Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) has announced the move of their electronic health records (EHR) to the cloud-based system Microsoft Azure.

Developed by Leeds’ in-house team, their electronic patient record, Patient Pathway Manager Plus (PPM+), will be moved to the cloud to provide better care for patients and support for clinicians.

Speaking to Digital Health News exclusively, Paul Jones, chief digital information officer at LTHT, said: “When I arrived at the trust in 2019 it had started doing digitisation, but one of the big areas for me was it wasn’t what I call enterprise scale.

“You couldn’t quite see how our system would scale to big numbers, how it was robust and resilient and how we would deal with failures of hardware or systems.

“Our system was just sat on hardware that we bought and we look after. To put it onto multi-site robust, resilient infrastructure is just disproportionately expensive and there’s no way on earth that we can make that work financially.

“We started looking at options we had for making sure that this system, which is absolutely fundamental to the way the trust runs, can be safe and secure going forward.

“The obvious place for us to look was the Microsoft Cloud, which is called Azure, and what we have been doing is gradually migrating parts of the electronic patient record up into the Azure Cloud.

“The idea is that we’ll have the whole thing up there within the next three to five months. We’ve been able to migrate elements from our old premise up into the Microsoft Azure Cloud without any of the users even noticing we’re doing it.”

A key benefit of Leeds’ move to Microsoft Azure is it ensures the trust has a secure and resilient system while providing 24/7 access to patient data and information.

Azure also allows collaborative work on patient data in real-time with electronic whiteboards across the trust, which support medical staff to make informed decisions based on accurate data.

Jones added: “Across the trust our whiteboards in the wards are electronic and they tell you which patients are on the wards, what their status is and things like Covid alerts have been put on them. That’s all powered out of our electronic patient record and powered out of Microsoft Cloud.”

Microsoft have consistently increased their presence in the health technology world over the last few years, evident through their partnership with Babylon to improve healthcare through artificial intelligence, and the use of their HoloLens 2 technology in a small number of hospital trusts.

Their latest adventure of partnering with Leeds and implementing Microsoft Azure is something they are very proud of and confirms their ambition to continue revolutionising healthcare across the UK.

Jacob West, director of healthcare and life sciences at Microsoft UK, said: “We’re proud to have been a partner to Leeds and the NHS all up over the last couple of years in particular.

“To have been a partner to the NHS in responding to the pandemic so successfully and looking forward to the further digital transformation that lies ahead is just a very motivating place to be.”