Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded HIMSS Stage 6 across all its sites and has also been accredited as a Global Digital Exemplar.

The trust, one of the largest in the UK, was awarded Stage 6 by the international Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) for how it has used its electronic patient record (EPR) technology to drive transformational change in all aspects of inpatient care.

It has become one of only eight NHS organisations to have reached this level or higher, joining the likes of Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, who were also awarded HIMSS Stage 6, and there are fewer than 100 sites across Europe to have secured the accolade.

They were measured against the international standard for Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM), which consists of seven levels (0 progressing to 7), each of which must be implemented and in use to progress.

Assessors told the trust it had “clearly demonstrated its commitment to improving patient safety and the overall quality of clinical care through the effective use and deployment of Electronic Medical Record technology”.

Graham King, chief information officer at the trust, said: “This is a huge achievement for the trust and it is an absolute pleasure to be recognised for our leadership in digital transformation.

“A tremendous amount of hard work and effort has gone into achieving this across the Trust. This required collaboration across all areas of the organisation. This is richly deserved and sets an excellent platform to progress to the final level.”

GDE status

The trust has also been officially accredited as a Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) for fulfilling its commitments as part of the GDE programme with NHS England.

A GDE is an internationally recognised NHS provider delivering improvements in the quality of care, through world-class use of digital technologies and information. Exemplars share their learning and experiences through the creation of blueprints to enable other trusts to follow in their footsteps as quickly and effectively as possible.

Dermot Ryan, director of frontline digitisation at NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “Newcastle Hospitals has made great strides in demonstrating how digital, data and technology can be harnessed to improve patient experience and care, and support staff to do their jobs, culminating in their GDE accreditation this month.

“Patients in Newcastle are feeling the difference on the ground, from being able to more easily access information and manage their own care through the trust’s patient portal, while the electronic patient record system is enabling better use of patient data for more effective, and safer, care.”

Newcastle Hospitals are not the only Trust in recent months to be recognised as an accredited Global Digital Exemplar by NHS England. Last month, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust were recognised, as were Lancashire and South Cumbria at the end of 2021.

The Trusts that have recently become GDEs will hope to emulate the work and contribution of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, who were recognised last year for their involvement in the GDE programme and received a GDE digital leader award.