East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) has delayed the planned November go live of their new electronic patient record (EPR) system due to integration issues.

The programme, known as ‘eLancs’, will see the trust implement a new EPR provided by Cerner, who they signed a deal with back in April 2021. The project will see all patient information being available electronically at any hospital location and at any time.

The trust made the decision to pause the go live because during the testing phase, which ensures that everything is working effectively before switch on, they identified some difficulties connected specifically to how the system interfaces with other existing systems the trust uses.

The pause is therefore not related to any problems or issues with the new system itself, but how it integrates with systems that the trust already has in place.

Martin Hodgson, chief executive at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The EPR is one of the biggest projects in the trust and will revolutionise the way colleagues work to support patients effectively for generations to come.

“It is well resourced, appropriately organised and governed and the team has made incredible progress so far. I am pleased to report it is broadly on track, work streams continue apace, and we are now in the testing phase. We have identified some issues connected to integration and how the system interfaces with other existing systems across the trust.

“For this reason, we have agreed to delay the ‘go live’ date in November to make sure that these interfaces are built and robustly tested to assure ourselves on the system’s effective implementation and ensure patient safety is not compromised.”

“We are working on an exact date, trying to balance the need for progress with our ultimate commitment to ensuring patient safety at all times, but I am hopeful we will be ready by Spring next year. This system and the new approach associated with moving to an EPR will be fundamental to our success for the future and I want to make sure it is right before we switch it on,” he added.

As the chief executive at ELHT stated, the pause is enabling the trust to work through the issues at a good pace and to provide assurances to both patient safety and colleagues using the system. Although no exact new go live date has been set, the hope is that it will happen by Spring 2023.

Cerner’s EPR system is not the only new software in the process of being implemented in the trust. In April, ELHT signed a deal with Alcidion to upgrade their patient flow technology with Miya Flow, helping wards and clinical teams to ensure streamlined transmission, timely care and effective discharge management of patients.