we have worked hard to minimise the impact of this implementation, a change of this magnitude will inevitably cause some delays for patients and we would ask them to bear with us while our staff get used to the new way of working.”

The deployment was only the first step in a process that would see the full deployment of TrakCare by the end of 2017.

So far, the trust has successfully migrated data from its old patient administration system to the new TrakCare PAS, and deployed the EPR in maternity, the emergency department and theatres.

The most recent update to the board, from November, shows that order communications, pharmacy, pathology and radiology were expected to switch to TrakCare on 6 March, 2017.

Gloucestershire was originally scheduled to go-live with TrakCare in November 2015, in conjunction with Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust and Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as part of the SmartCare collaboration.

However, all three have delayed their deployements. Yeovil was the first of the three to deploy the EPR in June while Northern Devon has not set a go-live date.

In the last update to the Yeovil board in October, the TrakCare deployment was reported as “going well”, although with some “delayed operational performance” in the emergency department and extra pressure on the trust’s contact centre.

E-prescribing was expected to go-live before the end of the year, with planning underway for phase 2 of the roll-out.

The SmartCare collaboration is one of six involving 23 acute trusts in the South that received little or nothing from the National Programme for IT in the NHS.

The collaborations were formed to buy a variety of IT systems with some central funding support. As part of that arrangement, Gloucestershire signed a £40 million eight-year contract with InterSystems.

However, a paper that went to Gloucestershire board last month indicated that delays have pushed the project over budget. The project was expected to mow cost £8.5 million in the first three years, £800,000 more than the budget allocated.

“This potential overspend will need to be considered in the context of the overall capital plan; there may be slippage in other scheme to accommodate this however effort will be made to reduce spend where ever possible.”

Gloucestershire is only the third English trust to deploy TrakCare but the system is the overwhelmingly dominant EPR in Scotland.

Digital Health Intelligence: holds information on the clinical systems installed at trusts across the UK and uses this to calculate a Clinical Digital Maturity Index score. Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust ranks 129 out of 153, with a score of 61. (requires log-in).

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