Nearly 15,000 patient records in a major northern teaching trust were affected by a technical mishap in the trust’s Lorenzo patient administration system.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s April board papers reveal that CSC’s Lorenzo PAS had generated fault that resulted in patient letters being generated, but then failing to be printed. The failure resulted in some patients not receiving letters referring them for further appointments.
The no printing issue comes alongside a separate patient communication incident where a failed data migration left 19 patients in the lurch for more than two years.
The “created but not printed” problem led to 14,588 patient records potentially affected through the patient not receiving the communication, after being “identified by chance” in August 2016.
A trust review found 116 patients still needing to be seen, with one ophthalmology patient suffering potential clinical harm as a result of the delay.
“A clinical review confirmed that it could not be ruled out that the delay in reviewing the ophthalmology patient may have contributed to a deterioration in the vision in one eye.”
Digital Health News previously reported in February that the problems had led to 10 patients waiting more than 52 weeks for an appointment.
The remaining patients were either seen in January or February, self discharged or deferred treatment.
Kirsten Major, deputy chief executive at the trust, said in a statement on Tuesday that “all of the patients have now been seen and none of the patients were emergency or cancer cases”.
“At the same time as the review was being conducted, the system supplier worked with us to put in a fix which means the process of creating and printing a letter is different now and includes additional checks to prevent the same situation happening.”
The papers said that CSC (now DXC technology) had applied a “tactical fix” on 16 November 2016 to stop the issue, and processes put in place to identify the problem if it should recur.
Major said, “we have not had any further issues since”.
The April board papers also referenced that 19 patients, out of an identified 1,567, had waited more than two years for a follow-up appointment following failures in an earlier data migration from PatientCentre to Lorenzo.
“The 19 patients who required an appointment had now been seen and no harm was caused as a result of the delay in their appointment booking.”
The other 1,548 had either been seen, cancelled or failed to attend prior to migration or no longer required a follow up appointment.
The failure to print issue had been escalated to NHS Digital, DXC and other trusts with Lorenzo, the papers said. Major said the trust developed a computer programme when the problem was discovered.
“We were aware that the same patient administration system is used by some other hospitals and so we proactively contacted the Trusts and shared the computer programme which we developed along with the learning from our experience.”
NHS Digital chose not to comment on the news, citing purdah. DXC did not respond to request for comment before publication.
Sheffield Teaching is one of the UK’s largest and busiest trusts with about 16,000 employees.