Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has gone live with the latest part of its electronic patient record (EPR) powered by Allscripts.

The trust “held its nerve” in deploying the system during the coronavirus outbreak.

It follows the implementation of Sunrise EPR as a ‘clinical wrap’ around its existing patient administration system last year, which saw the trust go live with nursing documentation and risk assessments five months later.

In March 2020 the trust added an e-observations capacity, including automatic calculation of national early warning score NEWS2 designed to better detect deterioration.

The e-observation functionality is helping the trust manage patients during the Covid-19 outbreak, identifying patients with the virus and including results on the system.

Mark Hutchinson, executive chief digital information officer, said: “We knew that moving patient observations to Sunrise EPR would bring huge benefits in our two acute hospitals and had planned our launch for March.

“So, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK, we needed to make a quick decision about whether or not to go ahead. We held our nerve and put extra staff on our wards to make sure we got this right, at a challenging time for our hospitals.

“Having e-obs in place has proved essential in managing our patients during the coronavirus pandemic. Our acute care response teams are able to manage caseloads; senior nursing staff can use the data to manage staffing deployment; and we’re able to track the numbers and locations of patients who are being supported by oxygen.”

To help trusts implementing their systems during the pandemic Allscripts UK has created a virtual meeting room, connected to a floorwalking messaging app, so team members can be aware of issues as they are identified on wards and clinics, before they are logged into help-desk systems.

Richard Strong, Allscripts managing director, EMEA, added: “As NHS acute trusts begin to deal with more and more people with Covid-19, the flexibility of Sunrise is proving to be a key tool for helping them to identify and manage these patients.

“It was a brave decision for Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to introduce new functionality to record patient observations and escalate the management of deteriorating patients amid the huge organisational change required to prepare for the pandemic.

“We moved rapidly to new ways of working to fully support go-lives 24/7, without risking the health of our staff, NHS staff or patients by undertaking traditional support and floor-walking activities.”