Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust has selected IMMJ Systems to provide an electronic document management system (EDMS) in a bid to help join up services with its sister organisation, Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The contract will see Northampton General Hospital implement IMMJ’s MediViewer technology which will allow the trust to scan, index and archive existing paper records into a digital system. This follows Kettering General Hospital also selecting MediViewer in April 2019.

Northampton General is expected to be live with the solution across all specialties by July 2022, whilst Kettering General Hospital commenced their go-live in May of this year and are already on their way to a trust-wide deployment.

Speaking to Digital Health News the group chief digital information officer (CDIO) of both trusts, Andy Callow, said having the same EDMS solution across both sites will improve integration.

“It’s a really exciting development in that we will have both hospitals using the same type of software and the potential is that both hospitals will be able to see each other’s records,” he said.

He added: “We awarded a contract to IMMJ and that aligns with the same provider at Kettering.

“The idea is that you have actually got clinicians who are familiar with the same piece of software at both bases.”

Other benefits, according to Callow, also include patients having a better experience of visiting the hospital.

“We hope it [the implementation if MediViewer] will have some significant benefits and for patients we hope it will mean they can access care earlier” he said.

“One issue we sometimes come across is outpatient appointments having to be cancelled because a patient arrives but their records don’t, which can lead to a really poor experience for the patient. But having an electronic system in place means this will no longer happen.

“We also anticipate that patients will have fewer occasions when they need to tell their story again as they move between the acute care settings in Northamptonshire.”

Opening up research capabilities

In July 2021 Kettering and Northampton General Hospitals officially became a joint hospital group and under the banner of University Hospitals of Northamptonshire NHS Group.

Callow told Digital Health News that having an electronic document management system will “open up the capabilities for research” in the group.

“One of the things we are looking to do is increase the amount of research that we do so having records available in an electronically, analysable form really opens up the possibility to try and make the link between ‘what was the intervention’ and ‘what was the outcome’ which means we can start to look at what might we do differently,” he added.

When asked about the decision to select IMMJ Systems for the solution, Callow referred to the suppliers capabilities for a similar project at Kettering General Hospital.

“They’ve [IMMJ] shown their capability at Kettering by keeping everything to a timeline and also the feedback around the MediViewer system is really good,” he said.

“They have also been pretty flexible in the way we’ve tried to sequence events, they come with a lot of expertise in doing this before so when I mentioned about the hybrid situation, they’ve been able to advise from previous experience around what the sequence might be in other acute hospitals, so that’s been really helpful.”

Jamie Hall, head of sales at IMMJ Systems, added: “This is a significant milestone for the group and for its ambitions to be the most digitally advanced hospital(s) in the country, with secure, resilient, accurate and timely information at the point of patient care.

“The digitisation of the trust’s medical records and availability within the same systems across both Kettering and Northampton will deliver not only huge clinical benefits but will also help the Trust deliver many cash releasing and operational efficiencies form the implementation of EDMS technology. It brings Kettering and Northampton General Hospital, already working together in a group management model, the benefits of using the same document management platform.”

Moving towards a shared EPR

Away from the EDMS project, Callow told Digital Health News that a main ambition for Northampton and Kettering is to have a shared electronic patient record (EPR).

“We will be procuring a new PAS [patient administration system] in Northampton and we need to make sure that new interface integrates with the Kettering one and to make a platform that will be built alongside a shared EPR,” he said.

“That will be massive and will touch all aspects of the trust in all different ways.

“When you look at our digital strategy, it has a raft of objectives in it and if I was to pick out the key three that we know clinicians are keenly anticipating they would be, supporting the Northamptonshire Care Record, reducing the number of logins (we pledge to have a single login) and then the final one is around the shared EPR within the trust.”