A new electronic patient records tool has been developed by TPP to make simulation training easier for universities teaching informatics to healthcare students.

Made available in September, the TPP patient record replicator tool (within the SystmOne demonstration system) is now being trialled by lecturers at both the University of Manchester and the University of Birmingham.

It allows lecturers or course leaders to create new user accounts for students and generate example patients for them, as well as sample complex patient records to be copied, so that each student has their own patient record to work on.

Both Dr Sarah Pontefract, lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics at the University of Birmingham and Dr Kurt Wilson, senior lecturer at Manchester Medical School have collaborated to integrate electronic patient records into undergraduate health education.

“As part of this, we have developed a set of principles and competencies relating to the use of the technology,” Dr Pontefract said. “We also needed to explore the integration of commercial Electronic Patient Records (EPRs) into experiential learning.”

The pair have been working with TPP to design the University simulation version of their software, which they are currently testing and refining for use.

“TPP have offered us expert help from a technical perspective, and we have used our academic expertise to collaborate on the development of the TPP EPR system in a new way: as an innovative tool for clinical education,” Dr Wilson said.

The duo explained that to provide safe and effective care, healthcare students really need to be proficient in the use of electronic records.

“Use of a commercial EPR system as part of live, small group teaching provides deep authenticity to simulation of the modern clinical workplace,” Wilsons said.


  • University of Manchester and the University of Birmingham trial TPPs new patient record replicator tool
  • Aims to make simulation training easier for universities teaching informatics skills to healthcare students
  • Allows course leaders to create new user accounts on SystmOne for students and generate example patients
  • Can alter dates on the patient record, so that old records can be updated for the current academic year
  • Allows records to be shared between institutions
  • The tool was requested by a working group of nearly twenty universities and academic institutions – they want to develop a national teaching syllabus for healthcare students to learn about EPRs and how healthcare software is used across the NHS and care sectors

The duo, along with 20 academic institutions on the working group, plan to embed the technology into teaching in the next academic year.

Dr Wilson said that in the meantime, they are developing patient cases that can be shared across institutions to facilitate integration.

“Electronic records will replace paper records that we currently use during teaching, so that training more accurately reflects reality.  Importantly, we envisage that this implementation will not require a change in curricula for healthcare programmes, because EPR technology can be weaved into existing teaching.”

For Manchester, as a connected health city, student understanding and experience of information access and transfer within the digital NHS is more important than ever, Dr Pontefract said.

“Manchester University already uses a commercial Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration (EPMA) system alongside paper notes to support final year medical and pharmacy students,” she said.

Students undertake small group inter-professional learning, simulating a ward environment, and are required to prescribe and review treatment in the electronic system.

“To date, more than 1000 students have taken part in this training and it has been very well received,” Dr Pontefract said. “However, this system does not provide complete electronic patient records, or the ability to communicate fully in the electronic environment.”

They plan to use the new TPP system to allow students to practice accessing, generating and sharing data to inform clinical decision-making in future teaching.

Dr Pontefract empahsised that, “these important and transferable skills will always be the final common pathway, linking education and training to 21st century clinical practice.”

Other universities TPP has supported includes the University of Leeds, with a free SystmOne teaching environment.