NHS Providers has published its sixth guide for trust leaders, focused on taking full advantage of electronic patient records, as part of its Digital Boards programme.

The guide, ‘Making the most of your electronic patient record system’, aims to support boards in leading the digital transformation agenda and is delivered in partnership with Public Digital, commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) as part of their Digital Academy and supported by NHS England.

It includes key takeaways for trusts looking to enhance their existing electronic patient record (EPR) systems and focuses on the board’s leadership role in driving through improvements.

In an exclusive blog for Digital Health News, Dr Victoria Bretton, the author of the new guide outlines some of the key challenges involved in optimising electronic patient records.

Saffron Cordery, interim chief executive at NHS Providers, said: “Digital transformation is key to improving the lives of patients and staff, and electronic patient records play a key role in this as they provide better data to support decision-making and planning.

“While many will already have an EPR in place, trust leaders are looking at ways to build on this and unlock the full transformational benefits an optimised EPR can offer.

“This guide, along with our wider Digital Boards support offering, will help them do that by drawing on the learnings of digitally advanced peers and experts.”

The guide contains case studies from those with mature EPRs already in place. The eight chapters of the new publication cover topics including:

  • What is EPR optimisation?
  • Clinical leadership of the EPR
  • Reviewing business cases and realising benefits
  • Governance and working with other trusts
  • Supplier relationships, usability and where board members can start

Sonia Patel, system CIO at NHS England, said: “Fully optimised electronic patient record systems are a fundamental tool for a modern NHS and offer local organisations the opportunity to vastly improve the care they deliver and the experience of their staff.

“NHS England is focused on supporting NHS trusts to implement and optimise EPRs and this guide will help ensure trust boards have the tools and skills to champion these key programmes and ensure each part of the NHS reaps the benefits of digital technology.”

This is the first new guide that NHS Providers has published as part of its Digital Boards programme since May 2022. The previous part looks at how to increase board members’ confidence in delivering digital strategies and to help them avoid common pitfalls.