Sunderland Royal Hospital has become the first in the north of England to be awarded Level 7 status from the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS).  

The status was awarded following a two-day virtual assessment which was held on 7 and 8 December. HIMSS assessors observed clinical and operational teams in action from across the hospital – this included use of the trust’s Meditech electronic patient record (EPR) which give clinicians access to live, up-to-date patient information from across all departments.

The EPR also integrates with the Great North Care Record, which means information gathered in the Meditech solution is available to other healthcare settings across the North East and North Cumbria.

Dr Kevin Joisce, a consultant in emergency medicine and CCIO at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is fantastic news for our patients and testament to the hard work and dedication of all clinical colleagues who have truly embraced our digital ambitions to make them a reality in Sunderland.

“Using the most up-to-date and advanced digital systems is as part and parcel of our ethos and how we want to deliver patient care and to achieve Level 7 accreditation reflects the digital maturity of our Trust. Technology is embedded in everything we do, in all clinical processes and our nursing workflows to an extent where we have successfully eliminated our reliance on historic paper-based systems at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

“Our Board have long championed the use technology with a clear and ongoing commitment to improve patient safety and the overall quality of clinical care through the effective use and deployment of digital solutions. This is an important milestone for the organisation and one that we will continue to build upon in the years ahead.”

HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) is an international organisation which supports hospitals to benchmark and improve their use of digital technology, through various digitalised healthcare adoption models, ranging from 0-7.

Sunderland Royal Hospital joins the likes of Cambridge University Hospitals and Great Ormond Street Hospital which have also achieved HIMSS Level 7.

Regional director at HIMSS, John Rayner, added: “I had the pleasure of validating Sunderland Royal Hospital against the EMRAM Stage 6 standards in January 2020. It is really pleasing to see how much progress they have made in such a short time, 11 months in fact.

“During the latest assessment, which was virtual, a team of 6 assessors found the hospital to be compliant with the EMRAM Stage 7 standards. In speaking with and observing the medical and nursing teams it was easy to see that digital processes and associated workflows have become absolutely embedded in the way that this hospital works. There is a clear commitment here to use technology to improve patient safety and the overall quality of clinical care.”